This region’s airport, in the town of Puerto Montt, lies almost exactly half way between Santiago and Punta Arenas and this is the ideal point at which to alight for several days in the southern Lake District, whether you are then continuing down to Patagonia or journeying east into Argentina.
You will stay in the small town of Puerto Varas, with its enviable location on the shores of Lake Llanquihue. The most popular hotels here are right on the water’s edge, but Puerto Varas is so compact that you are never far from a delightful view nor indeed a tasty fish restaurant or attractive artesanias shop.
Famous for the roses which bloom all over the town from December to March, Puerto Varas is watched over by the conical peaks of volcanoes Osorno and Calbuco and is a lovely place to unwind during your travels through Chile.
Day trips which should not be missed from here include Chiloé Island, the tumbling azure waters of Petrohue Falls, the national parks of Vicente Perez Rosales and Alerce Andino, and the interesting settlements of Puerto Octay (its Germanic roots reflected in its Bavarian-style architecture) and the little lakeside resort of Frutillar.
Those crossing into Argentina via the famous and picturesque ‘Lake Crossing’ will do so by bus and boat through the Andes in one or two days (with a stop overnight in Puella) from Puerto Varas.
Suggested Southern Lake District itinerary
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in the Southern Lake District, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.