Puerto Varas

a city sorrounded with rivers, vocanoes, lakes and millennial forests

There aren’t many places in the world where you can enjoy the pleasures of life while staring across an enormous lake at a gigantic volcano. A place where the architecture and culture are as attractive as the overwhelming amount of nature surrounding you. In fact, Puerto Varas may be the only place.

Llanquihue lake covers a total of 860 square kilometers. Around it are the beautifully picturesque towns of Ensenada, Las Cascadas, Puerto Octay, Frutillar and of course, Puerto Varas. A short drive away, through thick, steamy rainforest and soft, contemplative pastures are several other lakes and many natural reserves. The more adventurous can drive a little further to a handful of some of the most stunning landscapes in the world.

With a population of about 40 thousand people, Valdivia was founded in the mid-1800s by German settlers, as part of a Chilean program to connect more isolated parts of the country to the capital. To this day it retains the feel that its original German founders gave it – in other words: you have got to try the küchen! Today the town thrives, thanks to the abundant tourism opportunities that are available, the world-class access to rivers that’ll make any fisherman drool, and also thanks to its amazing culinary selections.

The tasty küchens, cookies, cakes, chocolates and homemade jams are just one side of the Germanic offerings on hand. Poke around and you’ll find pork ribs, beef barbeque and even wild boar. Wash those all down with one of the surprising micro-brewed beers crafted locally. Don’t worry: you won’t go hungry.

When you first arrive at Puerto Varas, it’s easy to think you’ve arrived at the ocean. The lake is so big that it just seems to offer endless possibilities, and the truth is, it does. There is a bike lane around the entire lake, and national parks, and lakes teeming with trout, and sandy beaches to sunbathe on. Hike, walk, eat, relax, take your pick. The only thing you won’t want to do here is leave.