We offer all-inclusive, or part inclusive itineraries for the Chilean Lake Region. We can arrange your itinerary as a standalone or form part of your larger travel itinerary to Chile (Argentine and or Peru). Ideally you should consider a 4-night minimum for Pucón and 3 nights at Puerto Varas. However, if you do not have the time for Puerto Varas as well, try to at least make Pucón a 4-night min stay.
The principal location of the lake area is nestled next to the Andes and runs from the east of Temuco (676km south of Santiago ) down to Puerto Montt (1,025km) in the far south. Puerto Montt is the gateway to the northern start of the Carretera Austral (a mostly unpaved road passing through “pioneer country” and natural wilderness, and also a point from which you can get over to the Island of Chiloe – a rural setting with coastal inlets with fishing villages and numerous Jesuit-built churches covered in wooden-cut tiles.
The principal destination in the lake district is the lake-side village of Pucon, which is near to Temuco (1.5hr drive approx) and further south the lake-side village of Puerto Varas (close to Puerto Montt).
Pucon & Villarrica (Nearest Airport: Temuco 107km)
Located 790km south of Santiago and 112km from Temuco city, these two towns straddle Lake Villarrica and are dwarfed by the active, snow-capped Villarrica Volcano. Villarrica lake is the most northern lake of significance in the Chilean lake chain effectively marking the start of the Chilean Lake Region running north to south.
Pucón has developed into a “boutique” lake-side village and a very popular place during the summer break months of January and February. In fact, today, it is saturated during the months of both January and February and if you have the option try to visit outside of these two months. The area to the east of the lake is spectacular. The lake itself is bordered by rolling hills that rise up into mountainous terrain on the north-eastern quarter, and by the magnificent conical, snow-capped and active Villarrica Volcano on the southern side.
Both the villages offer a great base from which to explore the area, although Pucón is considered to be the principal village and certainly more lively than Villarrica. Pucón offers a number of good restaurants, lively bars and outdoor activity shops. This zone is a haven for those who like outdoor pursuits such as: white water rafting, climbs to the top of the volcano, hikes into the national park, mountain biking, skiing in winter, fishing and boating; and for those who prefer a slower pace there is golf, walking and hot springs to unwind in! You can participate in as many or few of the activities available or just sit back and read a good book! It is also an ideal place where you can do nothing and just relax and enjoy wonderful scenery.
Puerto Varas (Nearest Airport: Puerto Montt 17km), Frutillar Y Puerto Octay
Puerto Varas (996km south of Santiago) is a lake-side village bordering the second-largest lake in Chile called Llanquihue (pronounced “yan-kee-way”), that offers a picturesque backdrop and base from where there are many activities to enjoy and natural habitats to walk in. The village has that “Colorado Rockies” style feel to it, with some small boutique style shops and a few fishing shops and many wooden buildings. There are also some supermarkets and a casino.
Similar in style to Pucón, Puerto Varas is a good base from where to enjoy many of the outdoor activities such as rafting, fishing, mountain biking and hiking. There are also a number of excursions such as to the powerful Petrohue Water Falls, the National Park Vicente Perez Rosales, Chiloe Island and the start and end points for the lake and road crossings to Bariloche Argentina.
Frutillar (Nearest Airport: Puerto Montt 21km)
To the north of Puerto Varas, bordering Llanquihue lake and only 10km from Puerto Varas is the quaint, but very German village of Frutillar. It is true that German settlers who came here after World War II played a large part in building most of the settlements in the region, which is why so many buildings bear the hall marks of German Alpine architecture from that period. Frutillar has remained largely the same since its early creation. It is exceptionally clean and tidy and the architecture of many buildings resembles parts of German Bavaria! Many people come to Frutillar to walk around and enjoy tea and cakes, However, the village is also home to a World-Class opera house where musical events are hosted regularly throughout the year.
Puerto Octay (Nearest Airport: Puerto Montt 48km)
Also beside Llanquihue lake and a further 25km north from Frutillar is the tiny port of Puerto Octay. Here there is a hotel and a few houses. The interest here is the largely “untouched” feel of the settlement, but it is mainly a place to visit rather than be based at.
Puerto Montt (Nearest Airport: Puerto Montt 11km)
Puerto Montt is located 1,016km south of Santiago. It is the most southern city on principal mainland Chile before the land mass breaks into the island archipelago. It faces the sea and is a good base from where to visit the other lake-side villages of the zone such as Puerto Varas, Puerto Octay and Frutillar, head on over to Chiloe Island, or to drive south down the Carreterra Austral towards Chaiten and Coyhaique in Chilean Patagonia.
Puerto Montt is also the port from where the cruise ships depart to explore the southern archipelago and the famous “San Rafael Glacier” – a glacier that runs down from the mountains to meet the sea where it breaks off into giant icebergs. The creaking sounds from the glacier and incredible blue colours within ice are an amazing spectacle to witness.
Pucón: Arrival to Temuco airport (flight 1.25hrs from Santiago) or a drive of approx 8hrs south from Santiago.
Puerto Varas: Arrival to Puerto Montt airport (flight 2.rhs approx from Santiago).
Climbing Villarrica Volcano, in the winter – skiing down the same volcano; swimming in Lake Villarrica, horse riding, hiking, hot spring baths at Termas de Huiffe or Termas Geometrica (and others), white-water rafting the Tabancura river, fly fishing, sailing and a number of other adrenalin-pumping options. Visits to numerous National Parks and other lakes in the area.
Tours up the Osorno Volcano, fly-fishing, hiking, white-water rafting, visits to lake-side villages such as Frutillar and Puerto Octay.
In summer months (December, January, February), shorts, short-sleeved shirts, something warmer for cool evenings and cooler nights. Always bring alternative clothes in the event the temperature cools right down. Rain jackets, outdoor shoes or boots (not city shoes). Sun glasses, hat, sun-protection cream. The usual summer weather here is similar to that of the UK in the summer.
Our selection of hotels includes many of the most popular accomodations in South America. You’ll find the perfect hotel in your budget.
The Chilean Lake Region comprises numerous lakes, rural country side, forested hills, rivers, waterfalls and stunning conical, snow-covered volcanoes. Come here for beauty, walking, water activities, fresh air and to relax.