Top 21 Experiences Waiting for You in the Chile Lake District
Aug 13, 2019
The diverse natural features of the Chilean Lake District are stunning in all their glory. For every cascading waterfall (and there are many), you'll also come across a towering volcano and a sparkling blue lake to boot.
The brilliant turquoise hue of the 12 major lakes in this region will remind you of the oceans. From Pucon city, you should set off on the Los Lagos hiking trail covering 5 lakes of the Huerquehue National Park, including Lake Llanquihue.
Test your pedal power—go cycling on the Lake Llanquihue Loop. The rolling hills that flank Chile's 2nd largest lake are teeming with wildlife and offer great views of 4 volcanoes (Osorno, Puyehue, Puntiagudo, Casablanca).
The sheer granite peaks of South Chile are connected by long hikingtrails—like El Pionero—that cover the length and breadth of the whole lake district. With the pretty lake town of Puerto Varas as your base, go explore the wild!
On your way to the summit of the perfectly conical volcano Mt. Osorno (8,701 ft), you'll be drawn to the babbling sounds of the pristine Petrohue Falls.
There are 6 major volcanoes for you to climb in the Chile Lake District, including some active ones like Mt. Villarica (9,341 ft). If you're willing to go to the edges of the lake district, you'll find the tallest one: Mt. Lanin (12,388 ft).
Scaling snow-capped Chilean volcanoes is a thrill that's punctuated by moments of great beauty. On the way to Mt. Llaima (9,580 ft), you'll walk under the stunningly odd Araucaria (ancient Monkey Puzzle trees).
In the shade of Mt. Villarica, near Pucon, there are plenty of remote waterfalls to discover among the lush greenery: Salto el Claro, Salto el Leon, and Ojos del Caburgua, among others.
From November to April, you'll be able to cast your fishing line into the Chilean lakes, where the trouts bite every time! You can even stay at one of the fishing lodges just south of Puerto Montt.
Kayakers have a field day on the rivers that flow through the lake district. Most adventurers go paddling on the fjords of Comau, Quintupeu and Cahuelmo.
Don't feel like drying off just yet? You could try whitewater rafting. Pit yourself against the turbulent water of the unforgiving Petrohue River.
The call of the wild may prove too strong to resist, and you'll find yourself wanting to sleep amongst nature. Stay at a lakesidecampsite or one of the refuge huts in the Chile Lake District.
The isolated Caleta Cóndor is a hidden gem of a beach, tucked away on a beautiful bay. You'll have to go off the grid, just to reach its unspoilt white sands (by a boat from Bahía Mansa).
Tired of hiking? Strap yourself to a lofty zip line. From the steep slopes of Mt. Osorno to the thick canopy near Pucon, there are quite a few zip lines for you to conquer.
Always wanted to try rock climbing? Chile Lake District is where you should start. The sheer rock faces of Mt. Calbuco make for good climbing lessons. Or you can head for the Cochamo valley which is like a paradise for climbers.
There's always time for an epic roadtrip. Rent a car in Puerto Montt and set off on the highway to Chiloe Island.
Chiloe Island's city of Castro is well worth a visit. It's a city made of wood, with colorfully quaint houses (Palafitos) balanced on stilts. For an authentic experience, you can even stay at such a house.
Before you leave Chiloe Island, head for the penguin colony at Puñihuil. This may be your only chance to see Magellanic and Humboldt penguins out in the wild (unless you plan on visiting Antarctica next).
Chile is home to the proud Mapuche people. A visit to the Chile Lake District will bring you in contact with their rich culture. Don't forget to buy a souvenir: traditionally crafted Indio Picaro statuettes.
You must try some Chilean beer, which is a result of the European influence, brought to this region by German immigrants. The Chile Lake district is more culturally diverse than one might assume.
Once winter comes, the conical volcanoes of the area get blanketed in powdery snow and become the ideal ski slopes.
End your frigid day out on the ski slopes with a relaxing warm bath in one of the many hot springs in this region. There are plenty of natural as well as artificial geothermal pools for you to soak in.