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Rivers and Lakes Patagonia


Surrounded by rolling dark green hills, the city of Osorno offers visitors a variety of activities. ...


The riverside city of Valdivia offers a multitude of attractions that include a first-rate university and vibrant nightlife. ...

The Huilo Huilo Ecological Reserve

Tucked amidst the Andes Mountains, the Huilo Huilo Biosphere Reserve is a paradise of over 100,000 hectares. ...

Lake Panguipulli and Lake Riñihue

After you’ve experienced everything Valdivia has to offer, unwind on the beaches of Lake Panguipulli and Lake Riñihue. ...

Boating on the Calle-Calle River

One of the best ways to discover the charm of Valdivia is aboard a boat on the Calle Calle River, camera in hand. ...

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Southern Charm

Located just 20 km from the sea, Valdivia is one of the liveliest towns in southern Chile, with its university vibe, nightlife, restaurants and craft breweries. It was founded in 1552 by Pedro de Valdivia, who gave his name to what is now the capital of the Los Ríos Region. Highlights include sailing down the Calle Calle River, watching sea lions frolic on the waterfront and visiting local museums where you can learn the history of its German settlers.

Nearby Niebla, Corral and Mancera Island offer opportunities to visit the forts built by Spanish conquistadors in the 17th century to fend off pirate attacks.

Oncol Park (50 minutes from Valdivia towards the coast) provides a unique opportunity to enjoy this verdant region. It is the ideal place to camp, practice zip-lining and trekking and enjoy views of the sea and mountains. Puyehue National Park, which is found in the opposite direction, is home to one of southern Chile's best hot springs as well as beautiful paths that wind towards the border with Argentina.

Osorno provides an opportunity to learn about the traditions and cuisine of German settlers and Chile's indigenous communities. One of the country's most famous native peoples' reservations, Mapu Lahual, is situated nearby and showcases the culture of the Huilliche, the community responsible for protecting the site.

Lakes Ranco, Puyehue and Rupanco are known for their beauty, as are the nearby rivers. This is the perfect summer vacation destination, especially if you're into water sports and fishing.

The region also has pre-set hiking and walking routes such as the Sendero del Jabalí (The Boar Trail) near Panguipulli, the Siete Lagos Route, which will take you all the way to Argentina, and the Ruta de la Salud (Health Route), which brings travelers past several spas.

If you're looking to enjoy picturesque landscapes and adventures in the great outdoors, head to Lake Llanquihue and Lake Todos Los Santos. Best of all, you'll be close to pleasant cities where you can experience southern Chile's culture and hospitality.

Start your adventure in Puerto Montt, the regional capital, and then head north, where Puerto Varas, Frutillar, Ensenada and Puerto Octay circle the gigantic Llanquihue Lake. The area was originally populated by the Huilliche people, and though Pedro de Valdivia "discovered" it in 1552, it wasn't colonized until the end of the 19th century. The influence of the German immigrants who settled here is reflected in local pastries, cured meat and craft beer.

Gastronomy is one of the region's main attractions. Check out the famous restaurants that line the banks of Lake Llanquihue and Angelmó Market, on Puerto Montt's waterfront, where you can sample a large variety of homemade seafood dishes.

The opportunity to spend an afternoon visiting hot springs (there are over ten in the area), taking a walk by the massive Petrohué Waterfalls or enjoying breathtaking views of the Osorno and Puntiagudo Volcanoes make this one of the most delightful destinations in Chile.


Featured Destinations of Rivers and Lakes Patagonia

aOsorno bValdivia
CFrutillar DPuerto Montt
EPuerto Octay FPuerto Varas


Tours you can do

Southern Forts
Huilo Huilo
Lake Panguipulli - Lake Riñihue Boating on the Calle Calle River
Puyehue National Park Health Route
Río Bueno and Lake Ranco Osorno Volcano
Cochamo Lake Crossing
Alerce Andino National Park Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park
Puerto Varas- Ensenada- Petrohué Puerto Varas- Frutillar-Puerto Octay
Puerto Montt- Hornopirén- Futaleufú


Getting There

en avion
By Air
There are daily flights from Santiago to Valdivia (1h 25min), Santiago to Osorno (1h 35min) and Santiago to Puerto Montt, El Tepual airport (2 hours).
Pichoy Airport is located 32 km from the center of Valdivia. Osorno's Cañal Bajo Carlos Hott Siebert Airport is 7 km east of the city on Highway 125.
Shuttle and taxi service is available from the three airports.
By Bus
Buses leave Santiago daily for Valdivia (12 hours), Osorno (13 hours), Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas (13 hours).The points of departure are listed below:
• Alameda Terminal: Av. Bernardo O'Higgins 3570, Universidad de Santiago Metro Station. Phone: (56-2) 7762424
• Santiago terminal (formerly Terminal Sur): Alameda and Nicasio Retamales, 150m east of the Alameda Terminal. Phone: (56-2) 3761750
Your best bet is to travel by night in order to reach your destination in the early morning.
Bus service also is available from Concepción, Pucón, Temuco.
en auto
By Car
Route 5 connects Santiago to Valdivia (841 km), Osorno (923 km), Puerto Varas (1,008 km), Puerto Montt (1,024 km). All cities have car rental facilities.


Activities that we recommend




Valdivia Week Crossing Over to Argentina Summer is Best
Make sure you book transportation and accommodations well in advance if you plan on visiting Valdivia during this exciting local event. The Cardenal Samoré border crossing is located 53 km from Osorno on a road that continues on to Villa La Angostura and Bariloche. It is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. year-round. Note that all vehicles that cross here during the winter months must be 4x4 or equipped with chains because of the snow. For information on current conditions, call (64) 311563. The best time to visit this area is undoubtedly between December and March. The pleasant climate allows for plenty of sightseeing and open-air activities (don't forget the insect repellent!) and it is the perfect time to enjoy the lakeside beaches and bustling summer nightlife. If you're interested in skiing, the season runs from September to May.


Lakeside Summer Skiing and Hot Springs Cycling Around Lake Llanquihue
If you plan to take advantage of the local beaches, lakes and parks, it's best to visit the region between December and March. Don't forget to bring good walking shoes and waterproof gear because it rains here year-round.
Southern Chilean winters are cold and rainy. If you like snow, plan to visit between May and September. This is also the ideal time to visit the area's natural hot springs as well as the more sophisticated ones that can be found in the region.
Several companies offer cycling tours to Lake Llanquihue. Most start in Puerto Varas and go through Ensenada, Puerto Octay and Frutillar. On the way, you'll visit the Petrohué Waterfalls and stop on the beach to catch your breath and take in the scenery.


Southern Art

The Diego Rivera Art House in Puerto Montt is home to a theater, a space for exhibits by local artists and a delightful café.


Video Los Ríos y Los Lagos de Chile


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