Located just 21 kilometers from Puerto Montt on the shores of Lake Llanquihue, picturesque Puerto Varas is home a variety of hotels, boutiques, lodges and cozy inns as well as a casino and a wide array of culinary options that serve up local favorites like craft beer and lomitos (a traditional Chilean pork sandwich). Enjoy the local shops, which sell handicrafts and woven goods, gourmet products and exquisite chocolates. At night, the city comes alive as visitors and locals alike flock to its bars, pubs and casino.
Once you've enjoyed all that Puerto Varas has to offer, head north to Frutillar, a town known for its black sand beaches and crystalline waters. Lose yourself in its clean, orderly streets lined with rose and dahlia gardens and perfectly-maintained wooden buildings. You'll find plenty of restaurants, emporiums and tea shops on Calle Phillipi. Don't miss out on the area's famed strudels and kuchens (sweet tarts), which are made with strawberries, raspberries and other delicious local fruits. Frutillar is home to the best desserts in Chile thanks to the influence of the German colonists who arrived in the 19th century.
But there's more to Frutillar than food and history, especially during the summer, when the town hosts week-long musical events. This is the perfect opportunity to visit the recently opened Teatro del Lago, which offers a panoramic view of the surrounding sights.
Continue towards the northern shore of Lake Llanquihue until you reach Puerto Octay, a charming town that was once an important lakeside port. Built atop a mountainside that looms over the lake, this peaceful place features interesting German-style homes, many of which have been converted into inns. Architectural highlights include the San Agustín Parish, Casa Wulf No. 2, Hotel Hasse and Casa Niklittschek, which houses the El Colono de Octay Museum. At sundown, there's nothing better than visiting the chocolate factory and cheese shop near the square.
|Puerto Octay||Puerto Varas|
|Alerce Andino National Park
||Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park
|Puerto Varas - Ensenada - Petrohué
||Puerto Varas - Frutillar - Puerto Octay
|Puerto Montt - Hornopirén - Futaleufú
There is bus service from Puerto Varas as well as taxi service, car rentals and bike tours around the lake.