The Lake Region is located in the center of the country, and its very humid environment has given it many lakes, as well as its name. It is not very extensive, but has quite different climates and reliefs. For instance, there are fjords, islands, and of course, lakes. This region is the fief of the Mapuche people, who has inhabited these places since immemorial time. And even though many young people go to the city to find work, there are still authentic villages that maintain the traditions. It is therefore in this ancestral and natural territory that we take you on an unforgettable trip.
Visit Puerto Montt, the most important city of the Lake Region
You’ll find everything you need to eat good food, go out at night, and get some strength before heading out into the more remote places. The main attraction of Puerto Montt is its port, which is the link between Patagonia and northern Chile. Thanks to trade, the city has grown rapidly, and offers a satisfactory base for tourists wishing to explore the lakes, or take the Carretera Austral. Don’t miss the fish markets and Costanera, as well as the very original Cathedral Nuestra Señora del Carmen.
Discover the churches of the Island of Chiloe
If there is a must visit in the Lake region, this is it. The big island is just south of Puerto Montt, just a thirty minutes ferry ride from the coast. Chiloe is not an island like the others, and you will quickly understand why. First, it consists of a multitude of houses on stilts, all more colorful than the others. Depending on the tide, the wooden beams supporting these charming fishing huts can be seen entirely or barely. But, that’s not all! The island is mainly known for its dozens of wooden churches, about fifteen of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. So, take the time to walk through the villages, and find all those religious buildings that have been beautifully preserved since the 18th century. Finally, don’t leave without tasting the seafood of the day, especially salmon.
The village of Puerto Varas
It is a charming village north of Puerto Montt, which enjoys magnificent views of Llanquihue Lake and Osorno Volcano. Puerto Varas is known for its bright red roofed church and immaculate facades. When all these elements are combined together, this offers very successful photographic compositions. There are also atypical Germanic influences that date back to the colonial era of the 19th century. For you to discover the subtleties during a small stopover of a few days in this case of tranquility and nature.
Skiing on the Osorno Volcano
This cone sprinkled with eternal snow is one of the strong symbols of the Lake Region. It dominates the plain from the top of its 2,600 m of altitude, and is visible until Puerto Montt. But don’t be fooled by its cold and calm appearance, as this volcano is still active and can still erupt, even if the last one dates back to the late 1800s. You can admire it from its base, by the lake Llanquihue, or let your soul speak of adventurer and climb on the heights. To reach the summit, you must still be well trained and not be afraid of climbing on the ice. But nothing prevents you from taking a ski lift to the ski resort, to let you go in the air and come back down on skis. To end this excursion in beauty, attend the sunset with a hot chocolate in the hands.
The Lake Region is not so named by chance. It is very humid, and the natural layout of the landscape makes it a suitable place for the formation of streams and lakes. The largest and most beautiful in the region is Llanquihue. It is bordered by two volcanoes, and a multitude of villages where life is good. Stop to breathe the fresh air, feel the fresh wind from the peaks, and listen to the song of birds nesting around. If you have time, don’t hesitate to go around by car, or even on foot.
Vicente Perez Rosales National Park
This is the first Chilean park to have been created in the late 20’s. It is far from being the only national park worthy of interest around Puerto Montt. However, it remains a favorite among visitors. Indeed, this natural place is a biosphere reserve with breathtaking views of the Osorno volcano, which is a good start. But that’s not all. There is Todos Los Santos Lake, which is unparalleled in beauty with its emerald waters and green forests. For a little more adrenaline, head to the Petrohué River, which is the perfect place for canoeing or rafting, with its waterfalls and stunning rapids.
Read our article about the Top 10 National Parks in Chile.
Corcovado National Park
Another famous natural park in the Lake Region, not to be confused with its Brazilian namesake. Corcovado owes its name to the volcano that dominates it. It is also a place of extremely privileged biodiversity, where many animal and plant species thrive. Among the most impressive are the cougar, the elephant seal and the blue whale. Because this park is not only made of primary forest, but also of dozens of lakes, and a sea bay that faces the island of Chiloe. But, for the moment, very few tourists come to visit Corcovado. But, this secret will soon be rumored, so do not wait too long to discover its wonders in all serenity.
Make a road trip on the Carretera Australe
This mythical route, which connects the Lake Region to Patagonia, starts from the city of Puerto Montt. It then meanders on roads more or less well maintained towards the south of the country, while passing by picturesque landscapes. The road trip is undoubtedly the best way to travel this exceptional journey, which is one of the most beautiful roads in the world. You will pass through national parks, take the ferry through fjords, and discover remote and authentic villages. It’s an unforgettable experience waiting for you, before an even more incredible arrival in Patagonia.
Get off in Patagonia by ferry
If taking the land route does not really tempt you, you still have the option of the seaway. Indeed, there is a ferry from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales in four days. It is an extraordinary adventure in which you will have nothing to do except enjoy the scenery. You will probably see dolphins, seabirds, and maybe even blue or humpback whales. In terms of scenery, the boat will sail between the islands of the region, lakes, fjords, wooded coast and rocky cliffs. A crossing in color and emotion that you are certainly not close to forget!