Patagonia and Altiplano Expedition | #9 – Puerto Varas

Our next destination was Puerto Varas, located about 20 km north of Puerto Montt at the beautiful Lago Llanquihue.

Before we reached the Panamericana we had to drive through a section with lots of snow.

Puerto Varas

In Puerto Varas, we rented a small cabin for one week. It had everything you need including a well-equipped kitchen and a washing machine. The price varied between 60€ and 90€ per day (more expensive on the holiday weekend).

Puerto Varas is a lovely village with lots of shops, cafés and restaurants and a nice view of the Lago Llanquihue.

The heritage of the German settlers, who arrived there in the 19th century, is visible everywhere in the city.

For lunch, we had pizza at one of the food trucks near the Princesa Licarayen sculpture.

This resulted in an Instagram story because the owner from Italy was very excited to meet someone from Europe (in winter there aren’t many foreign tourists in this part of Chile).

Then we explored the Museo Pablo Fierro. It’s interesting, creative, and somewhat chaotic and definitely worth a visit.

From Puerto Varas you can drive around the lake, the route is called Circuito Lago Llanquihue.

Las Cascadas

On the east coast of the Lago Llanquihue you can find the Las Cascadas waterfall. From the parking lot it’s a short 20 minutes walk to the falls through a lovely rainforest.


If you continue to drive counter-clockwise around the lake you’ll reach Frutillar on the west coast. It’s nowadays more a place for tourists than a real authentic village. Everything looks very picturesque and a bit artificial, like a perfect Alps village in Austria or Bavaria. The heritage of the German settlers was again very visible.

Contrary to all the historical buildings in Frutillar the Teatro del Lago was built just recently in 2010. Some people don’t like its modern appearance in this historic village, but I don’t share these sentiments. I think its architecture fits very well in the environment.

One of the most attractive places in Frutillar is the pier, especially at sunset.


After finishing the Circuito Lago Llanquihue we did a day trip to Puerto Montt. This is a large city with more than 200,000 people. Most of it is not very attractive at least compared to villages like Puerto Varas or Frutillar. One of the more interesting places is the Mercado Angelmó.

Besides the obligatory souvenir shops (strangely they sell exactly the same items in each of the more than 30 shops) you can buy fresh and smoked fish and seafood at the market.

You can also find lots of street art and graffiti in this area.

The market is also a good place to watch sea lions and birds.

Saltos del Petrohué

But the highlight in the Puerto Varas region is clearly the Saltos del Petrohué. They are located about 55 km east of Puerto Varas in the Parque Nacional Vicente Pérez Rosales.

There are three short trails. The first one takes about 20 minutes and leads to a small lake and the Rio Petrohué.

The most popular trail leads in 15 minutes to the viewpoint of the Saltos del Petrohué.

The perfectly cone-shaped Osorno volcano can be seen directly behind the falls. A very unique view.

Linnéa was again more interested in the wildlife than in the waterfalls and used her RX10 on the local birds.

After visiting the Saltos del Petrohué we continued on the 225 to the Lago Todos los Santos where we explored the beach at sunset and then returned to Puerto Varas.

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