Puerto Varas On a Budget
SightsTake a leisurely stroll around Puerto Varas, also named the "City of Roses" to appreciate its traditional, unmistakably Germanic architecture and its pretty residential neighborhoods with their well-tended gardens. You can visit the Paseo Patrimonial, a pedestrian tour across 10 houses classified as national monuments. During the winter months, the locals celebrate the abundant seasonal rains with the traditional 'Rain Festival', an unmissable event! If you're looking for some nature and a secret lookout overlooking Lake Llanquihue, head over to Cerro Philippi. With trails for walking, biking, and driving, this park is accessible for all. Once you reach the top, you'll find a lovely, panoramic view of the town and a huge cross that glows in the night. Walking along the Lake Llanquihue is a must in Puerto Varas. It's simple, it's free, and it is absolutely magnificent. You'll be inspired by the beauty of Volcan Osorno and neighbor Volcan Calbuco, and if you go on a Sunday, you will find out how local families spend their weekends, walking and enjoying the lake. Visible from the lake shore, both Sacred Heart Church and Iglesia Lueterana stand tall and colorful. Be sure to stop by and learn about the history of colonization and its impact on religion in this quaint tourist town.
ActivitiesThere are many options of day trips and adventures available from Puerto Varas. If you're a fan of adventure sports and enjoy close contact with nature, this is the place for you! From rafting and kayaking on the Petrohue river to swimming and boating tours on Lake Llanquihue, you will definitely have fun and enjoy some stunning views of southern Chile at almost every turn. The Lago Todos Los Santos, the Volcan Osorno, the Volcan Puntiagudo and the Monte Tronador are well-known sites found in the Parque Nacional Vicente Pérez Rosales. Trekking in the park will be a journey full of surprises, as one lake may be hidden by another. The Sendero Los Alerces, which continues on to the Sendero La Picada will bring you to a spectacular viewpoint on the park's lakes and volcanoes including the Volcan Osorno. A day trip to Volcan Osorno is a great option year-round. In the winter, you can ski, snowboard, or tube, and in the summer, you can trek, take the chair lift (USD$22) for panoramic views, or zip line. The Centro de Ski y Montana Volcan Osorno in Ensenada offers ski and snowboard equipment rentals and a pass for half a day (USD$30) or a full day (USD$38) of unlimited ski lift access. The volcano is accessible by car via Route 225 or by buses, departing regularly from Puerto Varas. On your way to the Volcan Osorno, do not miss Los Saltos de Petrohue (The Petrohue Falls). The water is clear and the view is incredible. Finally, while the Cochamo and Rio Puelo Valley is not very well known among tourist, it is worth the detour! Agencies such as Secret Patagonia or Campo Aventura organizes excursions on horses, mountain bikes or by foot to discover the beautiful valley. You may even end up spending a night in the heart of the forest at Domo Camp (USD$78 for a cabana) or simply stop there for a delicious lunch. For indoor activities, head to the Museo Pablo Fierro and soak up the history of immigration and colonization in the region. The outside alone is fascinating, and a visit inside will surely spark even more interest.
Food and DiningPuerto Varas boasts exquisite restaurants, a stylish casino with a lively program of nightlife and a vibrant cultural scene. From food trucks to typical Patagonian fare, there is a long list of "must-eat" restaurants in Puerto Varas. In fact, Puerto Varas is one of the rare places where you will see food trucks in South America. On the shore of Lake Llanquihue you can find twelve vans and trailers clustered beneath an awning, with a central area with limited seating. The choices are fairly diverse, with offerings like sushi and tempura, ceviche, shawarma, vegetarian and vegan food, fresh juices and Italian food just to name a few.
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