Chile: The Lake District
The rivers and volcanoes
in the south form a scenario of wide valleys, with a steep drop
toward the Pacific Ocean, an environment surrounded by large
lakes. The region is also characterized by cities that show
signs of a large European immigration, especially German. Urban
centers such as Valdivia, Osorno, Frutillar, Puerto Varas and
Puerto Montt have incorporated features of this culture into
their architecture and gastronomy.
parks and reserves
National parks and reserves
are one of the biggest attractions in the area and protect native
forests that include millenarian tree species, such as the larch.
The area from take Calafaquen to lake Pirihueico is known as
the Seven Lakes district, because they share the same river
basin and are interconnected by rivers. From a traveler's point
of view, the most outstanding lakes are the Catafquen, Rinihue
Further south, the city of
Valdivia is the gateway to the coast, where the remains of Spanish
forts can be admired at the mouth of the Valdivia river The
origin of the city's name is found in a special type of vegetation
known as "Selva Valdiviana'- evergreen forests with endemic
Near the city of Osorno,
you may enjoy the landscape formed by lake Puyehue and the national
park of the same name, as well as lakes Rupanco or Lianquihue.
On the shores of the latter lake, the most outstanding destinations
are Frutillar and Puerto Varas, and also the beautiful Saltos
del Petrohud waterfall. Following the road south, we come to
the Todos Los Santos lake.
In a straight line from Puerto
Varas, you reach Puerto Montt, starting point for the Southern
Road, which takes you to the Patagonia and Chiloé, an
island whose traditions and mysticism fill visitors with awe.
This dramatic environment
and geography have made this Lake Region the capital of adventure
and nature tourism in Chile. You have here all types of comforts,
hotel facilities as well as the possibility of going trekking,
fishing, doing sports, mountain biking, rafting, skiing in Antillanca,
taking cruises, relaxing at the Puyehue hotsprings and observing
the flora and fauna. Also cultura activities and outings will
teach you more about the historic of chile south.
With Chilean independence,
pressure to settle these lands increased, and unoccupied land
was distributed to a brimming tide of European settlers. These
settlers, many of them German, cut and burned the rainforest
back from the western shores of the great lakes, creating a
new landscape of manicured farms and tidy villages.
Natural beauty and excellent
tourist services meet halfway in the lake region. On the shore
of Calafquén lake, the town of Lican Ray boasts a lovely
black sand beach and a full range of accommodations. Further
south on LLanquihue lake, Puerto Varas and Frutillar are top
resort destinations, with unbelievable views across the lake
towards Osorno volcano.
The city of Puerto Montt
is the seafood capital of Chile. Visitors will be astounded
at the bounty of shellfish, salmon, and other delicacies that
await them in Angelmó, Puerto Montt's port district.
The Cruce de Lagos Trans-Andes
cruise connects Puerto Montt with Bariloche, Argentina, via
a series of ferry crossings of Andean lakes, including the spectacular
glacially-carved Todos Los Santos lake. Cruises through the
fjords and glaciers of Patagonia typically depart from Puerto
Trekking routes in this
area focus upon national parks such as Puyehue, Vicente Pérez
Rosales and Alerce Andino, which protect great tracts of temperate
rainforest, volcanic terrain, waterfalls and clear-flowing streams.
of flora and fauna
Southern Chile's evergreen
temperate rainforest - also known as the Valdivian rainforest-
contains some 25% of the world's remaining reserves of this
vastly productive forest community. Even more impressive are
old-growth stands of alerce, a towering conifer that ranks as
the second longest-lived tree in the world. Near Valdivia, the
Cruces River Nature Sanctuary provide habitat for a wide variety
Float trips, trolling
and bank fishing are all good ways to fish the abundant rivers
and lakes of this region, where rainbows, brown trout and salmon
find ideal habitat. Top destinations include the Petrohué
river and the Puerto river, both accessed from fishing 'mecca'