Just over a month after leaving Patagonia to start my semester abroad, I was headed back. This time not to the hiking trails of the far south, but instead to the quaint, small towns in the northern half of Patagonia.
It was the first long weekend of my semester, and I, along with my friends Will and Laura, spent five wonderful days in Puerto Varas, Frutillar, and Chiloé. It was a lot of travel in a very short period of time (two overnight bus rides in five days), but was absolutely worth it.
While Chiloé, a large island right off the coast of Chile, is a relatively well-known tourist destination, very few people I’ve spoken to have even heard of Puerto Varas or Frutillar. That being said, these smaller towns and cities are definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re looking for a quieter, more relaxing time.
The biggest attraction for Puerto Varas is its geographic location. The city is located on Lake Llanquihue, right across from the beautiful conic volcano Osorno. I’ll have some close up pictures of the volcano in another post, but as you’ll see here, it’s still stunning from a distance and dominates the landscape.
Culturally, Puerto Varas feels very German. The city was founded as a German colony in 1853, and both the cuisine and architecture reflect that influence. While there may not be that many ‘typical’ tourist attractions within the city itself, we had a great time meandering around the city, getting delicious food from food trucks, and watching the sunset while sitting on the beach.
The next two posts will be on the small town of Frutillar and the Petrohué waterfalls, two amazing destinations easily reached on day trips from Puerto Varas.