INTERNATIONAL Tours & Travel Ltd (ITT) strives to provide clients with the latest information on products and destinations in South America along with personalised service and attention to detail. “To keep our knowledge current, we try to visit as many new and exciting destinations as often as possible to provide our clients with the best possible travel experience.”
On this occasion, our Agent Dahiana Burucua visited the Chilean Lake District. Dahiana takes up the story of her visit...
UPON arrival in Puerto Montt we were introduced to Mario, an English-speaking guide who would accompany us throughout our journey in Puerto Varas. The drive from Puerto Montt to Puerto Varas only took around 25 minutes after which we checked into Cabañas del Lago. As it was quite late in the evening we chose to stay in and have an early night to recharge our batteries for the following day, however we did take the time to share a glass of wine in our room which overlooked Llanquihue Lake. The view was spectacular, with clear night skies and the reflection of the moon and stars in the water; it was the perfect way to relax after travelling all day.
In the early morning, we set off to Vicente Perez Rosales National Park where we could appreciate the Petrohue River Falls. It was a great way to start the day with spectacular views of crystal clear water flowing over volcanic rocks amongst the morning mist. We managed to explore a little and even came across a small secluded lake within the park with its own falls.
Afterwards we set off to Todos Los Santos Lake (All Saints Lake) also known as the Emerald Lake due to its green hue caused by the minerals found in the lake from the nearby mountains.
We travelled in a catamaran along Todos Los Santos Lake en-route to Peulla. The journey lasted 1hr and 45 minutes; it offered fantastic views and photographic opportunities of the nearby forest and the volcanoes Osorno, Puntiagudo and Tronador.
Our time in Peulla was peaceful; the small eco-village with only 120 habitants was the ideal place to reconnect with nature with a beautiful landscape and serene environment. The only thing you could hear was the sound of the birds and falls around you. We stopped for a quick lunch at Hotel Natura Patagonia and afterwards chose to explore a little before our afternoon excursion.
There was a wide variety of excursions available in Peulla, including helicopter rides, horse riding and canopying but we chose to go on a 4x4 safari. We got the opportunity to visit a local ranch where we interacted with the animals. We crossed the shallow part of the river in our 4x4 and then on a small boat further into the river. It was a good way to end the day before heading back to Puerto Varas.
The following day we had a city tour of Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas in the morning. We went to various viewing points, walked around the cities, spotted sea lions at the pier and explore the local markets. In the afternoon, we set off on a 3.5-hour drive to Pucon.
Upon arriving in Pucon, we made contact with Carito, the English-speaking guide who would accompany us throughout our journey in Pucon. As we didn’t have any excursions booked for that afternoon, we decided to explore around Hotel Antumalal which was just breath-taking, surrounded by its own forest with amazing view of the Lake Villarica and even its own private beach.
Afterwards we decided to head into town for a bite to eat on O’ Higgins (the main road); the gastronomical choices were just endless and included Japanese, Peruvian, Mexican and Italian; we even found vegan restaurants around the corner. We decided to have a good old fashioned asado on our first night with plenty of red wine to accompany it.
The following day after completing our city tour, we visited an old monastery which offered the best panoramic view of Pucon. Afterwards we set off to Huife Hot Springs with various stops en-route for photographic opportunities.
The visit at Huife was certainly relaxing and we made the most of all four springs on site. As this was part of a private tour we weren’t restricted to a schedule so we could spend as much time as we wanted there; if it were up to me, I would still be there.
Afterwards we headed back into Pucon and were dropped off on the main road to get lunch. We decided to visit Café Maiwen which specializes in organic and vegan food. The food was delicious with a great selection of options for vegetarians and meat eaters. In the afternoon, we explored on our own and took a stroll down the beach.
The next day it was off to Conguillio National Park approximately 2.5hrs from Pucon; the drive is worth it. We were very fortunate to be travelling off-season and had the park to ourselves. We were free to explore the surroundings and took advantage of photographic opportunities of the falls, rivers, mountains and surrounding volcanoes Llaima and Sierra Nevada. In the afternoon, we visited Lake Colico; with crystal- clear waters surrounded by trees. This was the perfect spot to stop for lunch before our hike around the lake. The hike was a very pleasant activity to do after lunch as it was not too strenuous. As a bonus we picked calafate berries along the way.
Our last full day in Pucon was by far my favourite. We first visited the Curarrehue Region which offered more great photographic opportunities of the snow-capped volcanoes and crystal clear lakes. We visited a Mapuche Museum - dedicated to the indigenous people of the area - where we learned about their culture, traditions and rituals. The final part of the excursion was visiting Doña Irma, an actual Mapuche woman who still lives by the traditions set by her ancestors with a close relationship with nature and its elements. Around a fire pit, she spoke to us about the Mapuche way of life and their tradition. Afterwards she invited us to have a traditional Mapuche lunch in her home, all made from ingredients harvested from her own orchard. The atmosphere here was just lovely, Doña Irma was very warm and welcoming; she made us feel very much at home.
The best part is that this can be reserved for passengers who are already in Santiago or further afield, visiting Pucon first and finishing in Puerto Montt before travelling down to Punta Arenas and returning to the Falklands. From Peulla, passengers can also travel across to Bariloche if they want to expand their itinerary.
The experience exceeded all my expectation and I would strongly recommend a visit to the Lake District to anyone who is looking to relax and reconnect with nature.
For further information and advice on preparing an itinerary to this beautiful part of Chile please contact me on email: firstname.lastname@example.org