The beauty of Southern Chile
"Southern Chile" refers not to the southernmost region of the country, but to the territory just North of Patagonia, comprising the regions of Biobio, Araucania, Los Rios, and the northern part of the Region de los Lagos. The wealth of natural landscapes that southern Chile has to offer, associated with a good road and air connectivity, make it one of the most visited zones of the country. Every year, hundreds of thousands of national and foreign tourists give renewed vigour to the streets of cities, small villages and places of attraction such as Lago Villarrica and Pucon, Puerto Varas, Valdivia (The City of Rivers), the beautiful Island of Chiloe, with its mild landscapes, traditions and tasty cuisine. Chiloe Island is also a place full of History as it was the last bastion of the Spanish crown in Chile during the nineteenth century.
South Chile is a land where volcanoes abound, with snow-capped peaks that give a beautiful backdrop to the landscape, idyllic lakes to enjoy in the summer, numerous rivers, to the delight of anglers and adventure travel lovers, Mountain Resorts whose slopes in the Winter turn into world class ski fields, etc. In this part of the country there are lots of traditions that remain from the numerous German settlers arrived during the 19th. century, influence also reflected in the architecture and typical local cuisine. Below, I give you a list of the best places to visit in Southern Chile, which will be gradually complemented with new information.
Places to visit in South Chile
Capital city of the Region de Los Lagos (Region of Lakes, also known as the Tenth Region of Chile), it can also be considered as the tourist capital of Southern Chile, unlike Punta Arenas much further South and which is known as the tourist capital of Patagonia. Puerto Montt is located 1,055 Km. South of Santiago, on the shores of Seno de Reloncavi (Reloncavi Sound) and its population is of 220,000 inhabitants although the estimated population of the Region de Los Lagos is reaching nearly 1 million. The city's Airport "El Tepual" and the Bus Terminal are the main points of arrival of passengers to the South of Chile.
* Pucon y Lago Villarrica (Resort-Town of Pucon and Villarrica Lake)
|Pucon and Villarrica Volcano- Photo: voces.latercera.com|
* Puerto Varas
Small town and lakeside resort of almost 17,000 inhabitants, located on the western shore of Lake Llanquihue, 42 km. North of Puerto Montt, facing the peaks of the Osorno, Puntiagudo and Tronador volcanoes. Apart from its natural charms, this town that maintains many traditions of its German founders, also became famous thanks to the "Semanas Musicales de Frutillar", a Festival where the variety of melodies ranges from traditional Classical Music to different styles like Jazz, Chilean Folklore, etc. This presentation takes place every year between late January and early February at the "Teatro del Lago", with the performance of renowned national and international artists. In a green area of 3 hectares is located the "Museo Colonial Aleman", a complex of old style constructions that recalls the life of the German settlers who founded several towns around Lake Llanquihue. The construction of the German Colonial Museum began in 1972, the initiative was supported by the Government of Germany and the Municipality of Frutillar, with the technical assistance of the Universidad Austral de Chile.
|Peulla - Photo credit: hotelgranpacifico.cl|
* Saltos del Petrohue
Situated 56 Km. of Puerto Varas, Saltos del Petrohue is a series of beautiful small cascades belonging to the Petrohue River, within a short distance of Todos los Santos Lake, at Vicente Perez Rosales National Park. The waterfalls and rapids of the river are due to rocks formed by hardened lava of the Osorno Volcano, eruptions occurred over 600 years ago. Visiting the place is a must since the cascades, as well as the volcano, Todos los Santos Lake and all the surroundings are tourist icons of south Chile. The Osorno Volcano has also a Ski Center which offers a spectacular view of the area and during the summer offers programs appropriate to the season.
* Cruise through the Southern Channels
Leaving from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales in Patagonia (or vice versa). If you want to reach Patagonia and to get to know in detail the many wonders that this part of South Chile has to offer, this is the ideal way to travel. Besides, during the journey, the passengers will have a privileged view of the Patagonian fauna and lush scenery.
* Antillanca Outdoor & Ski Center
(Antillanca = "Sun Jewell" in the ancestral Mapugundun language belonging to the Mapuche ethnic group), for decades it has been a traditional ski center, located 98 Km. away from the city of Osorno, on the slopes of Casablanca Volcano, in one of the three areas that comprises Puyehue National Park: Aguas Calientes, Anticura and Antillanca. Its privileged location make it one of the ideal places for Adventure Travel in Summer and practice of Winter Sports between June and October. A plus is the location of the hotel, next to the ski slopes, besides its ecological reserve on the shores of Puyehue Lake. The Winter Resort offers 14 pistes with different degrees of difficulty, from beginners to professionals and for all preferences and styles.
* Valle Corralco Ski Center
Of recent creation, it is considered one of the best winter resorts in Chile. Located just over 700 km. South of Santiago and 120 km. East of Temuco, on the slopes of the Lonquimay Volcano, Malalcahuello- Nalcas Forest Reserve. It is well known that in the area of Lonquimay, snowfalls in Winter are very heavy (more than seven meters of snow fallen a year) which give it a seldom seen snow quality and making Valle Corralco, -with its 26 world-class pistes-, a spectacular Mountain and Ski Resort. The 5 star Hotel and Spa was opened in 2013. The environment is amazing, surrounded by Araucaria and with a direct view of the volcano. Apart from its ski and snowboard circuits, there is also a full schedule of excursions in the beautiful National Reserve: trekking and mountain biking routes, horseback rides, recreational fishing programs, snowshoes, randonee and snowmobile.