After finishing the cruise of the Aysen region, my parents and I headed to Puerto Varas which is a charming and beautiful village on the coast of Lake Llanquihue. We stayed at Las Cumbres hotel which was made of volcanic rock and offered a gorgeous view of the lake and Volcano Osorno in the distance. Upon our arrival we made reservations to go rafting with Ko’Kayak and then enjoyed an enormous and very good hamburger at Cafe Dane’s. That afternoon we went for a walk along the lake and enjoyed being off the boat and having the opportunity to do some exercise. After our walk, my mom and I went to the artisanal market and then went for a coffee and apple strudel at Pims Irish Pub. (Puerto Varas reminded me of Bariloche in Argentina but smaller and more picturesque because they both have a lot of German influence hence the apple strudel.) For dinner, we found a great sushi restaurant called Sushi Bay.
On the second day we wanted to rent a car but had a little bit of trouble with the paper work needed (a physical insurance card which was in the U.S.) so we decided to do a tour to Petrohue Falls. Luckily the cost wasn’t too bad because the tour overall was not that great but it is the same with all of the companies. There were a ton of stops along the way to the falls that were really just tourist traps that cost extra money in addition to the tour. Luckily, it was a pretty day and we just enjoyed the view of Osorno and Calbuco Volcanos as we made our way to the falls. Once we arrived to the Saltos de Petrohue it was beautiful and offered great views of Volcano Osorno and we enjoyed walking around the different paths inside the park. Afterwards, we also continued on to Lake Todos los Santos where we paid the little extra to go out onto the lake and see the mountains in-between Chile and Argentina. This was worth the extra money in my mind. That evening we went to Casa Valdes and enjoyed a wonderful seafood meal. While it definitely was outside my backpacker budget the meal overall was not too expensive and I thought it was definitely one of the best seafood meals and experiences I’ve had during my trip.
Travel Tip: There is a mini-bus that runs from Puerto Varas to Petrohue Falls. This is the better option to see the falls versus taking a tour because it’s cheaper and doesn’t stop at all the tourist traps along the way.
On our third day in Puerto Varas my parents and I went white water rafting on River Petrohue. That morning we had nothing planned so we enjoyed a relaxing morning, went for a walk, and then went for a light lunch and ice cream at Cassis Cafe before our excursion. The trip left from Puerto Varas in the afternoon and went to the small town of Ensenada where we got our gear and met the guides. The water was still a little cold so we were in wetsuits but had a beautiful, sunny, and cloudless day to enjoy the views of the mountains and volcanoes and we went down the river. The rafting was an absolute blast and lasted for around 1 hour and 30 minutes. Our guide was wonderful and we all really enjoyed the experience. Afterwards, we were able to enjoy a beer and snack at the office in Ensenada before heading back to Puerto Varas. While the water was a little low it still got up to around class IV in parts and offered some excitement. That evening we went for a final asado together at La Marca. The meal was wonderful and again had a great atmosphere.
The next morning my parents left for their flight back the Santiago. I was sad to see them go but I was very grateful they came to visit me and we got to share so many wonderful experiences together. I absolutely loved my time in Puerto Varas and thought it was one of the more charming and beautiful towns I visited in Chile.