Puerto Varas is a small town on the Chileans side of the Lake District. Here, there’s a touch of German in the architecture and wooden beer houses, with distinctive chicken – feather like multi panels houses set into the hillside. A short walk up one of the two hills gives a clear view of town, the lake it sit on and beyond. For Puerto Varas however, beyond means volcanoes. The town shares the land with four monsters, the most famous and striking being Osorno. There are lots of things on offer for visitors, but we decided to take advantage of the outdoors and go white water rafting. The rapids are grade III to IV, more than enough to get you soaking wet.
Get a clear day and the views are incredible. Translucent turquoise waters- full of salmon-, thick forests and to top it off three volcanoes, practically glowing with thick white snow.
The fault line runs north to lake Villarrica, Villarrica town and Pucon town. Like many towns in this part of the world, they live under the Andes, which throws up volcanoes like a plump jam doughnut. Pucon has become a centre for adventure tourism, allowing backpackers, mountaineers and the curious, access to the diverse land. The main attraction is Volcan Villarrica, but I’ll come to that later. Kayaking, horse riding, fishing, zip lining and some bizarre new thing called hydrospeed are all on offer in town. Everything you need is on O’Higgins street, including the steakhouses and bars for when the outdoors life gets a bit too much, and your socks smell like a pub carpet. Los Ojos de Carbuga and Carbuga lake are another reason to visit Pucon. On sunny days the latter becomes a beach retreat, while Los ojos -the eyes- are. two pools in a deep bright great for exploring nature. If you’re more of the sofa type than a lakes and rivers type, the head to one of the areas geothermal spas, where natural minerals and hot water provide the ultimate soak.
Fancy doing something different? Cue volcan Villarrica. It stands active at 2864 m.a.s.l, explodes on average every seven years and you can climb it! It’s last eruption in 2015 covered much of the glacier in ash, broke the crater and changed the terrain of the rock face. It’s a tough climb, on dust, rock and ice, but that’s why it’s fun. See lava bubble from the depths and stand proud on the spectacular summit. Coming down, sit on a plastic sledge and slide on your arse through the snow!