The Majestic Chilean Lake District
The Bio Bio River bisects Chile’s Pacific coast, dividing north from south and marking the traditional frontier.
North of this natural barrier, Spanish colonizers established cities, ports, and farms.
To its south, the mighty Mapuche people tirelessly resisted outside rule—first by the Inca and then by the Spanish—for over five hundred years.
Fine Lake District Resorts
The Mapuche homeland is cool and green, cloaked in pasture and ancient forest.
Rivers cascade into sparkling lakes and volcanic cones are crowned with ice.
Now known as the Lake District, this region is celebrated for its stunning vistas, active outdoor pursuits, and fine resorts.
Temuco & Conguillio National Park
The city of Temuco is the principal arrival point in the northern portion of the Lake District.
Just 90 minutes by air from Santiago, Temuco is the gateway to Conguillio National Park and the lakeside towns of Villarrica and Pucon.
Visitors to Conguillio can explore trails around turquoise lakes and through forests of 3,000-year old araucaria trees.
Pucon and The Llaima Volcano
The park’s centerpiece is the active Llaima Volcano, with a snowcapped summit that reaches to 10,250 feet.
Farther south, Villarrica and Pucon engage visitors in fly fishing, rafting, skiing (June through August) and horseback riding.
Pucon is often rightly compared to Jackson Hole or Banff. Nearby, hot spring resorts offer a soothing finish to the day’s adventures.
Southern Lake District: Puerto Montt
The southern Lake District is anchored by Puerto Montt, the principal port on the Bay of Ancud.
Flights connect Puerto Montt with Santiago (one hour and 40 minutes) and Punta Arenas (two hours and 10 minutes).
Just north of Puerto Montt is Chile’s second largest lake—Llanquihue, a 330-square-mile mirror reflecting three majestic volcanoes:
Lakeside hotels and boutique lodges serve as a base for fly fishing excursions, horseback riding, rafting tours, and visits to Petrohue Falls.
Other attractions include the likes of Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, German-settled towns, and seasonal Huaso rodeos.
Bariloche, Argentina lies directly east of Puerto Varas, on the opposite side of the Andes.
Crossing the Andes
Crossing the Andes is possible via a series of land and lake passages—a journey filled with fine views of peaks, valleys, and lakes.
From September to the end of April, the crossing can be arranged as a full-day or leisurely two-day experience, with overnight accommodations in the alpine village of Peulla.
In winter, between the months of May and August, the crossing is a two-day affair.
The Lake District is cool and comfortable year-round. That said, sweaters are essential here.
The warmer, drier months from September to April bring highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s, while the cooler months of June through August see highs around 50º F and lows near 40º F.
Monthly precipitation rarely exceeds 6.5 inches.
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