International Living editor Glynna Prentice is in Puerto Varas, a resort town in Chile’s Lake District. Puerto Varas is a popular summer vacation region for Chileans (January and February). Right on the shores of Lake Llanquihue, Puerto Varas looks out on the lake and, beyond it, on two snow-capped volcanoes. The town is about 550 miles south of Santiago and is just half an hour from Puerto Montt, the jumping-off point for Chilean Patagonia. Flights from Santiago to Puerto Montt are less than an hour.
The Lake District in Chile was settled by Germans and Austrians in the 19th century, and you still see this influence in Puerto Varas. Many buildings are Swiss chalet-style, and combined with the green hills and cool summertime climate (60s and 70s F), Puerto Varas and its surroundings feel very like Germany, Austria, or Switzerland.
In January and February, vacationing Chileans fill Puerto Varas’s hotels, apartments, and vacation houses. But come March 1, Puerto Varas kicks back and is much more tranquil. It remains popular with outdoor enthusiasts, with available sports including fishing, kayaking, hiking and horseback-riding in the area’s hills and unspoiled terrain, and visits to the area’s volcanoes, many of which are active.
In this video you’ll see a 360-degree view of Puerto Varas, its setting on Lake Llanquihue, and, in the distance, the two snow-capped volcanoes that are clearly seen from Puerto Varas.
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