· Visit the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park, the oldest park in Chile, created in 1926. Located in Llanquihue Province, it has a surface area of 253,789 hectares. Access to the Park is via International Route 225 from Puerto Varas.
· Visit the Saltos de Petrohué which are located inside the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park; these are a small series of waterfalls down volcanic rock originating from the Osorno Volcano (2652 m.a.s.l.) which flow into the Río Petrohué, which in turn drains into Lago Todos Los Santos. They were produced by unique geological formations resulting from glacial advance and retreat. The water is emerald colored and the falls are surrounded by abundant vegetation. The Todos Los Santos Lake is of glacial and volcanic origin. The turquoise color of its water is a result of the large quantity of silicate crystals created by the glacial erosion and melt on the Tronador Volcano. If you like, you can take a boat ride from Petrohué for a view of the Osorno and Puntiagudo Volcanoes and the native forest on the lakeshore all the way to Peulla.
· The Cathedral of Puerto Varas – the Parish Church of the Sagrado Corazón de Jesús (Sacred Heart of Jesus) is an icon of the city and a fine example of Chilean architecture. It was begun in 1915 at the behest of the Jesuit order, inspired by typical European 19th century architecture. Constructed in oak with steel sheets, it was completed in 1918. Its internal layout is divided into a main nave and two lateral naves, which end in a great dome under which is the altar. The church can be found on the corner of San Francisco and Verbo Divino streets.
· Visit the Pablo Fierro Museum, located on Avenida Costanera, founded in 2006. It has a great collection of antiques, drawings, paintings of local historical buildings, most of which are painted by the artist, Pablo Fierro, for whom the museum is a personal artistic project.
How to get to Puerto Varas
Puerto Varas lies 20 kilometers to the north of Puerto Montt, on the shores of Llanquihue Lake in the Los Lagos region,. The city is 1,015 km from Santiago. You can reach Puerto Varas via Route 5 (the Panamerican highway), or by air, arriving at “El Tepual” airport in Puerto Montt, from where you can take a minivan or taxi to Puerto Varas.
Navimag Ferries sail the route from Puerto Chacabuco to Puerto Montt and from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt, on a voyage through beautiful Patagonian scenery. On reaching Puerto Montt, you can travel by road to Puerto Varas.
Departures from Puerto Chacabuco are on Tuesdays and Fridays and from Puerto Natales on Tuesdays all year long.
(Navimag only offers transport on ferries on the aforementioned routes and does not provide a transport service between Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas)
Where to stay in Puerto Varas
Hotel Colonos del Sur
Del Salvador 024, Puerto Varas, Chile
Tel.: (56-65) 235555
Av. Decher 400, Puerto Varas
Tel.: (56 – 65) 234 221
Where to eat in Puerto Varas
El Gordito: Specialists in fish and seafood, such as conger eel, salmon, trout, squid, shrimp, crab, king crab, shrimp stew, seafood soups and meats. They also have a good selection of wines and a full bar. Address: San Bernardo 560, inside the Municipal market. It is a fantastic spot.
· La Parrilla: Restaurant with top quality meats grilled by a highly experienced master chef. Address: Vicente Pérez Rosales Avenue 1117.
· Pizzaiolo: Italian food. The house speciality is thin crust pizzas with a wide variety of ingredients. They also have delicious deserts, natural juices, Italian coffee, wine, beer, soft drinks and an excellent bar. Address: Walker Martinez Avenue 551. The quality of both the food and service are very good. Cash only. No other payment methods accepted.
Flora and Fauna of Puerto Varas
The area around Puerto Varas is rich in flora and fauna. Among the endemic flora, special mention must be given to the Notro, with its bright red drooping flowers, and the Ulmo, which has large white flowers. The fauna include the mammal species of the pudú, the smallest deer in the world, pumas, mountain cats (güiña), the Andean fox, river otters and lesser grison (quiques). Birdlife include the Ringed Kingfisher with its blue green and orange colors.
Climate in Puerto Varas
Puerto Varas has a wet, temperate climate, with rainfall all year long, but more pronounced in the winter and especially strong in the spring. The extraordinary beauty of the area owes much to this climate. In the summer the maximum temperature rarely surpasses 30°C, but occasionally there are temperatures of nearly 35°C. In winter the maximum temperatures are normally below 8°C. The minimum temperatures in summer are generally between 8° and 12°C, while the minimum temperatures in winter normally vary between 5° and -5°C. The average annual temperature is just under 12°C.