Lake Llanquihue

A view of Lake Llanquihue from Puerto Varas.
A view of the lake from Puerto Varas with Osorno Volcano as a backdrop
   
  Lago Llanquihue, a place of amazing views, is the second largest lake in Chile, located in the Los Lagos Region, between the provinces of Llanquihue and Osorno. Around its shore are attractive and picturesque towns which have had an important tourist development such as Puerto Varas, Frutillar, Puerto Octay, Llanquihue, Ensenada and several others. To this day, German colonization, which took place mainly from the second half of the 19th century, has exerted significant influence throughout the area.
 
Supported by the great scenic beauty of all this part of southern Chile, over the years the tourism industry has developed strongly. The best time to visit the area is the Spring-Summer season, from October to March, a warmer period with less rainfall. Here is a description of the main tourist places and activities that can be carried out in this beautiful part of the Los Lagos Region.
 

Tour around Lake Llanquihue

 

Puerto Varas, "The city of Roses"


 
Nicknamed "La Ciudad de las Rosas" (The city of Roses), Puerto Varas is a charming place, nestled in a landscape of wonderful natural beauty. Nowadays, with around 35,000 inhabitants, it was created from the German colonization, immigrants who settled on the shores of Lake Llanquihue in the second half of the 19th century.  
 
In addition to its lakeside beach and an environment that encourages outdoor activities, there are excellent hotels, gastronomic infrastructure and a modern casino. The distance to Puerto Montt, the regional capital, is 19 km. 
 
Puerto Varas is the starting point to many wonderful nearby places such as Vicente Perez Rosales National Park with Saltos del Petrohue and the beautiful Todos Los Santos Lake, also fly fishing tours, navigations, adventure travel, etc, etc.
 
One of the symbols of the city is the Iglesia Sagrado Corazon de Jesus (Sacred Heart of Jesus Church), built between 1915 and 1918, made entirely of native woods and inspired by the church of Marienkirche, Black Forest in Germany. In 1992 it was declared a Historic Monument of Chile.
 
On Avenida Costanera you can visit the Museo Pablo Fierro, with countless elements that will make you imagine what the past of the settlers was like, highlighting paintings of heritage houses created by the artist who owns and administers the gallery. The special thing about this House Museum is that everything can be touched.
 
 

Frutillar, culture and landscapes

 

Theatre of the Lake in Frutillar, Chile.
Teatro del Lago (Theatre of the Lake)
Image: Infobae
   

Situated on the west bank of Lake Llanquihue, it is characterized by beautiful views of the bay and the nearby volcanoes (Osorno, Calbuco, Tronador, Puntiagudo), an ideal destination for anyone who wants to rest and spend a relaxing holiday in a quiet and breathtaking environment. 
 
Frutillar (english "Strawberry field") is well known for the German traditions, gastronomy brought by its founders and for the "Semanas Musicales de Frutillar" festival. Thanks to this celebration and the Teatro del Lago, the city has become the capital of music in Chile, in addition, in this place concerts, plays, ballet and cinema are held throughout the year. Teatro del Lago was created in 2010, a 10,000 square meter venue of a several times award-winning architecture,  thermally insulated and with unbeatable acoustics, amidst of a beautiful setting. The facade of the building is made of wood on bakelite, in a work with native woods and a copper roof, a key product of Chilean mining.

 
Another interesting place is the Museo Colonial Aleman (German Colonial Museum), where you can learn about the history of this city and learn about the arrival of the first immigrants who founded the town. In the lowest and most touristic area of the city you can visit the Edmundo Winkler Forest Reserve, a 30 hectares native forest area donated in 1959 by Mr. Edmundo Winkler to the Facultad de Ciencias Forestales of the Universidad de Chile, to be used for the preservation and study of the centuries-old native vegetation. The main trail is 800 meters long and can be covered in approximately 40 minutes.
 
 

Puerto Octay, another must-see  

 

A view of Puerto Octay
Image: Guy Wenborne
 
Puerto Octay, another of the emblematic towns of the region, situated on the north shore of Lake Llanquihue. The main urban centers of the commune are Puerto Octay and Las Cascadas. Although not as renowned as other neighboring towns, the setting is as picturesque as that of its neighbors.
 
In the Museo El Colono, 582 German Wulf St., there are photographic collections, objects, devices, and descriptions of the agricultural and livestock activities carried out in ancient times by the early German settlers. Las Cascadas is a small town 35 km southeast of Puerto Octay. Its name comes from the numerous waterfalls that come from the melting of the volcano's slopes. Villa Las Cascadas was the last area where the German colonists arrived, who settled around Lake Llanquihue, between 1870 and 1880 where the main tourist attraction is a 50 m waterfall from the Rio Blanco known as "La Cascada". There are services such as restaurants, hostels, cabins and camping. 
 
Peninsula La Centinela, in the outskirts of Puerto Octay, following the road that leads to Frutillar, we find this spit of land that serves as a closure of the bay where Puerto Octay settles. It is an important local attraction, nowadays owned by the municipal government, which has a campsite, a hotel, a hostel and a couple of beaches, where you can take boat trips or simply relax contemplating the beautiful surroundings. Another nearby beach is El Maiten, on the north shore of the lake, 5 km from Puerto Octay. It meets all the conditions for the practice of nautical sports and has a tourist infrastructure. In the place, you can also see the chapel that was built more than 150 years ago by the first families of German immigrants who arrived in the area.
 

City of Llanquihue

 

Town of Llanquihue, Chile.
Part of the new pier in Llanquihue
Image: Actilux - Chile

Another of the interesting towns around the lake, nestled in the middle of a wonderful natural environment with views of the Osorno, Calbuco and Tronador volcanoes, between the cities of Puerto Varas and Frutillar and 27 km. from Puerto Montt, the regional capital.
 
3 km north of the city, in the area known as Totoral, following route V 155, stands the monument in honor of the German settlers Unsern Ahnen, inaugurated in 1937 commemorating the colonization that took place mainly during the 19th century.
 
 
Church of Loncotoro, village near Llanquihue, Chile.
Church of Loncotoro
  Every last weekend of January, takes place the traditional Bierfest or Beer Festival, organized by the German Gymnastic Club of the city. Attendees can enjoy the entertainment event and culinary demonstration of the community as well as music, dances and various activities. Another celebration during the summer season is the Fiesta Costumbrista de Loncotoro, organized by the local Municipality and social organizations. The activity brings together hundreds of people to enjoy local cuisine, craft stalls, folkloric groups, craft beers and entertainment. Loncotoro is a rural village located about 20 kilometers from Llanquihue and one of its main attractions is its imposing church, dating from 1911, located on a hill.
 
Maullin River is born in the city of Llanquihue, this being the only outflow of the lake to the Pacific Ocean after a 85 km. travel. An activity as unique as it is little known is the descent down the Maullin river, amid the exuberant vegetation of southern Chile. There are standup paddleboarding and kayak rental services as well as guided tours.
 
 

Villa La Ensenada

Located at the easternmost point of the lake, in addition to its incomparable natural setting, Villa La Ensenada is a great destination for lovers of adventure travel.
 
 

Local Tourist Agencies

 

Turismo Lago Llanquihue, 70 Perez Rosales St., Llanquihue
Website: https://www.turismolagollanquihue.cl/en/
Phones:  +56944477570 - 56652809719
Email: ventas@turismolagollanquihue.cl
 
Pionero del Lago, 141 Santa Rosa St., Puerto Varas
Website: http://www.pionerodellago.cl/
Cell phones:  +56994051879 – +56997030705
 
 
Cahuil Adventure, 56 Balmaceda St., Llanquihue
Website: https://www.cahuiladventure.cl/
Cell phones: +56988159694 - +56971922949 
Email: info@cahuiladventure.cl 
 
Agencia Kayak del Lago, 32 San Martin St., Frutillar
Website: https://www.kayakdellago.cl/
Cell phones: +56988380444 - +56962483830
Email: contacto@kayakdellago.com
 
CCAMINA, 776 Vicente Perez Rosales, Las Cascadas
Website: http://ccamina.cl/
Cell phone: +56955134314
Email: eaguilarmorales@gmail.com
 
Yak Expediciones, Puerto Varas
Website: http://www.yakexpediciones.cl/
Cell phone: +56983320574
Email: info@yakexpediciones.cl
 

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