Puerto Varas is located in the south of Chile in the Los Lagos region, in an attractive area of mountains, national parks and beautiful water. The city sits next to lake Llanquihue, and a clear view can be seen of the mountain peaks that stand tall in the background. This city is well known for its German culture, natural beauty, and tourism. There are lots of great things to see and do in Puerto Varas.
The city’s population is about 42,000, and has increased in large number over the last decade. Here you can find an abundance of German architecture and culture. Puerto Varas is also a great place to start from if you are looking for some exciting treks in the national parks and mountains in the area. Below is our Puerto Varas travel guide with information on all the best things to do, places to go and what not to miss.
CASA SCHWERTER – One of the more intriguing things about the city are the private houses that were built in the mid-20th century. This house is one of many houses that were built during the 20th century as private houses. There is a walking tour offered that takes you to about 10 different houses.
RAFTING AT PETROHUE RIVER – This is a 2-hour ride down the rapids of the Petrohue River, going through class 3 and 4 rapids. Absorb the breath-taking views of the Andes Mountains and the beautiful vegetation. Some birds and animals can also be seen on the trip.
PUERTO VARAS TOURS – There are a variety of Puerto Varas tours and adventures offered. Many of them pick you up from a central location and will take you into the surrounding areas of the mountains. You’ll be able to see the famous parts of the Andes Mountains in the region, as well as the beautiful Llanquihue Lake. You can Kayak through the beautiful lakes and river systems and experience the breath-taking wildlife.
*** WHAT NOT TO MISS ***
There are many ways to enjoy the incredible parks and the spectacular Andes, and with plenty of tours on offer, you should consider doing one during your time here in Puerto Varas.
Most of the restaurants can be found in the city centre, where there is a good mix of food at the local restaurants. Here, the influence from German culture can even be seen in the food. If you’re after something meaty, go to La Marca (Santa Rosa 539), which serves tasty steaks in generous portions. Another place to try is Costumbrista (Del Salvador 547), a gem of a restaurant with excellent dishes.
Puerto Varas is a fairly laid-back city and does not provide many upbeat clubs. Here you can find pubs to relax and wind down the night. Club Orquidea (San Pedro 530) has great drinks and a nice atmosphere. It has a happy hour and a terrace. For cocktails, go to El Barista Caffe (Walker Martínez 211). Another venue is the main casino, which is still by normal standards a relaxed place to hang out.
The average temperature through the early months of the year is about 14 degrees Celsius. Once into June, July and August the temperature begins to drop. Puerto Varas experiences rain almost all year round; the rainy months run from May to September.
There is a regular bus service to many of the cities in Chile, including Punta Arenas (18 hours), Valparaiso (15 hours), and Santiago (12 hours). The airport is located 30km from the city near Puerto Montt, and has regular flights from Santiago and from Punta Arenas. If you’re coming from Lima by plane, it will take 6 to 7 hours and go via Santiago.
There are many options here in Puerto Varas, from your low-end budget hostels that are good for a night or two, to your high-end hotels that provide a more luxurious stay. One place to get some peace away from the centre is Hotel Cumbres (Av Imperial 0561), which has a beautiful view of lake Llanquihue and the Andes mountains. Compass del Sur (Klenner 467), which is within walking distance to the city centre, has a kitchen and communal areas. Hostal Margouya Patagonia (Purisima 681) has spacious rooms with comfy bunk beds, and very hospitable staff.
Be safe and make sure that the tours that you take are run by professional companies. Always be careful on the tours, and do not do anything that you are not comfortable with.