With breathtaking views of Llanquihue lake and the green slopes and snow-capped summit of volcano Osorno in the background, Puerto Varas, Chile is small enough to walk through from one side to the other in just 30 minutes but packed full of great restaurants, viewpoints, hills, and parks to visit. Puerto Varas itself has many colorful buildings and houses with stone bases and wooden siding, mostly influenced by German architecture. The city is full of opportunities for outdoor adventures yet a perfect place to relax on the beach and chill.
If you would rather hear about our 5 weeks in Chile, listen to the Podcast Episode – Podcast 28: Chile Travel – Santiago, Valparaiso, San Pedro de Atacama (& Other Beauty)
Puerto Varas, Chile… Alongside the Lakeshore
We walked to Parque Phillippi and walked to the top of a rather small hill (it took approximately 20 minutes to get to the top) where a large cross is located at the top. From the top of the hill, you are able to see the entire city of Puerto Varas and the snow-capped volcano, Osorno.
You can also take one of the many bike routes offered on this hill if you want to rent a bike and ride to the top. Note, the bike paths are steep, unpaved and full of large rocks and tree roots. Be careful if you take this route as the terrain is rather unsteady. The walk is very easy and there are several paths along the way, each varying in length, that leads you to the top of the hill. Level of difficulty= easy.
There are also many places along the coastline that are ideal for tanning, swimming, and watersports in the freshwater lake. Yachts, sailboats, and boats can be seen sailing and anchored throughout the lake. There are several companies along the shore that offer waters sports packages (kayaking, kite surfing, rafting, etc) or boating/ fishing trips that you can purchase for a nominal fee.
Travel Tip: Keeping your items organized in our backpack or your suitcase is very important for speed in airport security lines and for finding the needed gadget power cord in a pinch. We use this small electronics organizer to keep all of our items separated and easy to get to. It has saved us a ton of time in the airport when they ask to separate these items during the scan. Find this and other tips on our Travel Tools page.
There are also many great restaurants, cafes, and tea houses to choose from in Puerto Varas. Many of the restaurants have amazing views overlooking Llanquihue lake with a great breeze that comes right off the lake. There are also restaurants that are tucked away in the back streets of Puerto Varas that have their own charm, great food, and friendly staff. We dined at Vagli’s Gourmet Tapas & Sandwich Bar.
The restaurant was located on La Paz street, off the beaten path, away from the waterfront, but well worth the walk. Despite not having a lakefront view, the food and the staff were amazing. Juan, the chef, personally came out to explain the items on the menu to us in English to make sure that we fully understood the entire menu and to make sure we did not have any questions.
The restaurant had a couple of vegetarian options which was very important in my decision for going to the restaurant (in addition to the reviews I read on TripAdvisor) and their wine list was extensive, comparatively speaking to some other restaurants we had previously visited in Puerto Varas. Puerto Varas also has various food trucks to choose from along the coastline offering various items like freshly squeezed juices and falafel sandwiches to salads, burgers, and hot chocolate. There are also a plethora of restaurants offering many wonderful seafood options such as salmon ceviche, oysters, squid, and octopus.
Traveled March 2017
You are my heroes! Whitney told me about your travels. How awesome! Are you going to Patagonia or Aconcagua in South America? Have fun and safe travels!
Hey Mark! Thank you so much! We did visit Patagonia. It was so wonderful. To be surrounded by the lakes, mountains, clean air, and nature was AMAZING! You can see our pictures from our Ushuaia blog post (https://passportjoy.com/ushuaia/ ) and find more at my Instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/nikkijav/ ).