The artisan market is one of the prettiest shopping markets I have ever seen. In addition to that, it has souvenirs at fantastic prices, all hand crafted locally.
I picked up several Alpaca scarves at $5 each and had paid four times that on the cruise ship for more or less identical scarves.
I found gorgeous hand carved flutes and even handmade pan pipes.
There are gorgeous jumpers and cardigans, all handknit; wall hangings (like frail tapestries), clocks, wooden carvings etc etc.
My advice would be to wait until you get to this place before buying any souvenirs - you are likely to get all you want here at a fraction of the price.
While here you can also admire the architecture, as the centre has been designed as a series of wooden huts set in a design similar to a village square. With the heavily wooded hills as a backdrop, it's incredibly picturesque. The day that we were there it rained continuously, so it was marvellous that there was plenty of shelter.
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The awesome glacier-clad Osorno volcano towers over Llanquihué lakes, Puerto Varas and the nearby Todos los Santos lake (behind it). It looks close by, but is actually 59 km west of Puerto Varas. Just gives you an idea of its size. Its snow capped summit has an incredible elevation of 2652 meters (8,701 feet) and took about 250,000 years to fully form. It has blown hot molten lava over 14,000 years from its top and side. Luckily for you, it last erupted in 1869. You can climb it without lots of equipment, but you do need a guide. They know where the big holes are under the ice & snow.
During your climb you may encounter the puma, foxes, skunks, humming birds and woodpeckers. Enjoy!
There are 2 volcanoes in Puerto Varas! When most people look out onto Lago Llanquihue they stare at the amazing snow capped Volcano Osorno. They hardly pass a glance to the right at the other volcano, Calbuco, which seems to be smoking a little bit. That’s because Calbuco is one of the most active volcanoes of the southern Chilean Andes!
What’s left of it rises a mighty 2003 meters high. Imagine how high it was before its top blew off. Calbuco blew it’s top in gigantic eruptions in 1893-1894
The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús) is the most striking feature of Puerto Varas. It was built between 1915 & 1918, built entirely of oak and was modelled on the Marienkirche in the Black Forest. This Catholic Church is still in use, so please check at the front entrance to see if it is open.
In summer time, the beaches along the Lake Llanquihue are a perfect place to relax a few days. Early January, the water was warm enough for a swim. The beaches of Puerto Varas a ate least 3 km long, and about 20 m wide on average. They are covered with a mixture of pebbles and sand+ which becomes very hot so it is useful to bring comfortable shoes for the short walks between you towel and the water. Some parts of the beach are supervised, so very suitable for families.
The Catholic Church in Puerto Varas is a beautiful building. Surprisingly it is made of cheap steel cladding, which is visible if you approach the church closely. The full Spanish name is too beautiful not to mention: Iglesia del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus.
I'm not interested in casinos at all, but obviously many people are. The casino of Puerto Varas is a main tourist attraction. It is situated in a beautifully designed new building in the town's center close to the lake. I've not visited it, so unfortunately I can't tell you how it is inside.
The Roman Catholic Church in Puerto Varas is quite pretty from the outside but much more interesting on the inside. Constructed of native wood, mainly ulmo and roble, and clad in corrugated iron, this building was constructed between 1915 and 1918. It has sprouted towers in the inervening years. Said to be modelled on the Marien Kirche in the Black Forest in Germany it was built by arquitect Edmundo Niklitschek.
Unfortunately the church is not open to visitors on a Sunday as there are services but during the week it is open from 9 to 13.30 and from 15.30 to 18.00.
It is highly recommended to explore around this national park whilst travelling in the Chilean Lake District. It is the second oldest park in South America after Parque Nacional Huapi in Argentina. You can able to make a trip to the National Park on a day trip from Puerto Varas or as part of the lakes crossing from Puerto Varas to Bariloche (vic versa).
Entering into the national park, either by car or joining a guided tour, you can head up to the slopes of Volcan Osorno (2652m high) and see the volcano close up. You can ski on the slopes in the winter or, rest of the year, you can take a chairlift from Centro de Esqui La Burbuja near to the summit. From the slopes and above, you can see Volcan Calbuco, Lago Llanquihue and, if on a clear day, the Pacific coast.
You can view the volcano in Puerto Varas from Lago Llanquihue or when you are crossing Lago Todos Los Santos from Petrohue to Peulla.
Saltos de Petrohue and Lago Todos Los Santos
It is worth checking the small rapids/waterfalls that were formed by layers of lava, from past volcanic eruptions, that have been eroded. It cost around 1200 CLP (November 2008) to visit. Not far there is Lago Todos Los Santos known as Lago Esmerelda and because of the green in the waters. The lake is in the heart of the national park. You can take boat trips around the lake from Petrohue to Peulla on a day trip or as part of the lakes crossing to Argentina. The boat trip takes 1.5 hours one way and on the trip you get views of Volcan Osorno, Volcan Puntiagudo, Cerro Bonechemo and passing Isla Margetrita in the centre of the lake where Ricardo Roth, the found of the lakes crossing journeys, is buried and the boats' horns are sounded in remembrance of him.
There is a small statue of Bernardo O'Higgins (1778–1842) here on the lake. No other person had a bigger impact on the history of Chile than O'Higgins. His unusual name is due to the fact that he was the illegitimate son of an Irishman. His father, Ambrose Higgins, was born in Sligo Ireland and was a military commander for Spain. What is known as Chile was a frontier colony at the time and O’Higgins Sr. was a powerful man in territory disputed by the Spanish crown and the local Mapuche Indians.
Ambrose defeated the Mapuche and was made Viceroy of Peru. Unfortunately having an illegitimate son was an embarrassment and young Bernardo was sent to Europe. Its is here that he first heard theories of Enlightenment and began to think about the future liberation of his native Chile.
He returned to Chile a few years later as the beginnings of Independence had begun. He was pressed into military service and was named as the revolutionary leader in 1813. Setbacks on the battlefield sent him to Argentina until 1817. He returned to Chile with a new army and at the Battle of Chacabuco he defeated the Spanish. Independence was now real. O’Higgins was named Supreme Director of Chile after independence on Feb. 12, 1818.
He had lots of egalitarian ideas about political and land reform and helping the poor. This did not go down well with powerful land owners and he was forced into exile in Peru in 1823. He was granted permission to return in 1842, but died before boarding the ship to take him home. He is buried in the Cementerio General de Santiago in the capital – Santiago.
Aquí sólo hablaremos de la parte Chilena del Cruce de Lagos , pues el resto está en la página de Bariloche que es donde lo empezamos el viaje
Después de pasar la aduana en la parte Argentina se toma un autobús que cruza la cordillera de los Andes , que pasa por bosque muy bonitos , por la cascada de las gemelas y se puede ver el cerro Tronador desde el lado Chileno . Se tarda 1h 30m hasta llegar a Peulla . Aquí se pasa la aduana Chilena que es bastante estricta y abren para revisar todo el equipaje ( no lleves frutas , semillas , artículos de madera ...) y se toma el barco para cruzar el Lago de Todos los Santos
Here we are only speaking of the Chilean part of the Lakes Crossing , because all therest is in the Bariloche page , that is were we started the trip
After passing the Argentina customs you take a bus that crosses the Andean Range , passing by very nice forests , by the twins water fall , and you may seethe Cero Tronador from the Chile side. It takes 1h 30m up to Peulla . Here you pass the Chile customs , that are very strict as they open all the luggage to check ( Do not take fruits , seeds , wood articles...) and you take the boat to cross th lake of Todos los Santos
Navegamos durante dos horas por la parte más espectacular , para mi , del Cruce de Lagos , que es el Lago de Todos Los Santos y sus impresionantes paisajes ya que tienes los volcanes al fondo , el Picudo , el tronador y el Osorno que son espectaculares
También pasas por la isla Margarita y puedes ver el sistema de correo y transporte de la gente que vive en las orillas del lago que se acercan en botes de remos a los catamaranes
Al pasar por la casa de los primeros armadores siguen tocando la sirena los barcos cuando pasan
We sailed during two hours by the most spectacular part , at least for me , of the Lakes Crossing , that is the Lake de Todos los Santos and their impressive landscapes as you have the volcanoes in the back , the Picudo , Tronador and Osorno that are spectacular
You pass also by Margarita Island and you may see the post and people transport system for those living in the lake shore that approach in rowing boats to the catamarans and leave floating bags with the mail
When you pass the house of the first shipowners they keep on playing the boats sirens when they pass
El último tramo se hace en autobús y dura 1 hora
Paramos a ver las cataratas de Petrohue , que son muy bonitas
Petrohué es una palabra indígena que significa "lugar de humaderas", quizás por el vapor de agua que levanta en las cataratas
5crThe last part is done by bus and takes 1 hour
We stopped to see the Petrohue water falls , that are very nice
Petrohue is an indigenous word that means "smoke place " , perhaps due to the water that arise in the water falls
we have done one of the best multi activity I had ever done travelling .In the Lakes district, with the guys from the hostel Casa Margouya and friends. Few days in the Andes ranges around Puerto Varas.
We done, rafting, canyoning, horse riding and trekking...it was amazing !
in the Cochamo valley , few days horse riding to go to see Alerces trees , 3000 years old...whau!
Crossing the Todos los Santos lake in Kayak to reach the El Callao valley and go to hot springs, horses and walk , to Rupanco lake and going up to volcan Casablanca. After that we done rafting in Petrohue river , and canyoning for lot of fun.
Could you imagine that ? No ? so, go there and enjoy it !