Top 10 Things to See and Do in Puerto Varas, Chile

Puerto Varas
Puerto Varas | © Dan Lundberg/Flickr
Mary Katherine Gwynn

Though it’s relatively small in size, Puerto Varas, Chile, offers some magnificent sights and activities. From adventures on the river to some of the best restaurants in the region, you’ll find plenty to do in this cozy lakeside town. Here’s out guide to the top 10 activities and sights to make time for.

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Museo Pablo Fierro


Museo Pablo Fierro

Everyone who has visited Puerto Varas has at least glanced at Museo Pablo Fierro. How could you not, with the cars, the balcony, and the eccentric objects surrounding the building? The outside alone is fascinating, and a visit inside will surely spark even more interest. Step inside and soak up the history of immigration and colonization in the region.

Museo Pablo Fierro, 41°19’21.8″S 72°58’30.8″W, Puerto Varas, +56 96703447

Cerro Philippi


Cerro Philippi

If you’re looking for trees and a secret lookout overlooking Lake Llanquihue, head over to Cerro Philippi. With trails for walking, biking, and driving, this park is accessible for all. Once you reach the top, you’ll find a lovely, panoramic view of the town and a huge cross that glows in the night. Named after German explorer Bernado Philippi, this park is just one of many examples of the vast German influence that has left its mark on Puerto Varas.

Cerro Philippi, Puerto Varas, X Region, Chile

Lake Llanquihue

Lake Llanquihue

It’s simple, it’s free, and it’s the absolute best thing to do in Puerto Varas: walking along the lake. You’ll be inspired by the beauty of Volcan Osorno and neighbor Volcan Calbuco, and you will likely take a load of selfies. If you go on a Sunday, you’ll find a lot of local families walking and enjoying the lake.

Lake Llanquihue, Los Lagos Region, Chile

Volcan Osorno

Volcan Osorno

A day trip to Volcan Osorno is a great option year-round. In the winter, you can ski, snowboard, or tube, and in the summer, you can trek, take the chair lift for panoramic views, or zip line. The options are endless and fun is guaranteed. The volcano is accessible by car via Route 225 or by tour, departing from Puerto Varas; a trip to the volcano is a must.

Volcan Osorno, Puerto Varas, X Region, Chile

Petrohue Falls

Petrohue Falls

While you’re on the way to Volcan Osorno, you need to stop at Los Saltos de Petrohue (Petrohue Falls). The water is clear and the view is incredible. There is also a cute place to grab a hot cocoa or coffee and a snack, and shops that sell local artwork.

Saltos de Petrohue, Puerto Varas, X Region, Chile

Go Shopping

If you like to shop, you’ll love Puerto Varas, which has boutique clothing stores, the Artesan Fair, and everything in between: chocolate shops, wool shops, outdoor adventure stores, gourmet food, and wine stores. You’re sure to find many treasures and meet kind, passionate store owners and artisans on your shopping day.

Feria de Artesana, 225, Puerto Varas, X Region, Chile

Artesanías Foundation of Chile, Del Salvador 109, Puerto Varas, + 56 652346332

Vicki Johnson’s Fine Foods and Gifts, Decher 450, Puerto Varas, + 56 652232240

Visit the Churches

Visible from the lake shore, both Sacred Heart Church and Iglesia Lueterana stand tall and colorful. Be sure to stop by and learn about the history of colonization and its impact on religion in this quaint tourist town.

Sacred Heart Church, Verbo Divino 427, Puerto Varas, X Region, Chile, +56 652232324

Iglesia Luterana, Cost Vicente Pérez Rosales 956-980, Puerto Varas, X Region, Chile

Visit Chile’s Oldest National Park


Parque Nacional Vicente Perez Rosales is part of the reserve of the Rainy Temperate Biosphere of the Southern Andes. With excellent trails ranging from 30 minutes to five days on horseback, this park accommodates all levels of fitness. Be on the lookout for wildlife, as it’s quite possible you’ll see a pudú (a type of deer), puma, or river otter.

Eat Out on the Coastal Street

Puerto Varas’s coastal street is lined with excellent restaurants that serve locally sourced ingredients in a pleasant, sociable atmosphere. Whether it’s a dinner of pizza and craft beer or fine seafood paired with a Chilean wine, dinner by the lake will be an evening to remember.

La Jardinera, Sta Rosa 131, Puerto Varas, X Region, Chile, +56 652231684

Mesa Tropera, Sta Rosa 161, Puerto Varas, X Region, Chile, +56 652237973

Ibis, Cost Vicente Pérez Rosales 1117, Puerto Varas, X Region, Chile

Alemendra, Sta Rosa 068, Puerto Varas, X Region, Chile, +56 652237268

Get Out on the Water

It’s time to get out on the water. From rafting and kayaking on the Petrohue river to swimming and boating tours on Lake Llanquihue, there are many opportunities to enjoy southern Chile’s pristine waters. You’re sure to have fun and enjoy some breathtaking views at almost every turn.

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