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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.