Rainforest, lakes and volcanoes
Situated between Temuco and Puerto Montt, the south of Chile with its undulating, green landscape and leisurely grasing dairy cattle remindes of southern Germany. The volcanoes towering high behind them, however, are a signature feature of this region. Those snow-capped, active volcanoes, the deep blue lakes and the silent forests make this region a paradise for hikers and all outdoor fans. Unlike the central zone though, rain showers are frequent here, a vital requirement for the growth of those lush rainforests that once covered large areas of this region.
But such an occasional rainy day cannot deter enthusiasts from exploring the numerous national parks, forests of umbrella-shaped Araucaria trees, thousands of years old. Further south, another Methuselah grows in the upper altitudes of the Cordillera: the Alerce. It can exist over 3000 years and belongs to one of the trees with the longest life periods.
Near Temuco lives the Mapuche poblation, descendants of the proud Indian warriors who defied the Spaniards for centuries. The city is the gateway to the lake district, where two tourist hotspots are to found: the lively seaside resort of Pucón on Lake Villarrea and the pretty little town of Puerto Varas on Lake Llanquihue. A drive to the river town of Valdivia is like a trip back in time: you will come across Spanish fortresses and traces of German immigration as well those of the devastating earth- and seaquake of 1960.
The island of Chiloé, with its green, rain-soaked hills reminiscent of Ireland, its lush nature, a magical world of legends and a very special cuisine, can only be reached by ferry. The island's landmarks are its 150 wooden shingle churches and chapels, the most beautiful ones are part of the Unesco World Heritage List. A special experience is a boat or kayak trip through the archipelago between Chiloé and the mainland.
Tips for Southern Chile:
- Ascent to the active volcano Villarrica, which is possible without mountaineering experience
- Rafting on the Río Trancura near Pucón - pure adrenalin:
- Crossing the Andes by ship: from Puerto Montt to Bariloche in Argentina
- Taste Curanto, the typical dish of the island of Chiloé with fish, mussels and meat.
Travel Routes in the South of Chile:
Central Zone, Araucania and the Lake District
The Highlights of Chile