Located just 20 km from the sea, Valdivia is one of the liveliest towns in southern Chile, with its university vibe, nightlife, restaurants and craft breweries. It was founded in 1552 by Pedro de Valdivia, who gave his name to what is now the capital of the Los Ríos Region. Highlights include sailing down the Calle Calle River, watching sea lions frolic on the waterfront and visiting local museums where you can learn the history of its German settlers.
Nearby Niebla, Corral and Mancera Island offer opportunities to visit the forts built by Spanish conquistadors in the 17th century to fend off pirate attacks.
Oncol Park (50 minutes from Valdivia towards the coast) provides a unique opportunity to enjoy this verdant region. It is the ideal place to camp, practice zip-lining and trekking and enjoy views of the sea and mountains. Puyehue National Park, which is found in the opposite direction, is home to one of southern Chile's best hot springs as well as beautiful paths that wind towards the border with Argentina.
Osorno provides an opportunity to learn about the traditions and cuisine of German settlers and Chile's indigenous communities. One of the country's most famous native peoples' reservations, Mapu Lahual, is situated nearby and showcases the culture of the Huilliche, the community responsible for protecting the site.
Lakes Ranco, Puyehue and Rupanco are known for their beauty, as are the nearby rivers. This is the perfect summer vacation destination, especially if you're into water sports and fishing.
The region also has pre-set hiking and walking routes such as the Sendero del Jabalí (The Boar Trail) near Panguipulli, the Siete Lagos Route, which will take you all the way to Argentina, and the Ruta de la Salud (Health Route), which brings travelers past several spas.
If you're looking to enjoy picturesque landscapes and adventures in the great outdoors, head to Lake Llanquihue and Lake Todos Los Santos. Best of all, you'll be close to pleasant cities where you can experience southern Chile's culture and hospitality.
Start your adventure in Puerto Montt, the regional capital, and then head north, where Puerto Varas, Frutillar, Ensenada and Puerto Octay circle the gigantic Llanquihue Lake. The area was originally populated by the Huilliche people, and though Pedro de Valdivia "discovered" it in 1552, it wasn't colonized until the end of the 19th century. The influence of the German immigrants who settled here is reflected in local pastries, cured meat and craft beer.
Gastronomy is one of the region's main attractions. Check out the famous restaurants that line the banks of Lake Llanquihue and Angelmó Market, on Puerto Montt's waterfront, where you can sample a large variety of homemade seafood dishes.
The opportunity to spend an afternoon visiting hot springs (there are over ten in the area), taking a walk by the massive Petrohué Waterfalls or enjoying breathtaking views of the Osorno and Puntiagudo Volcanoes make this one of the most delightful destinations in Chile.
|Puerto Octay||Puerto Varas|
|Lake Panguipulli - Lake Riñihue||Boating on the Calle Calle River|
|Puyehue National Park||Health Route|
|Río Bueno and Lake Ranco||Osorno Volcano|
|Alerce Andino National Park||Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park|
|Puerto Varas- Ensenada- Petrohué||Puerto Varas- Frutillar-Puerto Octay|
|Puerto Montt- Hornopirén- Futaleufú|
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