Chile: The Lakes -
Experience in Chile

Chile: The Lakes

Publication date: 12 Oct 2018
  • Experiences USD 259
  • Accommodation USD 212
  • Transport USD 223
  • Total experience USD 1380

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Know the destination

A Week in Los Lagos and Santiago. Includes the Vineyards!

A Word About Chile and Los Lagos

Chile and Argentina are the southernmost countries in South America. Argentina faces the Atlantic Ocean while Chile faces the Pacific. Like Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, Chile is an Andean country with arid coasts, but lands in Chile give it a curious advantage over its peers: they are great for wine.

Travellers who want to visit Chile will find Santiago International Airport the best way to arrive. From there to Los Lagos (which is Spanish for ‘The Lakes’), you need to head south either by land (road or trains) or by plane (to Temuco airport and then by car the rest of the way). Chile currency is the ‘peso’.

My Trip to Los Lagos, Chile

I spent four days in Los Lagos and two days in Santiago. The first thing I did after arriving to Santiago International Airport was to take another flight to Temuco. There, I rented a car and I drove to Pucon. It was an hour and a half trip in a well-preserved road. Then, I checked in my hotel.

Pucon is famous for its hot springs, and I did not want to miss that. The place is called ‘Geometric Springs’ (‘Termas geométricas’ in Spanish) because they have been worked that way, with straight boundaries for each pond. The place is beautiful. It is nicely decorated and it is surrounded by plants; so you get into the thermal springs with a smile. They are in Coñarife, near Pucon. After a while there, relaxing, I got back to the car to visit Calafquen lake. It is a beautiful place to see a sunset, so I strongly suggest you waiting until the end of the day to go there.

My second day in Chile was a trekking test. I took a ten-hour tour to climb Villarrica volcano. It hurts remembering it but you get a reward for your effort: The view from the top of the volcano is unbelievable. You not only get plenty of photographic material there but also the satisfaction of knowing that you could climb it by yourself.

Oh, and do not worry: if climbing sounds like too much for you, there is also a rope-way that, for 15 USD, saves you at least an hour of walk. You will still need to climb more on foot, but you save some effort.

As you may guess, my day trip to climb the volcano left me exhausted, so I went to my hotel and rested after that.

The next day, I got up early. I had a four-hour road trip to make to Puerto Varas. After arriving, I checked in my hotel and then I went to Llanquihue lake to have lunch and admire the view. There are many restaurants there to enjoy. A while later, I went to see the ‘Saltos de Petrohué’, which are a few waterfalls in Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park, at the slope of the Osorno volcano. I spent my whole afternoon there, enjoying myself. Next, I went back to my hotel.

My last lake was Lago Ranco, two hours north from Puerto Varas. I arrived and checked in at the hotel, and then I went to Futangue Park. There are two ways to get there by car. If you have a four-wheel drive, Cerro Mayo entrance is the best option for you; else, Riñinahue entrance is better. Either way, there are two things to see near Lago Ranco: There is a suspension bridge that will offer you a nice view of a cascade (you need a one-hour walk to see it), and, of course, an incredible view of the lake. Besides that, you have Riñanahue Falls, which are also a nice.

That is the way I ended my trip to Los Lagos, in Chile, one lake each day. I headed back to Temuco and got a flight to Santiago to finish my week in Chile.

Two days in Santiago

I spent the morning of my fifth day in Chile driving back to Temuco. There I took a flight to visit Santiago, its capital city. As it seems, Santiago is divided in neighbourhoods. I had lunch in Italy neighbourhood, and then I went to see one of the city’s main attractions: ‘Palacio de la Moneda’ (Chile government palace). My next stop was ‘Barrio Lastarria’ (Lastarria neighbourhood), which is considered one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world (according to the Spanish magazine ‘La Vanguardia’). After going for a walk there, I went to finish my day to the district of Bellavista. The area has many nice bars and restaurants.

And as I mentioned, Chile is famous for its wines, so I could not leave the country without trying a few. During my sixth day, I went to Maipo valley, where there are several vineyards to explore. How to explore them easily? Taking the four-hour tour of the area. You will see vast areas of fine grapes plantations and you will visit a few renown Chilean wineries. The tour ends with wine tasting, so my suggestion is going by taxi (so you can enjoy them).

DAY TO DAY Itinerary day by day

The prices that appear per day are referential and correspond to the sum of activities that were made that day

    DAY 1 USD 42

    I arrived to Santiago and took a plane to Temuco. There, I rented a car for four days to drive through the lakes. First, I went to Pucon and I enjoyed a relaxing bath in the thermal springs in Coñaripe, the Geometric Springs. Then I went back to Pucon stopping in Calafquen Lake to watch a wonderful sunset.

    DAY 2 USD 150

    I spent my whole day doing a ten-hour climbing tour to Villarrica Volcano. The tour includes picking you up from your hotel, so you cannot miss it. Only do it if you are fit for such a walk! If not, there is a fifteen-dollar rope-way that will save your legs from some aching in the evening. Either way, you must know that the reward of being on the top is indescribable.

    DAY 3 USD 7

    I drove south for four hours to Puerto Varas. After checking in at the hotel, I went to have lunch in front of the Llanquihue lake. The view is beautiful. Then I went to see the ‘Saltos de Petrohué’ waterfalls, on the slope of Osorno volcano. After spending a whole afternoon there, I got back to my hotel.

    DAY 4 USD 15

    After driving north for two hours to Lago Ranco, I went to visit Futangue Park. There are two main attractions in the area: The suspension bridge that gives you a nice view of one of the cascades, and, of course, the lake. Riñinahue Falls will look great in your photographs.

    DAY 5 USD

    After a three-hour road trip to Temuco, I took a flight Santiago. There, I walked around several neighbourhoods, including Italia neighbourhood for lunch and then ‘Palacio de la Moneda’, Chile government palace. Later, I walked around the awarded ‘Barrio Lastarria’ to end up my visit in Bellavista district’s bars and restaurants.

    DAY 6 USD 45

    Last but not least, on my last day in Chile, I went to visit Maipo Valley vineyards. There, I took a four-hour tour that allowed me to see the fields, the wineries, and to enjoy some wine at the end. They are open for visits both in the morning and in the afternoon, so choose what matches your schedule best.

ACCOMMODATION Lodging per night

The lodging that is shown in the list of each night is recommended by the traveler, you can find more similar options. The cost is per person in a double bed room.

Night City Recommended accommodation Type of lodging Cost of the person
Night 3 Puerto Varas PUERTO CHICO HOTEL Hotel USD 53
Night 4 Lago Ranco HOSTAL LAGO RANCO Hostel USD 23
Night 5 Santiago LASTARRIA 43-61 Apartament USD 38
Night 6 Santiago LASTARRIA 43-61 Apartament USD 38

TRANSPORT Transportation per day

The prices that appear by transport are referential and correspond to what the traveler paid at that moment

Nº Day Origin Destination Link web Type of transport Cost
Day 1 ARPT TEMUCO (ZCO) Pucon Car Rental USD 19
Day 3 Pucon Puerto Varas Car Rental USD 19
Day 4 Puerto Varas Lago Ranco Car Rental USD 19
Day 5 Lago Ranco ARPT TEMUCO (ZCO) Car Rental USD 19
Day 5 ARPT SANTIAGO (SCL) Santiago Center Shuttle USD 13
Day 6 Santiago Center ARPT SANTIAGO (SCL) Taxi USD 11

RECOMMENDATIONS Tips for your trip

In Pucon, in addition to visiting the thermal springs, you can do rafting, horseback riding and a few other activities.

If you do not go by car to the lakes, or you do not want to drive to some places, there are many guided tours available to get to the thermal springs, the Saltos de Petrohue and the Futangue Park.

In Pucon, I recommend eating at Senzo. It has good pastas. At Café de la P, you can have a tasty breakfast. La Maga Parrilla is a must if you like meat.

In Puerto Varas, Mesa Tropera and Buenas Brasas are good restaurants. In Lago Ranco, I suggest Café del Ranco..

In Santiago I recommend ‘La Singular’ (in Barrio Lastarria), ‘El Metizo’ (on the waterfront) and ‘Patio Bellavista’, which gathers several good restaurants to choose from.

Important information:

Pay attention to the weather in some areas. You cannot climb Villarrica volcano if it is rainy or snows. I suggest going there in Spring (between September and December) or in summer (between January and March) yet it can get crowded during those months. Many people from Santiago spend their vacations there.

As I drove most of my trip to Los Lagos, I bought a SIM card for my mobile. If you plan to do the same, I suggest not buying it at the airport. It is cheaper outside. Get it at a department store like Ripley.

The value of the rental car is divided between two people for the 4 days. A total cost of US $ 94 is calculated for tolls and gasoline. If there are two people, it is US $ 47 per person.

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