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This is one of many routes you can take through Chile's enchanting woodlands and alpine forests that intentionally transport you to scenes straight out Bavaria and Switzerland, because those are the very persons who have immigrated here and their cultural icons with them to blend in with Chilean culture.

Pucon is a great place to start, and you may never leave. It is hugely popular, and beause of that, makes sure to provide an endless amount of entertainment, adventures, hikes, recreational sports (skiing being the biggest), tours, dining and wining...and the list could go on. Besides the famous Pucon ski resort, there are four national parks in the immediate area and a network of seven lakes, that combined offer you loads of opportunity for hiking or walking to your hearts content among the most gorgeous of Chile's landscapes, and relaxing in the variety of hot springs.  If you want a more laid-back alternative without leaving the beautiful environment, head just to the other side of the lake from Pucon where you'll find Villarica, where you'll see more of the real working town that blends German and Chilean culture, but still has some good restaurants, strollable streets, and the artisan market Mercado Fritz. 

Heading south to a new lake destination (you'll get used to this), stop and enjoy the darling wedding cake of a town, Panguipulli and stroll around in the San Sebastian neighborhood with the fanciful pink church. The town also hosts a small but worthwhile Casa de la Cultura showing regional artifacts and historical exhibits. Get on a new bus going east out of town around the shoreline of the lake to head to the dramatic waterfalls Saltos del Huilo-Huilo, and the paradise of virgin forest with great walking trails, Sendero el Puma near Neltume.  In Neltume itself they also have a gorgeous museum of volcanoes (Museo de los Volcanes).  If you continue going to the end of the road east, you'll come to Puerto Fuy, which is at the western end of a long glacial lake that has a ferry to the opposite side where many serious hikers start the 3-day hike-and-horse over the mountains into Argentina.

Once you get back to Panguipulli, your next lake destination is not far south, Lago Ranco. The town at the top of the lake is Futrono. You are here to take the ferry out into the middle of the lake to an unforgettable island called Isla Huapi that is steeped in indigenous Mapuche culture and both sacred and beautiful. A must see on the western side of the island is Witch Rock, where according to local legend, whoever passes through the two blocks that give shape to the rock will have a long life; but whoever does not pass through will have a shorter life (so guess what you better do!).

Finally, get on the bus from Futrono to Puyehue, which will take you all the way around Lago Ranco so you can enjoy the spectacle of nature it is. Once you arrive, one of the odd but refreshingly different things you'll find to do is a visit to the Moncopulli auto museum, for a trip back in time looking at great Studebakers and other classics. However, one of the main reasons to make Puyehue your destination is the absolutely amazing Parque Nacional Puyehue, so if you haven't done any hiking up to now, this is the place to save it for!  Inside the park are several volcanoes, letting you appreciate the immense power of nature.


  • On this route:
  • Pucon |
  • Villarrica |
  • Licanray |
  • Coñaripe |
  • Panguipulli |
  • Punahue |
  • Neltume  |
  • Puerto Fuy |
  • Los Lagos |
  • Futrono |
  • Isla Huapi |
  • Llifen |
  • Río Bueno |
  • Puyehue! |
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