Puerto Montt tours are some of the best way to get to know what’s called the ‘Lake District’ in Chile. Close to the beautiful Puerto Varas, and with easy access to Volcano Osorno and the archipelago of Chiloé, Puerto Montt is a great place from which to start your exploration of the south. Check the activities available from Puerto Montt or click here for more info.
Puerto Montt itself does not have that much to offer in terms of tourism, however most likely you will have either flown into the airport there or arrived on an overnight bus in order to explore the region. From Puerto Montt, if you are planning on going north and visiting the Lake District, you have a number of options. One of the best things to do is visit the area around Lago Llanquihue, where you can find quaint German-style towns with incredible views of Volcano Osorno across the lake. Puerto Varas is the largest town on the lake, and is a beautiful place to base yourself and enjoy the impressive views of the area. The small town of Frutillar should also not be missed, as this is a heavily-influenced German style town with a fascinating museum about the German colonies in the south of Chile and stunning views of the volcano. It’s also worth visiting the eastern coast of the lake and going through the town of Ensenada. This is a small town but you can base yourself here and explore the nearby ‘Saltos del Petrohue’, a series of waterfalls and rapids nearby in the forest.
For an easy way to explore this area, you could try the Puerto Montt tours which we have that can show you many of these beautiful villages all in one day. Our Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas and Frutillar half day tour takes you to each of the best places in town as well as best viewing points of the volcano. Our round circuit day tour of Lago Llanquihue also offers stunning views that can help you make the most of your time.
For the adventurous among you, then we also highly recommend getting up close to Volcano Osorno too. You can do hikes up the volcano in summer and snow treks and even skiing on the volcano in winter. We offer a day hike with a professional guide to show you the way and provide the necessary gear if you would like to try this. As one of the most distinct peaks in South America, it’s a truly magnificent feat to summit this volcano and enjoy the stunning views all around.
Once you have explored the north of Puerto Montt, you may wish to venture south as this is an ideal place from which to explore the archipelago of Chiloé or even go further and enter Patagonia. The island of Chiloé is famous for its penguins, nature reserves and classic painted houses on stilts can be found just outside of the town of Castro. There are stunning hikes to be had in Chiloé National Park, and also fantastic seafood to be had that is fresh caught that day! We can help you enjoy a penguin sighting excursion too, as we can arrange Puerto Montt tour departures or Puerto Varas departures to take you on a day boat trip round the Lacuy Peninsula near Ancud.
If you want to head into Patagonia, then from Puerto Montt you can also start your journey on the Carretera Austral, a highway running 1,240 kilometers (770 mi) all the way from Puerto Montt through to rural Patagonia. You can take local buses, rent a car, or challenge yourself toa 10-day bike tour with our professional guides to help you along the way. You will see stunning views of volcanos and lakes along the journey as you wend your way slowly into the lush greenery of the south of Chile. If you don’t want to commit to a long trip into Patagonia, then you can still visit some of the Carretera Austral by heading to the Alerce Andino National Park where you have many beautiful treks and great views of the surrounding sea.
The great thing about the Lake District is that you can visit at any time of year. The Chilean summer is November-February, so this will be peak season time and you will certainly enjoy the best weather. However it’s advisable to go slightly off peak, perhaps in October or March to avoid the crowds and enjoy the national parks to yourself.
It’s also a great destination for winter, especially for those of you who enjoy skiing or snowboarding! You can ski down Volcano Osorno in the winter or take winter hikes in the snow as well. Even in the colder weather, boat trips are still possible around Chiloé, although the one drawback is that the penguins will have migrated for the winter.
Taking a Puerto Montt tour is certainly the best way to explore the Lake District and Chiloé region, however if you’ve come all this way south then we highly recommend you visit Púcon and Valdivia if you have a bit of extra time. We also recommend visiting San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina just the other side of the border too, as this area is well known for its natural beauty. If you do decide to visit Argentina, please check the necessary visa requirements before trying to cross the border.