View to the main square in Osorno, South of Chile

View to the main square in Osorno, South of Chile

Osorno is placed 567.3 miles from Santiago, in a basin sheltered from the wind, by a bend of the Rahue river, which is easy to cross. The city of Osorno has a population of 128,340 inhabitants and due to its location act as a connection between the fields of the Coastal mountain range, to the West, and the plains to the East.

Night view in Osorno, South of Chile

Night view in Osorno, South of ChileView of Osorno in winter season

Its architectonic style and intense commerce activity, make Osorno a good starting point to begin your South of Chile tours. Osorno is the gateway to numerous recreational areas, lakes and mountains, located to the east and southeast, as well as to the National Parks that are on the other side of the Andean Mountain Range.
In your visit to Osorno, don’t miss the Rahue Viewpoint, which offers a complete panoramic view of Osorno, the river and the volcanoes in the horizon, the Rahue neighborhood, an independent municipal area until 1928; it was a service center for the Huilliches settlements of the coast. In this circuit you will be able to go to the Rahue Free Fair, a warehouse where an interesting fair of small coastal farmers is held; it has food places. Rural buses stop from 2pm at the fair’s lot, taking off in one or two hours later to the coast.

Queen María Luisa Fort is also worth visiting, was built in 1793 and named after the wife of Carlos IV of Spain. In 1796 was the residence of Ambrosio O’Higgins and, during the redoubling of Osorno, to Juan Mackenna. All is left today from the original construction is its defensive wall built against the river, on stone slab and cancagua (rustic stone), and the watchtowers.

The Historical Archive and Museum has a collection about the history of Osorno divided in theme rooms dedicated to the pre-history, conquer, re population, century XIX, German colonization and Mapuche culture, it really gives you a deeper insight of the town.

The Cathedral San Mateo Apóstol Church (Iglesia Catedral San Mateo Apóstol) of Osorno has a facade of ogival filigree. It was raised after the 1960 earthquake on assembled concrete. Important concerts during the Frutillar Musical Weeks are held here. Also of great interest is Plaza de Armas of the city, one of the most beautiful areas of the city, together with Avenida Mackenna, which has large green spires (tilos) that with their large and full foliage offer shade and shelter to one the favorite walks of the people from Osorno, especially during summer afternoons.

In the downtown area of Osorno is placed the Municipal Museum, counting with archeology, natural history, military and German colonization halls. Here lays, an attractive water fountain with multicolor lights and a cinnamon tree (Drimys winteri) planted by the poet Gabriela Mistral in 1938. If you walk by the Mackenna street, you’ll be able to appreciate the diverse houses of the XIX century that have been declared National Monuments.

A must see is The Consistorial Palace, a landmark of Osorno, and the current Local Government Headquarters. It’s located in front of the Plaza de Armas of the city. We also find the IV Centenario Park (Parque IV Centenario), located by the Damas river and full by native species such as araucarias (Araucaria araucana), oaks, lengas (Notohofagus pumilio) and olivillos (Aextoxicon punctatum).

We also recommend the Cattle Fair of Osorno (Feria Ganadera de Osorno), the largest of its kind on the country; open during mornings. You may visit its corrals and the auction grounds. Don’t miss it; it’s a unique experience to be able to sit down in the covered tribunes of its amphitheater in order to hear the screaming and bizarre language used for selling the animals on display.

The history of Osorno

Osorno was founded by the Spaniards, led by the conquistador Pedro de Valdivia, in 1553 on the site of the small native village of Chauracaín. The original Spanish name was Santa Marina de Gaete.

The original settlement was abandoned, and re-founded in 1558 by García Hurtado de Mendoza and called San Mateo de Osorno, in honor of his grandfather, the Count of Osorno, in Spain.
Destroyed by an Araucanos in 1602, it was restored (1776-1796) on the orders of Ambrosio O’Higgins, an Irish mercenary and father of Bernardo O’Higgins.

At the end of the 19th century, stream of German immigrants stimulated the growth of the town, which was boosted even further by the arrival of the train in 1895.

Attractions around Osorno

La Unión

La Unión is 54.6 miles from Valdivia and is a beautiful, progressive city located by the Llollelhue river; its foundation goes back to the beginnings of the Republic.

The industrial and commercial peak of this commune started when the German settlers arrived by the middle of last century.

Currently La Unión is the second most important city on regards to the economic activity of the Province, standing out its linen spinning mill, its production of elaborated woods, coal mining, and dairy plants among others.

It’s recommended to visit the San José Parochial Church built in front of the square in 1904, on native wood and with Neo gothic style, typical from the churches of the South.

Maihue Lake

(Wood glass)

The Maihue Lake comprises 11,366 acres. Its elongated north bank is formed by steep hills covered with virgin forest. On the south coast alternate cliffs with cattle ranches reaching the waters; there are some real state projects on this end. To the East is the Rupameica valley , where there’s an important settlement of Mapuche people who preserve their ancestral customs intact. To the West are the drainage and the Puerto Llolles, whose beautiful beach is a good place for making picnics or camping.

Río Bueno

Río Bueno is a city located 1.8 miles from the Pan-American Highway, by a cliff over the border of Bueno river. and 22.3 miles from Osorno. It has a population of 13,150 inhabitants. Initially it was a crossing point over the Bueno river, where the Spaniards built a fort that would later become a city.

To really know this town include in your visit the San José de Alcudia Small Fort declared National Monument, which was built in 1778, after the occupation of “the plains”. It lies on a strategic location that dominates the cliff with a splendid view to the river and the valley. There are still some old cannons remaining. A great tourist attraction is the plaza. considered one of the most beautiful of the South, covered with flowers during October and November. There’s the Furniel State , built on the beginning of the XX century. This sate with German architecture style, is also known as the Palacio de las Lágrimas, due to is splendorous and tragic past. Today houses a post office and a cultural center.

The Arturo Möller Sandrock Museum (Museo Arturo Möller Sandrock), created in 1971. It bears the name of the main contributor of the exhibited pieces, ranging from Mapuche ceramics, German colonial objects to a collection of arms


(Place where there are feathers of dove)

Maicolpué is a beautiful bay located in the commune of San Juan de la Costa, Province of Osorno. This resort presents beautiful beaches, which are divided by a beautiful river suitable for swimming. Also, in the Maicolpué resort the Pichi Mallay park is located. In the park you can observe fauna and flora of the area. The resort is close to other resorts (Pucatrihue and Trill trill) and to the Bahía Mansa port . Originally Maicolpué used to refer to a Huilliche community, a branch of the Mapuche ethnic group. The expansion of the middle areas of Osorno, allowed Maicolpué to become a growing resort. In this area there’s a land of 39 thousand acres belonging to the Maicolpué Ranch , which is inhabited by the Huilliche Maicolpi community, axis of the Mapu Lahual Network of Indigenous Parks that integrates other 9 communities.


(Locality on a steep place)

Pucatrihue is a creek and a resort of great beauty. The creek of Pucatrihue is 42.2 miles from Osorno, by an entirely paved route.Its population is mainly people from the Huilliche ethnic group, and most of them fishermen. Pucatrihue offers a charming nature with great tourist potentiality, and a big beach where there are two rivers. However, the tourism activity is still incipient. The resort of Pucatrihue is near the Maicolpue resort, and the Bahía Mansa port. The main economic activity of the inhabitants is fishing and seafood recollection. Within these areas, stand out the great production of Chilean abalone (locos) that are extracted from the region, since this area presents a great biodiversity, especially of the benthic type.

Rupanquito Reserved Area

Rupanquito is a famous reserved area for hunting red deers (ciervos colorados) and fallow deers (gamos), which has about 400 animals. In its territory hunting is allowed as a socio-biological control of the population, aiming to maintain the nature balance. If you rather not go hunting, you can take a photography trip during summer. You can observe the deers and its antlers from the viewpoints built over the trees. If you get close quietly and against the wind, you will be able to take pictures of the specimens in place.

Puyehue Lake

(Place of puyes [small lake fish])

The Puyehue Lake stand as a great point to practice sport fishing and nautical sports, and in its banks there are lodging houses, other lodgings, campsites, etc. In the Puyehue Lake diverse activities can be practiced such as: picnic, recreational fishing, aquatic ski, photography, swimming, and sailing and windsurf.

Puyehue Hot Springs

These were created in 1910 and offer the visitor basic service of natural and thermal; hot springs. It counts with an area with sulfur and mud baths and two pools, one of them covered.

Its thermal waters spring out crystalline and pure form the earth, reaching temperatures up to 158º F in its source of origin. They provide sedative and analgesic qualities, very beneficial for the pathologies associated with stress. These are recommended for the treatment of skin disorders, rheumatism, and arthritis, diabetes, obesity, nervous system and cardiovascular diseases, and neuralgias.

Here is located the first all inclusive resort in Chile, the Termas of Puyehue.

Moncopulli Museum of Automobile

This is the only automobile museum in Chile. It is located 15.5 miles from International Route 215, in the municipality of Puyehue, to the east of Osorno. It was founded by Bernardo Eggers.

The Moncopulli Museum of Autmobile (Museo de Autos Moncopulli) has a sample of 36 cars of all makes, models and years. They are organized according to the brand and fabrication year in a large showroom and in additional areas you can visit other related exhibits.
The museum is open during summer (December to March) from 10 am to 8 pm every day of the week and in winter (April to November) from 10 am to 6:30 pm from Tuesday to Sunday.

Aguas Calientes Hot Springs

A hot springs complex placed on the banks of the Río Chanleufú. The Aguas Calientes Hot Springs Complex (complejo Termas Aguas Calientes) has two swimming pools and sixteen individual tubs, with water that rises from the earth at 167º F and cools to 95 or 98.6º F.

The Aguas Calientes Hot Springs include a small hotel, barbecue shelters, 26 cabins, two camping areas and an Environmental Information Center where you can obtain information about the flora and fauna of the area.

Placed 21.7 miles from Osorno on the road that leads to the sea. Puacho is the service center for San Juan de la Costa, populated by Huilliche communities. The Huilliche Art Fair (Feria de Arte Huilliche) takes place at the end of January and beginning of February in Puacho.

The Islote Beach

The Islote Beach is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, it has a lodging house, restaurant, campsites, motorboats docking areas and a port to house motorboats. In the peninsula and the island in front, there are deer breeding places; the access and hunting are forbidden.

Mansa Bay

34.1 miles from Osorno, this is a small fishing creek and collection center for seafood and alerce shakes. It is located within a wild rocky bay, with access by a road that descends through the hills. It was formerly a small port.

Entre Lagos

28.5 miles from Osorno, with a population of 3,358 inhabitants, the town is an old timber and services lake port. The train used to come here to take away the production of the businesses around Puyehue and Rupanco Lakes. Nowadays, its principal activity is tourism.

Rupanco Lake

(Water passed through here)

The Rupanco Lake take place at 39.7 miles southeast of Osorno. This beautiful lake occupies 56,834 acres, and The Puntiagudo and Osorno volcanoes are reflected in its waters.

The Rupanco Lake is located 69.5 miles from Osorno and is accessed by a paved road. The lake is glacial in origin; its surface area is 111.8 square miles, with a maximum length of 27.9 miles and a width of approximately 6.8 miles.

In the Rupanco Lake stand out the Las Cabras and Los Ciervos islands, and on the latter European deer are bred. On its shores you will find a number of bays, and pleasant, beautiful beaches, where you can do nautical sports and sport salmon fishing. Its waters are blue with a visibility of 26.2 feet to 32.8 feet, and the temperature of the area in summer is 48.2º to 59ºF.

The flora is composed of olivillos, lumas (Amomyrtus luma), arrayanes (Luma apiculata), chilcas (Fuchsia magellanica) and ferns.
Its aquatic wildlife is made up of great grebes (hualas), Chilean coots (taguas), flightless steamer ducks (patos quetros), brown pintail ducks (patos jargones), black-crowned night herons (huairavos), kingfishers (martín pescadorers) and cormorants (cormoranes). As far as the bird life is concerned, there are birds of prey such as the pygmy owl (chuncho común), the trauco, the chimango caracara (tiuque), the Harris´s hawk (peuco) and the red-backed hawk (aguilucho).

It can be accessed from the north area of the Rupanco Lake by three roads and from the south there’s a path that runs along the shore to the eastern end of the lake.

Las Cascadas

This is a small village only 22.3 miles from Osorno. During the winter it is very quiet, but in the summer it is transformed into a popular resort. It is on the shore of Llanquihue Lake (Lago Llanquihue), opposite to the town of the same name, at the foot of the Osorno Volcano (volcán Osorno). It’s amazingly surrounded by native trees and has fine sand, besides its privileged location that towards the lake allows practicing nautical sports and it’s a great area for a fun family trip.

Río Negro

The town of Río Negro is located to the south of Osorno and was founded in 1896. It is said that the origins go back to a feud between two large farm owners, who created Purranque and Río Negro

From here there is a fantastic view of the Osorno Volcano and beautiful prairies used for agriculture and cattle ranching.

Maitén Beach

Located at 5.5 miles from Puerto Octay, the Maitén Beach is 1.8 miles long and is made of fine sand and a slight slope, enclosed by the exuberant vegetation of the place. Maitén Beach provides a picnic area and an large resort area with special conditions for practicing sport fishing.

Puerto Fonck Beach

The Puerto Fonck Beach is located at 14.2 miles from the round road to the Llanquihue Lake. This beach is ideal for people looking for quiet site, since it’s far away from the main routes. It has excellent beach and picnic area. In the area of Las Gaviotas numerous activities can be done, all related to the beautiful nature that offers this place

La Baja Beach

It’s located in the Centinela Peninsula and is 1.8 miles long. It counts with a beach of fine sand and slight slopes. It’s surrounded by native woods, and has a pier, boats, aquatic bicycles, lodging house and cabins. It’s special for a family fun trip, and suitable for practicing nautical sports, since it’s located in a naturally sheltered area from the wind.

Puerto Octay

Puerto Octay is located at 33.5 miles southeast of Osorno. Here you can enjoy the Playa Centinela and Maitén beaches.

In the city of Puerto Octay you can visit the Parochial Church of Puerto Octay, built in 1911 and the former Nuns School, constructed in 1913. At the Esperanza street you can visit the Emilio Held Winckler Culture House that offers a collection of historical documents and photographs of the colonists of the area.


(Land of ditch reeds)

Purranque was founded on April, 18 of 1911, by Tomás Burgos Sotomayor. It’s located at a 23.6 miles south of Osorno by the Pan-American South highway. The arrival of the railroad made possible the foundation of the city former know as “Villa Los Burgos”. In Purranque the Feast of San Sebastián is celebrated every year, one of the most important in the area, which is held on January 20. That activity gathers more than 30,000 persons in Purranque each year.

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