Puerto Varas and surroundings

Near Puerto Varas

Near Puerto Varas

The journey by bus to Puerto Varas was fairly uneventful, mostly because I spent much of it either sleeping or absorbed in the new Harry Potter novel. By mid afternoon we had arrived at Puerto Varas, at which point thoughts of sleep and Hogwarts were cast aside. This old German colony maintains a distinctive look from any of the other communities in South America, most notably due to its architecture, which still sports a very rustic German vibe about much of it. We had no plans of where to spend the evening, so we toured around the city about, eventually stumbling upon the Cabañas del Lago, an affordable and comfortable place that suited our needs just fine.

Dropping off our bags and other unessentials, we set back out into the city to see what we could discover. Our impression of this town was that it was very community oriented. We were here around Christmas time, and everywhere we went there were Christmas trees adorned with sparkling decorations, and streets, houses and storefronts all had very pleasant and welcoming appearances.

Ensenada

Ensenada

Across the lake which sat beside the town, we could spy two very large, snow capped volcanoes, covered in perpetual wisps of cloud. Another sight we enjoyed was the Iglesia Del Sagrado, a large building overlooking much of the town.

From here, we wandered around some of the streets in this upper section of the city, which was a very quiet and quaint neighbourhood, before heading back down to the main plaza. Deciding it was time to fully immerse ourselves in the town, and quite parched after our journey around the city, we headed to Kunstmann, a pub situated right near the plaza, and very obviously German inspired by the name, like much of the town. After a beer and some cake which really hit the spot, we headed back out into the streets.

Our next stop was the supermarket, where we planned to purchase dinner and take it back to the hostel to prepare and feast on. We enjoyed our meal in front of the television, enjoying the World’s Strongest Man competition which happened to be playing. After witnessing their incredible feats of strength, it really made our walk around the town seem like a walk to the corner store.

Laguna Verde

Laguna Verde

We had an early start planned for the next day, a day which would also be filled with walking and exploring, this time in the large Vicente Perez Rosales National Park. We took a bus out there (hey, we weren’t gonna walk the 50 km to get there, we’re not that bold!), which brought us closer to those volcanoes across the lake.

The weather had been terribly gloomy to start the day, but as we strode into the park the sun began to make casual appearances through breaks in the dissipating clouds, which cheered us considerably. The bus let us off at Saltos De Petrohue, at which point we got ourselves dripping with bug repellent and grabbed our tickets.

We walked around one of the trails, just missing the crowd from another tour bus that had just been dropped off in the area. We reached the falls, which cascaded down into a beautiful valley below, filled with crystal clear water. We were met with the small annoyance of some rather large flying thingies, which I wasn’t particularly fond of, but I managed to swat a few of them away and asser my dominance over them (at least so I hoped), though that didn’t stop them from buzzing by.

From here we returned up the trail and took another bus to the final stop on the Petrohue road. From here we had a few options. We could take a boat across the river to the camping and restaurant areas, or a boat across the lake to more trails and camping on the other side. We decide to forego both of those options, deciding instead to take the 12 km trail up the base of the nearby volcano. As we headed along the lake to reach the trail, the numbers of the flying beetle bugs increased tremendously, irking me to no end. I’m not a bug lover, so we decided to give up on the walk and head back to the bus stop, and a trip back to our hostel.
Our afternoon on the beach, spent reading more Harry Potter may not have been very adventurous, but at least there were no silly flying beetles there.

Osorno Volcano

Osorno Volcano

We had planned on viewing an early sunrise from atop the town the next morning, but to our dismay the hostel doors were locked, with no way out. What a bummer. We headed back to bed instead, waking up well into the morning.

After a morning spent relaxing, surfing the internet and doing a bit of research, our next stop was Bariloche in Argentina. It would be yet another border crossing on our long journey throughout South America, and our passports were becoming quite inundated with stamps.

Our trip across the border took us through some more wonderful vistas, including a beautiful lake and mountain range. We spent some time chatting with a British couple on the bus, and by the time we reached Argentina had become fast friends. We took our new friends to a place we had stayed at previously in Argentina, and settled into the next leg of our South American journey.