View Map

Overview

South of the Biobío River, where Chile's Mediterranean climate gives way to a West Coast maritime regime, lush forests of conifers and hardwoods cover the lower slopes of snow-topped volcanic cones that rise above strings of finger lakes left by Pleistocene glaciers. Literary conservationist John Muir was one of the earliest American visitors to enjoy the monkey puzzle forests of what is now Conguillío National Park. In the ski season, on the shores of Lake Villarrica, the resort of Pucón is a hyperactive chaos beneath the slopes of the smoldering summit of the Villarrica volcano. There are also important ski facilities at Las ...

South of the Biobío River, where Chile's Mediterranean climate gives way to a West Coast maritime regime, lush forests of conifers and hardwoods cover the lower slopes of snow-topped volcanic cones that rise above strings of finger lakes left by Pleistocene glaciers. Literary conservationist John Muir was one of the earliest American visitors to enjoy the monkey puzzle forests of what is now Conguillío National Park. In the ski season, on the shores of Lake Villarrica, the resort of Pucón is a hyperactive chaos beneath the slopes of the smoldering summit of the Villarrica volcano. There are also important ski facilities at Las Araucarias, on the western sector of Conguillío, at Antillanca in Puyehue National Park, and on Volcán Osorno, near Puerto Varas. On Lake Llanquihue, settled by 19th-century German colonists, Puerto Varas is a slice of Mitteleuropa that's the gateway to Lake Todos los Santos and Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park. Muir's friend Theodore Roosevelt made an early tourist crossing of Todos los Santos, to Argentina, on a South American excursion after his political career ended. Across the Chacao Channel, the archipelago of Chiloé is the cradle of Chilean folklore, home to a fascinating vernacular architecture, and site of a namesake national park on its wild Pacific shoreline; while better in summer, it's possible to visit in winter.

Wayne Bernhardson
About the Expert

Wayne Bernhardson is the author of Moon Handbooks to Argentina, Buenos Aires (including coastal Uruguay), Chile (including Easter Island), and Patagonia (including the Falkland Islands).

view full overview

Wayne Bernhardson for Triporati

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Western Coast of South America
  • Language: Spanish
  • Currency: Chilean Peso
  • Research: Chiloe | Chiloe
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    For snow sports, July to September