America,  Chile,  TDM,  Travel Journal

Puerto Varas (Chile): a charming little town

Remember, in the previous episode, I asked the owner of my hotel in Puerto Montt which were the best cities to spend the New Year (apart from Valparaiso & Co.), the answer was clear: Puerto Varas. She told me about Valdivia, Pucon, among others… but Puerto Varas remains her favorite

This lady was absolutely right, check it out !!!!

Part 1: Travel Diaries
Part 2: Practical Tips

Part 1: Travel Diaries

Day 1 :

The photo above is simply (part of) the great view we have from the Llanquihue lake in Puerto Varas, on the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. Am I in Japan, the Philippines or what? The view is perfect!

From Castro (Chiloé Island), we take the bus from Cruz del Sur to Puerto Varas. The best places are ours: numbers 3 and 4, with a view for hours on these two volcanoes. If you are less lucky, you can take the bus to the right. After Puerto Montt, you will also have this beautiful view

We are again in a youth hostel, at Hostal Tronco del Aleman. The infrastructure is good but the staff is very friendly and the Wifi is fast (thanks to the one you can read my article). It’s already 4pm and we still haven’t eaten anything

That’s why we go directly to the restaurant Tierra y Sabor, only 5 minutes away from the hostel. The staff of the inn recommends it to us warmly and insists on the enormous pitcher of beer at 3000$CH. Finally, we will crack for a mojito well charged in alcohol for only 3500$CH, a pizza and especially the homemade salmon ceviche. The ceviche is a typical dish of South America. It’s just a starter (but very copious), made of raw fish macerated in lime juice, coriander and onion. When it is well done like this, you don’t feel the strong and unpleasant taste of the onion anymore. I think I paid only 5600$CH. I highly recommend this restaurant!

Day 2 :

Today, we spend the whole morning walking along the lake. There isn’t much to do here on foot so walking along the lake is the easiest option. There are 2 beaches near the center, the sand is OK. In spite of the not recommended swimming, we still see many people in the water

We have lunch at La Marca restaurant, n°2 of the restaurants on Tripadvisor. We understand better why when the 300g of rib-eye is served: the cooking is perfect, and this big piece is already well marinated. We don’t need any sauce. According to Lonely Planet, the meat from the lake region is as good as the Argentinean meat. I confirm!

Perfect cooking

In the evening, we will go to Mercado 605, where I will find a Chilean style beef tartare. It’s not bad, not as good as in France but I’m so short of tartar that everything suits me

Day 3 :

As there is no central bus terminal in Puerto Varas, we go to the address of Pullman Bus indicated on Google to check that the bus of this evening leaves well from this address. It is the case!

We visit the church next door: Iglesia del Sagrado Corazon, the only point of interest in the city. It is made in jail with iron supports. Its architecture is inspired by that of the Black Forest in Germany

The city is really picturesque with its very “Christmas cottage” architecture and its German cultural heritage (many German names for the stores)

Like everywhere in South America, dogs are everywhere on the street, it’s hard to know if they belong to someone or not. They all look healthy and clean. I still bought some cookies full of vitamins to give to the dogs on the street, just in case

It is in Chile that we find Lapis Lazuli (metamorphic rock) of blue color with pyrite chips. The other place where you can find a lot of it is Afghanistan, but I don’t think you can go there so soon. In the meantime, lapis lazuli jewelry is very accessible in Chile (10€ to 30€)

There is a food trucks corner not far from the tourist office. We are so motivated that we waited for the opening of the food trucks at 13H. Even if the ceviche is less good than the first restaurant tested in Puerto Varas, the apple juice with lemon and ginger is a massacre! For only 1000$CH (1,5€)

Suddenly I see a familiar silhouette: she is one of the 3 students we hitchhiked to Easter Island. What do you know! It’s funny to meet in a small town like that

We will spend a good part of the afternoon at the youth hostel to wait for our bus for Vina del Mar at 8 pm

Part 2: Practical Tips


  • 1€ = 698 pesos, 1000$CH = 1,43€
  • Bus : Castro -> Puerto Varas 6500$CH/person (9€)
  • Restaurants

    • Restaurants: between 24000$CH and 32000$CH/meal for two (seafood or barbecue beef), drinks and tips included. We eat great here so let yourself go!
    • Food trucks: 4000$CH per dish. Juice pressed at 1000$CH. Ice cream between 500$CH and 1000$CH.

  • Youth hostel: 11150$CH/bed/night


  • The bill always has 3 lines: amount of the ordered dishes, 10% tip (for info), the total if you add the tip. Even if it is marked on the bill, it is up to the customer to say at the time of payment that he agrees to pay the tips. You have to do this because everyone tips here (regardless of the quality of service)
  • We do not recommend our youth hostel Tronco del aleman despite the kindness of the staff. Every time the truck passes by, the whole house shakes. The walls are thin (I was woken up by the snoring of the neighbor in the next room). And the shower is very capricious, the water temperature varies every second.
  • Be careful, there is no central bus terminal, you will have to go to the terminal of the bus company you want to take to buy the tickets/departure. To go to the South, take Cruz del Sur. For the North, take Pullman Bus.
  • There are several ATMs in the city center, and lots of nice stores.
  • You’ve got it: we highly recommend these two restaurants : Tierra y Sabor and La Marca
  • If you want to kayak, take boats to discover the lake or walk to the viewpoint of the Osorno volcano, I have taken pictures of the excursions available at the tourist office (click to zoom)

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