Chilean Lakes District Back to Chile


Most North American travelers to Chile head way south, to Torres del Paine in remote Patagonia, or north, to the otherworldly Atacama Desert. But in between the two popular regions and about an hour’s flight south of Santiago, lies the adventure paradise that is the Lake District, home to abundant mountain and water sports.

Cheat Sheet

  • Sleep…at Hacienda Hotel Vira Vira, a lodge that emphasizes elegant adventure
  • Experience…a hike up the Villarrica Volcano to look inside the crater
  • Splurge…on Vira Vira’s delicious homemade cheese and honey to take home
  • Eat…at Trawen in Pucón town for regional, fresh ingredients and a homey ambience
  • Savor…a languid afternoon rafting or fly-fishing on the quiet Liucurá River
  • VisitTermas Geometricas, one of the many thermal baths that dot the area
  • See…thousand-year-old monkey-puzzle trees in a primordial forest
  • Know…that as an Indagare member you can contact our Bookings Team for customized recommendations and itineraries.

Lay of the Land

Chile’s Lake District, which stretches from Temuco in the north to Puerto Montt in the south, is a region of densely forested parks, deep and clear glacial lakes, farmland and snowcapped volcanoes. The area is designed for adventure with such outdoor activities available as hiking, rafting, kayaking, volcano climbing (and skiing) and soaking in thermal springs. It also has a rich cultural past—the forests were inhabited by the Mapuche, the indigenous people of the area, who fought off the Inca and resisted Spanish attempts at colonization for 350 years before finally falling to the Chilean Army in the 1880s, and the Mapuche heritage is important in today’s Chile. European settlers—German, Austrian and Swiss—later transformed the region, which opened the area to visitors. The unofficial capital of Chile’s Lake District, Pucón is the main tourism center. The adorable town is located on Lake Villarrica, a popular summer home destination for Chilean elites.

Getting There

The Lake District is serviced from Santiago with flights into Temuco, which is a 1.5-hour drive away from Pucón. Hacienda Hotel Vira Vira sits approximately 15 minutes away from town.

When to Go

November through April is the ideal time to visit (during Chile’s summer), when the lakes are refreshing, temperature are warm and the sun is shining throughout the days’ activities.

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Beyond… Chilean Lakes District

Consider combining your trip with one of these destinations.

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