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.
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.