Puerto Varas is a picturesque town in the south of Chile. Many German immigrants came to this part of Chile in the past, which is reflected in the culture and architecture here.

The town is a stop in itself, take some time to slow down here. Have a walk around the costanera (boardwalk that borders lake Llanquihue) and enjoy the view of Osorno Volcano & Calbuco Volcano.

Top things to do in Puerto Varas

  1. Walk around lake Llanquihue & take in the two volcanos
  2. Wander the town & enjoy the architecture – in particular the Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón Jesús
  3. See Saltos de Petrohué – a beautiful waterfall and turquoise rapids, backed by Osorno Volcano
  4. Eat the food & drink the beer!
  5. See nearby Frutillar – a quaint German-style village in the heart of the south of Chile
Saltos de Petrohué

Saltos de Petrohué

This special part of the world is very easy to get to. You can either pay for a tour, use public transport or your own private vehicle.

We took the public bus that left a block from our hostel, and took us all the way to the entrance of the waterfall. The company was Buses a Ensenada that left from San Bernardo Street. Buses leave regularly to and from Puerto Varas & these waterfalls, making it ideal for backpackers.

In the park you can visit the serene Lago Todos Los Santos, see Osorno Volcano up close, have a walk through small rivers, waterfalls, and finally see the impressive cascades of Saltos de Petrohué.

Osorno Volcano


You can stay in Frutillar if you choose, or make it a day trip. We decided to visit it in a day, and took the local public bus from Puerto Varas to this town. Make sure to get off at Frutillar Bajo! Frutillar Alto is not the nice part of town.

Things to do in Frutillar

  • See the Muelle de Frutillar (jetty of Frutillar that goes out onto the lake), and enjoy the beautiful Lago Llanquihue & Osorno Volcano
  • Visit the Teatro del Lago – the theatre on the lake
  • Go shopping for hand crafts
  • Eat kuchen (German cake) & other delicious foods here
  • Enjoy the lazy quiet towns vibe & German architecture
  • For those interested in the German history of Frutillar – go visit the Frutillar German Colonial Museum that recreates the history of the 19th-century German settlers

Where to stay in Puerto Varas?

We were on a tight budget and chose to stay in a hostel. For those looking for a hostel that is very comfortable, great prices, breakfast included + good location we recommend Hostel Vermont.