t2.bmp (300054 bytes)  Puerto Montt

Monday February 16, 2015

 

Puerto Montt, Chile


Puerto Montt is your gateway to Chile's magnificent Lake District. Here, snow-capped
volcanoes gaze down on alpine valleys nestled among low hills. Glaciers carved out this
terrain, leaving the jewel-like lakes in their wake. The Lake District was a magnet for
German immigrants, and their legacy can be seen today in the manicured rose
gardens of Puerto Varas, in Chile's "German Villages" like Frutillar and in Puerto Montt's
gabled homes with elaborate balconies.


Despite a population of more than 130,000, Puerto Montt retains the feel of a small town.
For a simple introduction to the city, walk along its waterfront road lined with tempting
artisan's stalls and small cafés.
 

 

Lake Esmeralda

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Just beyond Puerto Montt's city streets lies the lush and verdant Lake District. Stretching out from the Pacific to the Andes the area encompasses dozens of lakes, volcanoes, hot springs, and rivers.

We boarded a bus at the pier and meandered through Puerto Montt and out into the picturesque countryside. With the magnificent snow-capped Osorno volcano as a backdrop, we went into the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, Chile's oldest national park. Covering over 619,900 acres it's home to Todos los Santos, also known as Esmeralda Lake for its brilliant emerald color. We boarded a catamaran for a leisurely cruise out onto the lake. Surrounded by the snow-covered peaks of the Andes the lake's vivid hues poses the question - is it really green? It's believed that weather conditions and the cloud-covered sky create this visually stunning optical illusion.

The next several pictures show the beautiful background as seen from the catamaran ride on Lake Esmeralda. Green hills, green water and volcanoes, oh my!

After 45 minutes on the lake, we made our way back to the dock, reboarded our bus and went to a local restaurant for a delicious lunch of Chilean and German favorites. On the menu were cheese empanadas, vegetable soup, grilled fish and kuchen for dessert, a German cake that's made from a sweet dough and topped with fruit and custard or a latticed crust.  Lou enjoyed the wine and the Pisco sour, which is a traditional South American cocktail.

 

Petrohue River

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Our next destination was Petrohue Falls. The photos below show the views of the park. Isn't that water beautiful?  And check out that volcano!  Lou and Carol braved crowded and treacherous footpaths to bring the pictures of the rapids to you.

 

 

Puerto Varas

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Our next stop was the charming town of Puerto Varas, which rests on the shores of shimmering Lake Llanquihue. Founded by German immigrants over 150 years ago, the town is well known for its German traditions, food and architecture. We spent about an hour wandering the beach, the streets and park.  We even had time for ice cream! Carol had a mocha-caramel ice cream cone and Lou had an orange-ginger sorbet!  And as you can see, the weather couldn't have been more perfect.  The temperature was around 70 degrees F. 
 


 

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