In one fabulous enriching day in Chile, we visited the snow-capped Osomo Volcano, saw the shimmering waterfalls of the Petrohue Falls, relaxed at a delicious lunch on the shores of Lake Lianquihue and explored the picturesque town of Puerto Varas with its local handicraft markets
During our late February 2020 Viking South America & The Chilean Fjords Cruise we opted to take the Osorno Volcano, Petrohue Falls and Puerto Varas Optional Tour. This excellent excursion from the Viking Jupiter which docked in Puerto Montt, Chile, considered the capital of Northern Patagonia, gave us a chance to take in the beauty and diversity of the area. This area is 600 miles south of Santiago.
Our first stop was at the glittering Petrohue Falls which were formed by the Petrohue River cascading its way through the century’s old volcanic rock. The falls are part of a local park.
They consist of fast moving water flowing down and through the rocks. Some travelers opted to ride the rapids on the Petrohue River, but it seemed too treacherous for my spouse Dianne and me.
We next ventured to the majestic Osorno Volcano. This active volcano reaches an altitude of 8,700 feet above sea level and is snow-capped year round. As we approached this tourist site, we were concerned about the view due to dense fog. But, our bus broke through the fog just before reaching the drop-off point for the visit.
The vision of the blue skies contrasting the clouds below was worth the trip. We rode a ski lift about 2,000 foot up the volcano for even better panoramic views as the fog below began to burn off.
After leaving the volcano, we drove around Lake Llanquihue the third largest lake in South America. The Lake with its crystal blue waters is stunning. We stopped at a restaurant on the lake for a local lunch, It featured an empanada, Chilean salmon and a pisco sour, a well known local beverage.
This alcoholic cocktail of Peruvian origin is typical of the cuisines from Chile and Peru. The drink’s name comes from pisco, which is its base liquor, and the cocktail term sour, which refers to sour citrus juice and sweetener components.
We next drove to the picturesque town of Puerto Varas. This town was originally settled by German immigrants in 1852. The Chilean government gave them the land in an effort to build the population in Northern Patagonia. The Sunday we visited the town ended the summer vacation period in Chile and the town was filled with local residents and children getting the last taste of summer.
Some of them actually braved the chilly waters of Lake Llanquihue for the last swim of the season. The views of the Lake and the prominent Osorno Volcano in the background were outstanding.
This Viking excursion enabled us to get a good feel of the beauty of Northern Patagonia. I could see why this is is offered as part of this yearly cruise on the Viking Cruises schedule.