Patagonia series | To the end of the world and back | episode 8

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Day 5 | One day trip to Osorno Volcano and Petrohué waterfall

Do you know: in the lake district in Chile it rains for more than 200 days a year?

Yes, when I heard that from our tour guide to Osorno Volcano, I became a little disappointed. No wonder the rain seemed to follow us around all the way from Pucón to here.

We started out the day with a super grey morning, our tour departed 8am. A small van loaded with a couple from Germany and 2 American students who are currently studying in Buenos Aires, then us. A total of 6 travellers. The weather was extremely unpredictable today, we have had the pleasure of experiencing rain, sleet, snow, strong wind and the bright as always sun.

When it rains, it pours.

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We were off towards the east along the scenic route 225 which gave us a great view of Llanquihue Lake.

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A map found online, just for your information about the area.

It took approximately 1 hour until we reached our first stop which was at Todos Los Santos Lake where the lake boat navigation has its starting point. During the trip our guide shared information about German colonization and the agriculture of the region.

When we arrived Todos Los Santos, the air was very misty with rain. None of us from the same tour was bothered to navigate on the Ms Lagos Andinos. We walked around the lake beaches and enjoyed the tranquility and fresh air of the area. The clouds come and go, we occasionally met the sun for a few seconds and… Quick, take some pictures!

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When a piece of  the sky became clearer, we were able to observe the snow capped Osorno Volcano. After 45 minutes of exploring this little region, we are on our way towards our second stop inside Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park to visit the famous sightseeing spot Petrohué waterfall.

Since our group was just 6 persons, our guide was very flexible with our requests. Before we arrived in Petrohué waterfall, we stopped at the river that connects to Todos Los Santos Lake with a strong current. The water was so clear with a slight green colour so we found a great spot for a quick photographing.

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Soon after that we made our official second stop at Petrohué waterfall. There is a visitor centre where everyone will pass by if you need to enter to see the falls. We paid our entrance fee (4,000 pesos) and we headed towards the falls. The path inside the park is surrounded by evergreen forest, but it took less than 10 minutes until we saw the amazing falls with turquoise coloured water powerfully pour over the black volcanic rocks. Our guide let us visit the park for an hour which is enough time to walk around and see all the spots this park can offer.

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Our final stop was at the Osorno Centro de Ski y Montaña located at 1240 meters above sea level. We were supposed to enjoy and appreciate an amazing and unique view to the summit of the volcano capped with snow, the Calbuco, Lake Llanquihue and the Pacific Ocean. The weather was never clear enough during our visit up the mountain but we managed to see some great views that lay at the foot of Osorno Volcano.

There is a little cafe on-site. We had our lunch there in the cafe sharing the Chilean style sandwich and couple of hot drink.

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Tips: If you are doing this trip, make sure you bring a packed lunch from the hostel you stayed (or, if you stay in a hotel, you should make a sandwich.) There wasn’t much choice and during the entire tour this is the only cafe where you can buy food and drink, and they are quite expensive.

The rain eventually reduced so we all headed out for the Red Crater. From the coffee shop, it takes around 30 minutes to reach the red crater then 30 minutes back. It’s a one way circle. The view from the volcano was just spectacular. I would have hoped for a clear blue sky to do such a walk but it was a very moody mountain hike in the end. Along the walking path you can view the entire Llanquihue lake. The hike offers a majestic view of the Andes.

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Of course, there is another option if hiking is not your thing. You can take the lift to ascend until 1450m altitude in the Station Primavera or 1750m at Station Glacier (you will have to pay extra to use the lift).

As we approached the volcano’s summit it started to cloud over and the view became really misty, also starting to snow/rain. The first 30 minutes were enjoyable to see the impressive scenery and the next 30 minutes we had to go through some sort of rain/snow storm which was a bit disappointing (and very wet!). When we got back to the cafe, all 6 of us were soaking wet and cold. Luckily there is a fireplace in the cafe sowe sat right next to the fireplace to dry our clothes and shoes. Phew, what a walk!

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On the way back to Puerto Varas, everybody was fast asleep in the car until we arrived back in town. The sun has finally decided to show a little bit of it’s face!  After our drop off we walked around the lake to enjoy the warmth that the sun has brought us.

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Continue to read: Patagonia series | To the end of the world and back | episode 8 — Day Six to Seven | Say hello to my little friends (the penguins), Punta Arenas

Or to read: Patagonia series | To the end of the world and back | episode 7 — Day Four | Got dropped off on the highway, Puerto Varas

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