Self-drive in the Chilean lake district
Set your own pace on this self-drive journey unveiling the full glory of Chile’s wild vistas. The adventure is all yours but our expert planning and carefully chosen hotels will help to ensure a smooth ride, leaving you free to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of an unspoilt region.
We recommend splitting the drive over several days - maybe even a week -to give you plenty of time to savour the dreamlike landscape, stopping off to visit secluded villages, picnic beside crystal streams and bathe in thermal pools.
From the European-style resort of Pucón on Lago Villarrica a winding road continues south, embraced by lustrous evergreen forests, and glides alongside a wonderland of snow-capped volcanoes, glassy lakes and waterfalls tumbling through fairytale gulleys. You’ll spend time at the attractive river port Valdivia, a lively University town with a Spanish-German cultural heritage guarded by a chain of colonial forts and a series of small lakes, testament to the city's chequered history of invasions and earthquakes. There are opportunities to explore the pleasant little lakeside resorts on the shores of magnificent lake LLanquihue, and Continuing south the looming presence of Osorno volcano draws ever-closer on the horizon until you reach journey’s end, emerging at the old German colony of Puerto Varas on the southern shores of the lake.
Alternative options include exploring the region around Huilo Huilo, where there are impressive waterfalls and a privately-owned biological reserve offering a variety of outdoor activities, and Puyehue, home to Chile's most visited national park with thermal springs, volcanoes and evergreen forests made accessible by hiking trails.