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Hello! My name is Samuel (Sam) Chernow, I’m a rising sophomore, and I’m here to tell you all about the second half of our Enrichment Trip to a neat town called Puerto Varas. After spending a few days in Valdivia (see Alex’s blog first), we hopped on a bus and headed for Puerto Varas, also known as “the city of roses.” It’s a city of about 40,000 people, known widely for its German traditions, scenic natural environment, and popularity as a tourist destination. This was the second stop on our enrichment trip, where we stayed for a grand total of 3 nights. This blog will detail this trip and the many things we experienced along the way.

Volcán Osorno, perfectly conical and in our direct view during our hike through the national park.

Upon arriving on the first day around lunchtime, we headed immediately for hostel Mapatagonia, a cheap (but surprisingly nice) hostel picked out by Parker. It would only cost us around 25,000 pesos for the 3 nights (or about 35 bucks total). The WiFi was fast (a nice change of pace), the showers were hot, and the beds were comfortable. After dropping off our bags we headed to Pim’s Irish Pub, a very Gringo restaurant. I shamelessly ordered a hamburger and a Shirley Temple and loved it. After eating, we took to the lively streets, checking out the many touristy stores and heading for a photoshoot by the lake, with Volcán Osorno (see picture above) gracefully filling up the background. We went out to eat, checked out the city and some of its nightlife, and eventually headed back to the hostel to get some sleep.

A view of Puerto Varas from just around the corner where our hostel was located.

The following day, the group decided on a trip to Frutillar, a small city founded by German settlers in 1856. It was a quick bus ride from Puerto Varas, but we enjoyed how different it looked and felt from any other city we had visited. We immediately walked to the lake to take more photos and admire the dark sand, eventually finding ourselves walking along the water and checking out the neat businesses and restaurants. There was a large building that resembled an amphitheater near the end of the lake, and we found it to be some sort of a concert hall. There were, of course, gifts for purchase in the gift shop that mostly dealt with different musical instruments (after all, Frutillar is nicknamed the “City of Music.”  After eating at a nearby restaurant and heading to the dock to take more photos, we took the quick bus ride back to the hostel, where we took a break and decided what we wanted to do next. The remainder of the day consisted in walking around town more, buying souvenirs (many edible), and resting early for the national park the following day.

Frutillar, a small city on the coast of Lago Llanquihue, the largest lake in Chile.

The next morning, we woke up early, packed our sandwiches and other lunch foods, and headed for Alerce Andino National Park, where we were determined to hike a 15 kilometer trail that lead around Volcán Osorno and the beautiful surrounding forests. We hopped on yet another bus, rode about an hour to the park, and began our hike. The hike was fairly strenuous but we kept a good pace, making sure to stop for water and to take pictures of the massive volcano that sat directly in front of us. After trekking through some more forest and some dried rivers, we stopped for lunch near one of the overlooks where the volcano, the forests, and the lake were all visible. Not a bad sight while eating a turkey and cheese sandwich! We met and briefly spoke with a few other tourists, packed our lunch, and continued on the trail. Eventually, we found our way walking alongside the crystal-clear lake with nothing but nature surrounding us. It was incredibly serene (so of course we had to stop for more pictures) and we also had some fun drawing our names into the black sand. Eventually we made our way back to the start of the trail and caught the next bus home. We were all pretty wiped out, and enjoyed our last night in Puerto Varas enjoying the neat shops and restaurants the city had to offer.

A view of the lake from the hike in Alerce Andino  National Park.

The next morning, we packed our bags and headed to the bus station to get tickets for a midday bus ride back to Los Lagos, where we would then take another bus to Panguipulli (where Jose and Aaron would be waiting for us). We were all pretty tired and slept on the buses, but there was no denying the natural beauty of Puerto Varas and its people. We were all very grateful that we had the opportunity to explore such a beautiful city (and I think we can all agree it was one of our favorite cities we visited), and we headed back to Neltume with many many beautiful pictures to show our friends and family once we returned from Chile.

A view of Puerto Varas from the lake during the sunset.