Puerto Varas is popular as the smaller, less accessible port town just 15 minutes from Puerto Montt, overlooking beautiful Lago Llanquihue and the snowcapped peak of Osorno Volcano.
The pretty city attracts active travelers with wonderful hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, and fishing opportunities; you could arrange to scale that magnificent volcano if you have the time. But Puerto Varas is a cultural gem as well, with its wonderful German architecture exemplified by the red, wooden spires of the hilltop cathedral. The city is also well known for its German-accented cuisine, in particular the tasty kuechen, or cakes, just desserts after a busy day exploring the countryside.
Isolated from the ocean, Puerto Varas lies on the shores of Lago Llanquihue. It is accessible by land from the larger city of Puerto Montt, with flights to Santiago and other Chilean cities, regular ferry connections up and down the coast, and buses throughout the region. Minibuses make the 15-minute trip between Puerto Montt's main terminal and central Puerto Varas throughout the day.
You can also cross to Bariloche, Argentina via Lago Todos los Santos, from Puerto Varas.