You'll fit lots of adventurous excursions into this six-day trip to Chile's spectacular Lake District. After a whirlwind tour of Santiago, fly to the charming lakeside town of Puerto Varas to immerse yourself in the remote beauty of northern Patagonia. Highlights include a guided trek to the Osorno volcano, kayaking on Patagonia's northernmost fjord, and exploring the ancient forests of Alerce Andino National Park—home to the tallest trees in South America.


  • Spy the Andes and gaze over the Chilean capital of Santiago from a gondola
  • Trek around the slopes of the active Osorno volcano in the Chilean Lake District
  • Kayak along the Reloncaví Sound, passing volcanoes, glaciers, and snowy summits
  • Hike through some of the world's oldest forests in Alerce Andino National Park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santiago, Afternoon City Tour Santiago
Day 2 Fly to Puerto Montt, Transfer to Puerto Varas & the Lake District Puerto Varas
Day 3 Hiking Excursion to Osorno Volcano & Paso Desolación Puerto Varas
Day 4 Kayaking Tour of the Reloncaví Sound Puerto Varas
Day 5 Hike Through the Ancient Forests of Alerce Andino National Park Puerto Varas
Day 6 Morning Kayaking at Laguna La Poza, Fly to Santiago, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Santiago, Afternoon City Tour

Hike or take a gondola up to the top of Cerro San Cristóbal
Take a gondola up to the top of Cerro San Cristóbal for views over Santiago

Welcome to Chile! When you arrive at Santiago International Airport, a driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. Spend today getting to know the capital city, Santiago de Chile. This vibrant, cosmopolitan Latin American metropolis, bursting with beautiful buildings, diverse neighborhoods, museums, galleries, architecture, and incredible food, is the only place in the world where you can ski the Andes and surf the Pacific on the same day.

After you settle in, join a knowledgeable local guide for a city tour. Wander the aisles of Santiago's labyrinthine Mercado Central and Mercado La Vega for fresh produce and local snacks. Visit the Palacio de la Moneda, Chile's opulent presidential palace, a short stroll from the Plaza de Armas, an expansive stone plaza from 1541. Dominating the plaza's north side are the twin bell towers of the Catedral Metropolitana, a neoclassical church from 1748.

Next, hop on a cable car to the top of Cerro San Cristóbal. This hill sits 984 feet (300 m) above the city and provides incredible panoramic views of Santiago and the surrounding Andes and Chilean Coastal Range. End the day at the cobblestone streets of the bohemian Barrio Bellavista on the city's north side. Stroll past colorful houses adorned with graffiti art and enjoy dinner in the diverse array of funky cafés, international eateries, and high-end restaurants.

Day 2: Fly to Puerto Montt, Transfer to Puerto Varas & the Lake District

The village of Puerto Varas
Explore the charming village of Puerto Varas in Chilean Patagonia's Lake District

Say hasta luego to Santiago! Your driver will transfer you to the airport for a short 1.5-hour flight to the Puerto Montt Airport, a half-hour drive from Puerto Varas. Drop your luggage at the hotel and enjoy the charming little town next to the blue waters of Lago Llanquihue. The mix of German architecture and Mapuche cultural influence (a local Indigenous group) reflects its colonial past and vibrant diversity. 

Puerto Varas, known as "the City of Roses," offers expansive views of the nearby Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes, with elegant squares full of roses (hence the nickname) and alpine-style architecture. It's also renowned as a jumping-off point for outdoor adventures in the scenic Lake District of Chilean Patagonia. From here, you can hike, ski, climb various volcanoes, fish, raft, and go horseback riding. Tonight, enjoy a fusion of traditional European-style cuisine and classic Chilean flavors at dinner, then turn in early to rest up for tomorrow's adventures.

Day 3: Hiking Excursion to Osorno Volcano & Paso Desolación

Hike around the slopes of the Osorno volcano on today's six-hour excursion

Today, you'll join your guide and hit the road out of Puerto Varas, skirting Lago Llanquihue as you head toward the iconic cone shape of Osorno for a trekking adventure through the Andes. Along the way, pass the mouth of the Río Pescado (Fish River), plus the villages of La Poza and Los Riscos. You'll begin your hike once you reach the volcano's base at around 2,000 feet (600 m). 

The six-hour hike, which covers around 7.5 miles (12 km), circumvents the volcano along the Paso Desolación (Desolation Path), named for the windswept slopes covered in lower lichens and shrubs that afford you stellar views during the trek. After circumventing the volcano, which sits at over 8,000 feet (2,600 m) high, take the path down to Lago Todos Los Santos, surrounded by spectacular views of the Tronador and Puntiagudo volcanoes, the snow-covered summits of the Andes, and the emerald waters of the lake. 

Day 4: Kayaking Tour of the Reloncaví Sound

Kayaking on the Reloncaví Estuary
Kayak on Patagonian lakes near volcanoes and glaciers

More adventures await today as you're picked up at your hotel and transferred east along the shore of Lago Llanquihue for a kayaking excursion. You'll stop in Ensenada to pick up your gear, then hop back in the car for a quick drive to the town of Ralún, at the mouth of Patagonia's northernmost fjord: the Reloncaví Estuary, which lies off the Reloncaví Sound.

You'll put in on the shores of Ralún and begin your kayaking journey through the fjord. Glide across the water's surface, surrounded by the snowcapped Andes, including the Yate and Hornopirén volcanoes. Spot pelicans or cormorants flying above and sea lions, dolphins, or penguins frolicking in the water. At lunchtime, you'll step ashore at a small family farm to enjoy traditional maté (tea) and a homemade meal, followed by a short tour of the farm and surrounding woods.

Then it's back to the kayaks for more paddling on Reloncaví, ending at Cochamó, a small village on the coast between the Andes and the Pacific. Leave the water behind, change your clothes, drop off your gear, and hop in a van back to Puerto Varas.

Plan your trip to Patagonia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 5: Hike Through the Ancient Forests of Alerce Andino National Park

Trekking through Alerce Andino National Park
Trek among some of the tallest trees in South America in Alerce Andino National Park
Get ready for a change of scene this morning as you're transferred from your hotel in Puerto Varas to the coastal town of Lenca, the gateway to Alerce Andino National Park. Home to one of the oldest forests in the world, the park spreads over a large peninsula east of Puerto Montt, covering 970,000 acres (40,000 ha) of some of the purest natural beauty in Chile, including valleys, great swaths of forest and turquoise lagoons. Half of the park is home to the critically endangered alerce trees, the largest and oldest trees in South America, which can grow as tall as nearly 200 feet (60 m) and live as long as 2,500 years. 
Your guided trek through the park follows the edge of the Río Chaicas through giant, temperate forests abounding with mañio, tepa, arrayán, and alerce trees, finally reaching a pair of jewel-like mountain lakes. The glassy waters of Chaiquenes and Triangulo are home to various wildlife, such as rare coscoroba swans, pumas, cougars, foxes, and other bird species. At the end of the trek, you'll return to Puerto Varas and enjoy your final evening in the lakeside town however you like.

Day 6: Morning Kayaking at Laguna La Poza, Fly to Santiago, Depart

Kayak at La Poza Lagoon
Kayak in the glacial waters at Laguna La Poza 

Before you head to the airport for your departing flight, you'll squeeze in one last morning excursion. Meet your kayaking guide and transfer out of Puerto Varas to Laguna La Poza, a small lagoon connected to Lago Llanquihue by a skinny channel. Weeping willows and peek-a-boo volcano views surround this hidden gem, and you'll spend the morning paddling through the willow tunnels (accessible only by canoes and kayaks), bird-watching, and enjoying the peace of this undiscovered spot. 

Return through the channel to Lago Llanquihue, and head back to the Puerto Montt Airport via Puerto Varas to catch your flight to Santiago for your onward connection. Safe travels!

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Map of Active Adventures in Chile's Lake District - 6 Days
Map of Active Adventures in Chile's Lake District - 6 Days