Outdoor Adventures At A Glance in The Lake District


Outdoor Adventures At A Glance

Pucón. Just 20 minutes from the 2,847-meter-high (9,341-foot-high) Villarrica Volcano, Pucón is without doubt one of Chile's top spots for adventure sports. The (active) volcano itself has become an obligatory climb for the many nature- and adventure-seeking tourists who come to Chile. In winter, the volcano is a favorite spot for skiing and snowboarding. Nearby Trancura River is a rafting, kayaking, and fishing paradise. Villarrica Lake and Calburga Lake are two outstanding lakes for fishing, swimming, kayaking, and water-skiing. There are several worthy nature hikes close to Pucón, featuring some of the most beautiful forests in Chile, including the Cani Sanctuary, Huerquehue National Park, and Conguillío National Park.

Puerto Varas. This small, tranquil town on the edge of Lake Llanquihue in the southern Lake District is one of Chile's most popular destinations for adventure-sports enthusiasts. The lake itself frequently boasts strong winds suitable for first-class windsurfing and sailing. At Canopy Lodge of Cascadas, the largest canopy area in Chile, not far from Puerto Varas, you can zip-line through canyons and forest 70 meters (230 feet) high. The Petrohué River offers the opportunity for rafting, and along with numerous other rivers in the area, great fishing. Biking alongside the lake is a popular trip, too. Vicente Pérez Rosales Park and Alerce Andino Park have good trails for hiking and camping. And there is the Osorno Volcano for treks, skiing, and snowboarding. Some two hours from Puerto Varas is Cochamó Valley, a fantastic spot that has drawn comparisons to Yosemite Park in California for its high granite mountain cliffs, waterfalls, and overall landscape. This is a rock-climbing paradise and a hiker's dream, with exceptional horseback-riding trails, too. Just south from Cochamó is Puelo, a river valley in the shadow of the Andes mountains. It's the launching point for some of Chile's best fly-fishing, in addition to great hiking and other outdoors action.

Valdivia. A complex network of 14 rivers cuts through the landscape in and around this southern Chilean city, forming dozens of small islands. About 160 km (99 mi) of the river system are navigable in waters ranging from 5 to 20 meters (16½ to 66 feet) deep. That makes ideal territory for kayaking, canoeing, and sailing, among other water sports. Valdivia is also near the Pacific coast. Curinanco beach, 25 km (15½ mi) from Valdivia, is considered a prime spot for fishing. Then there are the intact coastal temperate rainforests on the outskirts of town, secluded areas with beautiful scenery for long hikes and camping trips. At the private nature park Oncol, 22 km (14 mi) from Valdivia, are hiking trails and an 870-meter (2,854-foot) tree-top canopy course.

Osorno. Osorno itself is no outdoor wonder, but within an hour's drive you can reach Puyehue National Park, one of Chile's best hiking areas, and several lakes for fishing and boating, such as Rupanco. To the west, there is horseback riding, fishing, and hiking along the Pacific coast and at the indigenous network of parks, Mapu Lahual, which is managed by Huilluiche Indian communities.

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