The story goes that a German merchant named Ochs set up shop in this tidy community on the northern tip of Lago Llanquihue. A phrase uttered by customers looking for a particular item, "¿Ochs, hay…?" ("Ochs, do you have…?"), gradually became "Octay." With spectacular views of the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes, the town was the birthplace of Lake District tourism. A wealthy Santiago businessman constructed a mansion (now the
famed Hotel Centinela) outside town in 1912, using it as a vacation home to host his friends.