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Puerto Varas

Puerto Varas, Los Lagos Region, Chile
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Puerto Varas

Puerto Varas

Few cities offer such breathtaking views. On clear days, it can be downright moving to contemplate the snow-capped Osorno Volcano, whose form—as simple and perfect as a child’s drawing—looms high above the tranquil blue of Lake Llanquihue. Puerto Varas, founded by German settlers, is considered one of Chile’s most beautiful cities, with a winning combination of mountain landscape and global chic, complete with design stores, cafés, and Teutonic-accented patisseries. Few who visit Puerto Varas have left without trying several iterations of the fruit tart known as a kuchen. The town is ground zero for a wealth of outdoor activity, like rafting the whitewater falls off the Petrohue River, if the spirit is willing and weather permits. Less gung-ho visitors favor cruising Lake Todos Santos’s turquoise waters. The most rigorous activity may be the best: a hike to the summit of Osorno, up at 8,700 feet (or 2652 meters), reveals spectacular views.