Puerto Varas is part of a beautiful area referred to as the Lakes district, with enormous lakes (shocker), waterfalls, national parks and Volcanoes dotted around. We were using this as a scenic stopover on our journey to the far South of Chile, Patagonia, as our flight was leaving from Puerto Montt, which was 20 minutes away and the guidebook had listed its multiple exit points as its most endearing feature…
We were unable to get our first choice hostel and so headed to Hostal Casa Margouya. It’s a difficult place to paint with words but we will try. From the outside, the building does look as though it has been built straight, however on entering its difficult not to roll downhill into the small central common area with paper mache doors perforating the wafer thin walls. Earplugs were a must, with loud, albeit good, music going until 2am and some pretty interesting characters lurking. For example a french bloke who ate rotting veg and sold bracelets, another bloke travelling with his disobedient parrot on his shoulder (sometimes) and an odd Argentinian hairdresser living in the cupboard under the stairs who seemed to want to see ALL of Alexz’s hairs. In fairness everyone was very friendly, some Argentinians perhaps too much, and it gave us a base to explore from.
The weather here is pretty rainy all year round owing to the mountains, but if you are lucky enough to be here on a bluebird day you have views of lakes and snowy topped conical volcanoes. Sadly, we did not get these views and so spent a fair bit of time trying out the various cake and coffee shops and playing cards, but we didn’t regret this part one bit. From our window seats, we could watch the ongoing protests march on, all peaceful and musical despite most shops being boarded up.
On our only full day here we caught the little blue bus, packed with locals on their way to work, to see the waterfalls and trek up the side of a volcano hoping for a break in the cloud. We spent some time at Saltos de Petrohue waterfalls and lovers lagoon, a beautiful spot which exceeded expectations, before heading onto the Volcano Osorno (Active, 2652m).
Starting at Toddos los Santos lake we were treated to a distant view of the huge Volcano Tronador, and hoped the weather would hold off for a couple hours longer. After around 4 miles of steep sandy uphill, the clouds rolled in and made themselves comfortable in the valley, opening up and teaching us to put waterproof trousers on earlier next time! The view point became pointless but we still enjoyed it, with a few more of mans best friend deciding to join us for walkies, eating local empanadas and possibly the best bar of Milka chocolate we’ve ever had with our flask. Tired and wet, knowing we had Patagonia to come, we headed back to rest up.
As we were awaiting a lift to the airport the next morning, the hostel owner was playing some great old school tunes, this being one of them and it seemed the most appropriate.