Chile’s Lake District stretches over 200 miles from Temuco in the north to Puerto Montt in the south, and spills over the border into Argentina to the east. It is a region of 12 great lakes, snow-capped volcanoes, dense forests, and rich farmland.
Up until the 1880s the landscape was dominated by thick forests of araucaria, temperate Valdivian rainforest, and Patagonian cypress, and inhabited by indigenous Mapuche. Towards the end of the 19th century, German, Austrian and Swiss settlers transformed parts of the region into lush dairy farmland, The German influence can still be seen in the architecture and on the menu of many Lake District towns including Osorno, Puerto Varas and Frutillar. Some 20,000 Mapuche still live in the area’s reservations, especially around Temuco.
Today visitors flock to the beautiful Lake District region, staying in Puerto Varas or Pucon, to explore the many national parks and enjoy a variety of activities such as hiking, volcano climbing, horse riding, and relaxing in the numerous thermal springs. Winter brings an adventurous crowd to ski down the snow-covered volcanoes.