South America Stories and Tips

Puerto Montt, Chile

Open Air Museum in Chile's Lake District town of Frutillar  Photo,

Our first South American port of call was the small but vital city of Puerto Montt, Chile. This is the transportation hub to the Patagonia region and the Chilean lake district.
The city is not particularly attractive but bustling with traffic and shoppers. The main shopping area of stores, some modern, some quite dated, as well as produce stands on street corners make for a good photo but this is their way of life. There is much salmon cultivation in this district.
This region was originally settled by German colonists in the 1800s. We took an optional bus trip to neighboring village of Puerto Varas, about 20 miles away. The quiet resort town had a casino. The main streets were lined with beautiful roses and an outdoor holiday craft fair was going on. I bought a beautiful alpaca scarf for US$5.

A short drive away was the town of Frutillar which some consider the prettiest town in the lake district. It felt like you were in Bavaria with the German-style houses, lace curtain windows, gnomes in the front yards, and beautifully landscaped and manicured gardens and lawns. We had to try the delicious strudel in a cafe that tasted as good as in any German city. We visited an outdoor living museum with a typical house and gardens from the 19th century. This area is also a popular destination for International Music festivals. The villages were much cleaner than the city of Puerto Montt and we enjoyed the contrast.

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