We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Puerto Varas & Torres del Paine Itinerary Assistance

Washington
Level Contributor
10 posts
20 reviews
Save Topic
Puerto Varas & Torres del Paine Itinerary Assistance

We are planning a 10/11 day holiday in December/January. We would like to fly into Puerto Montt, rent a car and see the sights in and around Puerto Varas. During this time, we would also like to drive into Bariloche for a few days (return the car to Puerto Montt).

After spending time in this region, our thought is to fly to Punta Arenas, rent a car and drive into Torres del Paine.

Is this basic itinerary shell do-able in the timeframe we have? What sights in each area should we make sure to see? Are there any towns we shouldn't miss? Will we be able to book day tours once in-country? Thank you for any recommendations and advice!

Ko'KayaK
Sightseeing Tours, Gear Rentals, Kayaking & Canoeing, River Rafting & Tubing
Turismo Pangue
Cultural Tours, Private Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Photography Tours
Jass Puerto Varas
Sightseeing Tours, Kayaking & Canoeing, Hiking & Camping Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours
Patagonia Austral
Private Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Eco Tours, Day Trips
Ensenada - Puerto...
4 posts
Save Reply
11. Re: Puerto Varas & Torres del Paine Itinerary Assistance

Hello guys.

The good thing of Puerto Varas is that yu can spend a week and do many active day or two day trips returning to Puerto Varas as a hub every night or moving around and spending night in other villages around.

The are activities for everyones : from moderate hiking on your own, sea kayaking beautiful fjords up to guided adrenaline filled activities

Regards

oregon
Level Contributor
8 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
12. Re: Puerto Varas & Torres del Paine Itinerary Assistance

Picked up on your posts about Chile in the forum and wondered about your trip experience. My wife and I, also in our 60s, are planning a similar trip but limited to Santiago, Lake District, Patagonia. We would greatly appreciate any suggestions on a good base to explore the Lake District as well as advice on what to expect at the park in Patagonia. We usually rent cars and travel until we come upon a good fishing spot or scenic hiking area, then start looking for a place to stay. But it would be nice to have a clearer idea ,perhaps , on this trip as we will be in Chile mid November until mid December.

Thanks for any advice,

Jetrix

southampton, UK
Level Contributor
43 posts
Save Reply
13. Re: Puerto Varas & Torres del Paine Itinerary Assistance

Hi Jetrix

We went to Patagonia with a small group and a guide organised with a company in the UK (Pura Aventura). We stayed at the Altiplanico Sur hotel in Puerto Natales which was great. PN is an interesting town and more to it than just the square so worth a visit. I can recommend a good restaurant too if you want. We travelled to Serrano glacier on a boat and then up to the Torres del Paine national park from there on a zodiac rib. Great fun and we worked out the cost was about £100 per person, but I think the usual route is to travel by car into the park. The first couple of nights we stayed at Hosteria Grey (on Lago Grey) and did a walk to the island via a causeway you can see from the hotel. Later on we went on the boat to the glaciers at the end. The next day we got a mini bus around to Refugio Torres Norte where we spent 2 nights before trekking to Refugio Cuernos and then back halfway and diverting to Refugio Chileno. The trekking is hard work, so if you don't fancy that, there is a nice hotel called Hosteria Torres from where you get the fabulous views of the peaks. During their summer months flights go from Santiago via Puerto Montt via Punta Arenas then Puerto Natales. We travelled with Sky airlines who were superb. In fact the whole flying experience within Chile is first class. There are other hotel options in Puerto Natales. Ours was a 5 min taxi ride out but a good 20 min walk but with superb views,

After Patagonia we flew to Puerto Montt and picked up our hire car and drove to Puerto Varas. There are a lot of hotels there but we stayed at the Solace which was fine, just a 2 minute walk downhill into the centre. We did 1,500 kms in the week we were there but that included 2 days on the island of Chiloe. We would recommend you go there as it is lovely. Drive down from Puerto Montt for an hour to the port of Pargua and drive onto a ferry. These run all the time and we drove straight on both ways. We stayed at a "palafito" hotel called Palafito 1326. Just out of the centre and a walk uphill. There aren't a lot of hotels in Castro. When we were in Puerto Varas we drove around the Llanquihue lake to Ensenada, Puerto Octay and Frutillar. We stopped at a few places en route, including driving up to the ski resort up volcano Osorno. We drove to Petrohue and took great photos of the falls but we wish we hadn't done the trip to Puelle. Once there you are stuck for several hours until the return journey, but people did have lunch in the new hotel and relaxed until time to come back. We also drove up to the Puyhue thermal baths. Not the posh hotel but further up the road.

The biggest surprise was how long it took to get anywhere. I am used to kilometers but allow plenty of time. Also there are a lot of gravel roads which you come across. We returned our hire car very dirty but they didn't seem to mind. We hired through Europcar (online) - DON'T use Alamo.

We stayed at the Eurohotel in Providencia which was fine. Subways in Santiago are great and easy and clean. We got a bus to Valparaiso for a day - again very easy. Don't bother to pay extra for trips - go to the local tourist office and pick up info from them. We went to a vineyard on the outskirts of Santiago called Causino Mucal. We got on subway then a short taxi ride from there. An hour with two tastings, 5 of us and 8,000 pesos each - again, don't book through tour company. I speak spanish so I suppose it's easy for me, but really Chile is very tourist friendly. One word of advise, keep a camera around the neck and not dangling from wrist - my husband's was whipped away in no time just in front of the Bellas Artes museum. He downloaded all photos onto a laptop every night so we didn't lose any photos.

It may be a bit cooler when you go,so wrap up warm in Patagonia - expect a lot of wind! We were there late Jan and some days got down to shorts, but be prepared. Santiago is warm all year and the lake district was in between the two, but expect rain.

Any more help please ask. We would like to go back there and do the Austral road and boat through the fiords. The peaks in the Torres del Paine are wow wow wow from whichever angle you look at them! Enjoy!

Washington
Level Contributor
10 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
14. Re: Puerto Varas & Torres del Paine Itinerary Assistance

Richardsarahp,

Thank you for writing about your trip experience. It is very helpful! Would you mind sharing your Puerto Natales restaurant recommendation? We will be staying there a few days.

Question...is there a reason you didn't drive through the lake district into Bariloche? From your trip description, it does seem like there is a lot to do in/near Puerto Varas so maybe we should scratch driving to Bariloche for overnight.

Did you stay overnight in Punto Arenas?

Thank you!

southampton, UK
Level Contributor
43 posts
Save Reply
15. Re: Puerto Varas & Torres del Paine Itinerary Assistance

The restaurant in Puerto Natales was the Afrigonia. Not the cheapest but certainly the best with all things african and good menu and good wine and good service. The other place we ate was called La Ultima Esperanza, almost opposite. Very different but full on the night we went.

We didn't drive to Bariloche as we were booked into the Solace hotel for 4 nights and we wouldn't have had time to drive there for a day. We had decided to just to Chile so no need to go over the border. I would recommend 3 days in Puerto Varas and 3 days on Chiloe.

When we flew to Puerto Natales, we literally left the plane we had flown in on from Santiago for 20 mins at Punta Arenas so that they could clear it before we boarded again for the return flight with the stop over at Puerto Natales. I don't know if there are those flights in November/December. You may have to fly to Punta Arenas and then pick up a car and drive to Puerto Natales and then onto Torres del Paine.

Hope this helps.

Washington
Level Contributor
10 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
16. Re: Puerto Varas & Torres del Paine Itinerary Assistance

Great recommendations! Thank you!!

Santiago, Chile
Level Contributor
42 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
17. Re: Puerto Varas & Torres del Paine Itinerary Assistance

Travelerfan, I haven´t been in Torres del Paine, but of Puerto Varas, Chiloe and Bariloche I know a lot. From Puerto Varas to Bariloche, it takes 5-6 hours to get there, including the time in customs. Definetely renting a car is the best way of knowing as much as possible around Puerto Varas and Chiloé. If you have 11 days in total, skip Bariloche. Puerto Varas is a small town, very nice, easy to walk in a few hours. Puerto Varas is considered the main touristic town in lake district because of the services offered like hotels, restaurants and gambling casino, and because from there is possible to drive to Petrohue and Todos Los Santos lake in 1 hour, Frutillar town is 40 min away, Osorno volcano cafeteria in 80 minutes, or driving around the shore of Llanquihue lake, visiting all the previous places mentioned in one day. Alerce Andino national park is also very interesting (alerce is an endangered tree, and in this national park is possible to see forests of them dong short treks of 2 hours or choosing the longest one of 10 hours)

In Chiloe there are so many interesting sights, like Puñihuil with a variety of wildlife like the magellanic penguins, or Dalcahue on a sunday, with the craft market with people coming from the smaller islands to sell their products. Castro, the main city of Chiloe can be the base for knowing the archipelago, driving from there to the different sights is not long. There is a boutique hotel called Palafito 1326 that is not very expensive, inaugurated a couple of years ago and is very interesting because is constructed over the original structure of a palafito (house constructed in the shore of the sea over wood trunks).

Washington
Level Contributor
10 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
18. Re: Puerto Varas & Torres del Paine Itinerary Assistance

You have provided wonderful information and suggestions. Thank you!!!

Chicago
Level Contributor
154 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
19. Re: Puerto Varas & Torres del Paine Itinerary Assistance

Hello,

Do you have any thoughts between staying in Pucon or Puerto Varas if you only have 3 days in the Lake District? I'm hesitating between both

Thanks,

Vanessa

20. Re: Puerto Varas & Torres del Paine Itinerary Assistance

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 2:19 am, December 14, 2013