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Best of the Chilean Lake District

Connect the magic of Chiloé Island, the adventure of the Chilean Lake District and remote hiking trails in Pumalin Park, for the most complete experience the region has to offer. Explore the Route of Parks as you follow in Darwin's footsteps, with your expert naturalist guide, as you interact with locals and experience unique wildlife. Stay in comfortable, authentic accommodation and discover some of Patagonia's best kept secrets.

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Best of the Chilean Lake District

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Trip type

Guided Activity

Trip length

8 Days




Chilean Lakes

Best of the Chilean Lake District - 8 Days - $4,100

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

Day 1: Transfer to Chiloé Island; Penguin colony, Castro - Chiloe

Day 2: Villages, markets and UNESCO churches, Castro - Chiloe

Day 3: Duhatao to Chepu hike, Puerto Varas

Day 4: Hike in Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, Puerto Varas

Day 5: Rafting or bike excursion, Puerto Varas

Day 6: Route of the Parks hike, Pumalin Park

Day 7: Pumalín Park hikes, Pumalin Park

Day 8: Flight over the fjords, return to Puerto Montt / Puerto Varas

Start from Puerto Montt and end at Puerto Montt

Landmarks visited on Best of the Chilean Lake District

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Transfer to Chiloé Island; Penguin colony, Castro - Chiloe

You'll be met at Puerto Montt Airport by your guide and transferred to Chiloé Island on a 35-minute ferry crossing. During the crossing you'll have great views of the Andean mountain range and the coastal villages in this part of the archipelago.

Once landed, you'll take a trip to the penguin colony at Puñihuil to see Humboldt and Magellanic penguins, followed by a 30-minute boat trip to a restaurant for lunch with fantastic views of the Pacific. 

After lunch you'll continue on to Castro and your accommodation for the next two nights.

Please note: The penguins are seen on land from Mid-October to Mid-March only. Outside of these dates, sightings cannot be guaranteed. If you fly direct to Castro, you'll miss the penguin colony trip, but will instead enjoy a walking tour in Castro with dinner.

Meals: Lunch

Accommodation: Palafito 1326, Castro or equivalent

Day 2: Villages, markets and UNESCO churches, Castro - Chiloe

This morning will be dedicated to exploring the villages of central Chiloé: Dalcahue, Nercón and Chonchi. You'll visit some the the UNESCO World Heritage churches and local markets, after which you'll drive south to meet your lunch host Mauricio at El Cazador.

This is a unique gastronomical/cultural experience, showcasing the best local food and wines, prepared by this renowned chef in his home.

Every ingredient has a story and this makes the meal into a unique and enlightening tale of Chiloe.

Today's experience is perfect for anyone wanting a delicious and unpretentious, yet 100% authentic, dining experience; and can of course be tailored for all dietary types, if requested in advance.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Accommodation: Palafito 1326, Castro or equivalent

Day 3: Duhatao to Chepu hike, Puerto Varas

Today you'll get off the beaten track and enjoy a medium-difficulty hike through forests and on the cliffs along the Pacific coast of Chiloé. 

The contrast between the magnificent open ocean and the closed forest is exciting to behold. The forest falls away steeply and there are some big rocky mounds that are a beautiful landscape. It's a magnificent setting, with a feeling of being at the end of the Earth

At the end of the hike you'll take a boat to the mouth of the Chepu River, past a sunken forest, to the village. Here you'll visit the house of a local family and take part in the preparation of a curanto. This archetypal Chilote meal, is ceremoniously prepared, by blending local ingredients from the land and the sea, and encompassing them in seaweed, within which they will be slowly cooked by being buried in the ground with surrounding hot embers... the flavours enjoyed during this meal, will last forever etched in the memory.

In the late afternoon you'll take a ferry to Puerto Varas, back on the mainland, where you'll spend the night.

Length of hike: 10km, 6 hours

Meals: Breakfast, lunch (curanto)

Accommodation: Hotel Cumbres or equivalent

Day 4: Hike in Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, Puerto Varas

Today you'll hike in the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park - the first national park to open in Chile in 1926. The hike takes you through scenic areas, mostly on gravel trails, and begins with some steady uphill sections to reach viewpoints with fantastic views over the surrounding lakes and volcanoes.

The hike finishes at Lake Todos Los Santos from where you'll see the Andes mountain range spread across the horizon.

On the return journey to Puerto Varas you'll stop at the Petrohué waterfalls which were created by lava flows and water erosion.

Length of hike: 12km

Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch

Accommodation: Hotel Cumbres or equivalent

Day 5: Rafting or bike excursion, Puerto Varas

Today you can choose a half-day excursion, close to Puerto Varas.

Option 1 Rafting - An exhilarating half-day adventure. You'll be taken from downtown Puerto Varas to Ensenada—where you'll be rafting on the Petrohué River, navigating through class III & IV rapids, while enjoying evergreen forest and volcano views.

Conclude the action-packed excursion with a refreshing beer and snack before heading back to town.

Option 2 Biking - Alternatively, you can opt for a 35km bike (or E-bike) excursion through the picturesque Lago Llanquihue region, exploring paved and gravel roads with a total elevation gain and descent of 200m. Marvel at distant volcano views, and delve into the area's history with your guide.

You'll also go to a family-run microbrewery, savour a beer & burger, and unwind in the serene countryside before a 7-mile return to Puerto Varas in your private vehicle.

Note: E-bikes are available upon request at no extra cost, but the entire group must use either e-bikes or regular bikes due to different suppliers. Timing and route adjustments may occur based on brewery hours.

Meals: Breakfast, snack (rafting) or light lunch (biking)

Accommodation: Hotel Cumbres or equivalent

Day 6: Route of the Parks hike, Pumalin Park

Today will begin with a 35-minute flight over the fjords to Chaitén. From here you'll head to the El Amarillo area of Pumalín Park where you'll enjoy a gentle hike along the Darwin Frog trail, named after the small and endangered amphibian of the souther forests. There's an option to take a longer hike to Ventisquero El Amarillo.

You'll have lunch at a scenic spot before driving to your cabin at Caleta Gonzalo, facing the fjord. On the way there you'll stop to explore the Alerce forest trail, an incredible trail of trees over 2000 years old.

Length of hike: 3km

Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Caleta Gonzalo cabins

Day 7: Pumalín Park hikes, Pumalin Park

After breakfast you'll explore trails in different sections of the park and also hike to the active Chaitén Volcano. The landscapes are varied and you'll be treated to stunning views of glaciers, volcanoes, fjords and rivers. It's an excellent opportunity to learn more about the temperate rainforest and its wildlife.

Length of hike to volcano: 4 hours

Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Caleta Gonzalo cabins

Day 8: Flight over the fjords, return to Puerto Montt / Puerto Varas

This morning you'll explore an area of the park near the Caleta Gonzalo Fjord before driving to Chaitén and taking a short flight back to Puerto Montt.

From here you can connect with an onward flight, or take a transfer to Puerto Varas.

Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch

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What our customers think of Best of the Chilean Lake District

Best of the Chilean Lake District trips scored 4.6/5 from 17 reviews

What was your most memorable moment? Seeing the summit of the Volcán Osorno break free of the clouds.

Travelled: March 2024

Jeanette Sanderson - UK

The advice and service of Sydney and Lewis were outstanding.

Travelled: February 2023

Matthew Clarke - Australia

Liked Puerto Varas and hotel. Many food choices. Each day offered unique exceptional activity.

Travelled: January 2023

Ira Fishman - USA

It was fun, people were lovely and got to really experience Chilean culture

Travelled: December 2022

Anisa Dudhia - UK

The trip was amazing and we saw so much.

Travelled: December 2022

Lauren Pinder - Canada


Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Prices in the 2023/24 season are:

8 people: USD $3,500 per person

6-7 people: USD $3,815 per person

4-5 people: USD $4,100 per person

2-3 people: USD $5,400 per person


Book now to secure your place for 2024/2025. 

4-5 people: from USD $4,227 per person

2-3 people: from USD $5,567 per person


Please contact us to discuss your preferred departure dates.


  • Meals: 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 2 dinners
  • Accommodation: 2 nights in hotel in Castro, 3 nights in hotel in Puerto Varas, 2 nights in cabins at Caleta Gonzalo
  • All excursions
  • All ground transport, boat trips and flights included in itinerary
  • Equipment for all excursions
  • Expert bilingual naturalist guide
  • Entrance fee to all National Parks and UNESCO sites visited


  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • Any extra/optional excursions
  • Personal equipment (see our recommended kit list)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Gratuities/tips
  • International and domestic/in-country flights
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses

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