Puerto Varas - The City of Roses
Puerto Varas is a town situated on the edge of Lake Llanquihue which has beautiful views across the lake to the snow capped volcanoes. I was here early morning when the lake was tranquil and beautiful, there was only a light breeze and I did manage to capture some reflections. Later, the wind came up and it was a different lake altogether.
Berhard Eunom Philippi
Puerto Varas is known as "The city of roses." As the rose is a favorite flower of mine, I was pretty happy being in a town where there were plenty of rose gardens. One rose garden had couple of statues, one was of Berhard Eunom Philippi [1811 - 1852} who was a German naturalist, explorer and colonization agent for Chile, the other was of Vicente Pérez Rosales (1807 – 1886) who amongst other things, organized the colonization by Germans and Chileans of the Llanquihue area. Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park is named after him.
Vicente Pérez Rosales
After checking out the roses and statues, I made my way across the road to the Tourist Information centre, that was closed too, but at least there were some seats where I sat and watched a fisherman trying to catch a fish.
Puerto Varas is very popular with Chileans as a holiday destination. It's known as a beach resort, although the lakeside beach is nothing like the soft sand I am used to, it looked to be pebbles and not soft at all. I was amazed to see so many people sunbaking and swimming in the cold lake.
Later, a tour guide later told me that is hot for them and they are acclimatised.
Swimming and sunbaking at Puerto Varas
The town has many upmarket hotels with waterfront views, a Casino and plenty of buildings with interesting architecture. As Puerto Varas was founded by German immigrants, lot of the buildings have traditional German architecture, built from wood with tools brought over from Europe by the settlers. It now is a dedicated heritage zone where many of the buildings are protected including the church I saw on postcards - The Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesus (Sacred Heart of Jesus Church) that was built in 1918 and sits on one of the highest points in Puerto Varas. Built from wood, it is painted white with red trimmings and looks great, although as I did get closer, it would be needing a coat of paint soon.
Sacred Heart of Jesus Church
It also was a very busy transport hub, with buses from lots of different places pulling in here for customers before heading on their way again.
Really, Puerto Varas is the best base to make for exploring, but be prepared to pay as I found it a lot more expensive than Puerto Montt.