Watch Out For That Tree!

Puerto Varas 462 We had a wonderful time in the Lake District of Chile, which is emerging as my favorite country on the trip to date.  The Lake District is mid-way down the country, in an area featuring the stunning Mt. Osorno volcano.  This volcano really is as spectacular as the photographs suggest, and we were lucky to get some clear views while in the Puerto Varas area.

Puerto Varas 018 A highlight for us was something with no educational and cultural merit.  We spent a morning on what the Chileans call a “canopy,” and which we’d call a zipline in the U.S.  None of us had ever done a canopy before, but we had a blast.  I have to admit to having some questions about the engineering skills of the designer as they hitched me to a 600 foot long cable stretching across a very wide, and very deep (about 200 feet from line to bottom) canyon.  Well, all of us survived, none of us slammed too hard into the trees at the end of each line (thoughtfully padded), and we enjoyed the heck out of it.

Puerto Varas 150 We stayed at one of the nicest places on our trip, El Quincho Lodge, in Puerto Varas.  The people there was just unbelievably nice, and helped us with our stay.  The lodge had a spacious backyard, rooms with views of the volcano, and some of the most spectacular sunsets we’ve seen all trip.  We also went exploring near the Osorno Volcano, as well as visiting a local farm.  And we spent a day exploring nearby Chiloe, the second largest island in South America (find out below what is the largest!).

Puerto Varas 352 Chiloe sits right in the Pacific Ocean, and seems far more European than South American, having been settled originally largely by Germans.  We had to cross a fun ferry to get there (including having the sea lion on the right swim up to us), but had some great spots we visited while on the island.  It was terrific for some very scenic beaches, and gave us some great birding spots. 

Puerto Varas 423 While on Chiloe, we drove to explore a local penguin colony.  Although we’re about a week away from setting off to Antarctica, where we’ll see tons of penguins, we thought it would be fun to see some warm weather penguins.  These mid-sized penguins nest on a small island about 100 meters off the Chiloe shore, and are interesting since the dig holes in the dirt with their wings and nest high up on a hill.  Their nests look like a penguin version of a high-rise apartment complex (see left).  The Magellenic and Humbolt’s Penguin were both there, and it was a fun spot to see on many fronts. 

Puerto Varas 371In all, we had a blast in Chiloe and the Lake District, and it was one of many highlights from our stay in the great country of Chile. For more on the Lake District, feel free to check out our photos.

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