PUETRO MONTT, 

PUERTO VARAS and FRUTILLAR


PUERTO MONTT

Puerto Montt is a port city and commune in southern Chile, 1,055 km to the south of the capital, Santiago. The commune spans an area of 1,673 km/646 sq mi and had a population of 218,858 in 2012. Founded in 1853, during the German colonization of southern Chile, Puerto Montt has gained renown and grown significantly due to the rise of Chile as the second largest salmon producer in the world
. The area has a wet oceanic climate with heavy rainfall throughout the year but a drying trend in the summer. Although temperatures are consistently below 25C /77F, frosts are very rare and occur only a couple of times per month in the winter, it is much cooler than areas further inland in terms of summer temperatures, due to cool ocean currents nearby. Despite being home to several of the region's best restaurants, most travelers use it as a point of entry only, preferring to make their way to neighbouring Puerto Varas instead.

As with most travelers, our tour only took us through Puerto Montt on to the nearby scenic towns of Puerto Varas and Frutillar. The temperature was a balmy 12C/54F.




The ship dropped anchor around 8:00 am
(our wake up call) and the tenders started ship to shore (and back) duties about an hour later. The city is a mix of new and classic european architecture, and boasts a lush tree canopy.


One of the more modern complexes, a mix of a shopping centre and apartments. The shopping mall is known as the Mall Paseo Costanera, and is probably the most modern place in Puerto Montt. It has a wide selection of clothing stores, coffee shops, travel agents and a supermarket.


In the distance you can see the Calbuco volcano, which thankfully was sleeping peacefully while we were there.
   

It seems the circus is in town. We didn't go of course, as we already had plans for the day.


Dina was still not feeling well so Izak and I ventured out alone. When the tender got to shore, we were greeted by this welcoming mural.

 
The mural consists of images of the all important fishing industry.






The port area itself is rather barren, but has a good view of the greenery of the surrounding city.


As with the majority of South American cities, Puerto Montt has a great big cross perched on the highest point. The cross is made from iron and was erected in 1987 in honour of the visit by Pope John Paul II.



Close to the dock area is the 'old town', where some ramshackle little buildings sell private tours and fishing equipment.



As we moved closer to the centre of town, the buildings looked a little less run-down and more trees, cars and pedestrians became evident.


 
One does not expect to see a sailboat sitting by the side of the road. By the look of it, I'd say it had been there for a while.


I was taking a picture of the street and caught this sign. The spanish phrase is "
Potros - Cada momento puede ser mejor". Translated it means "Colts - Every moment can be better". Somehow I don't think they were referring to young male horses. And here I thought it might be something interesting, not just an ad for Colts cigars.


Many of the older buildings were decked out in beautiful and interesting graffiti. You don't mind it when its this well done.


Shopping day at the local outdoor market..



Plaza de Armas
The square, inaugurated in 1541, forms the center of the city's original grid layout and is surrounded by many museums, a major cathedral, and other examples of 16th to 18th century architecture. The brown domed building is Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral, which is the seat of the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Puerto Montt. It was initially built as a church in 1892 but was elevated to Cathedral status in 1939.


A (sort of) busy downtown street.



Basketball anyone?.



This colourful and imaginative building is actually a children's' nursery school, or as the sign says "Jardin Infantil".



I don't know if this was an abandoned piece of farm equipment to which someone added paint and graffiti and called it art, or if it was put there as a work of art. Rather unusual either way.



More interesting graffiti, this one depicting the music and dance culture of the area.



The road between Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas provided examples of interesting architecture and infrastructure, like this bridge . . .

  
. . . and this house (looks somewhat cramped to me but to each their own).



Passing through farm country.


PUERTO VARAS

Just 23 km from Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas, also known as "La ciudad de las rosas" or “the city of roses”, is famous for its German traditions, natural environment, and popularity as a tourist destination. In 2012 the commune had population of 41,255 inhabitants, up 25% from the 2002 census. It is located close to mountains, lakes, forests and national parks, including the scenic but menacing volcanoes Osorno and Calbuco (more about those later). It's popularity as a tourist destination comes from its distinctive German inspired architecture, wide variety of hotels and inns, a casino, a beach and striking views over the lake. Visitors can take part in a range of outdoor sports including kayaking, fishing and trekking, and there is a winter ski centre on the slopes of Osorno Volcano. Trips are also possible to other towns around Llanquihue Lake including Frutillar.



As we approached Puerto Varas, Izak got this beautiful shot of the Osorno Volcano.
Osorno is known worldwide as a symbol of the local landscape, and is noted for its similar appearance to Mount Fuji.


Puerto Varas is characterized by traditional German architecture, with houses built from alerce wood using tools brought over from Europe by the 19th century colonial inhabitants.


German influence is visible in the town's prominent Sacred Heart of Jesus Church.


Built in 1918 on one of the highest points in Puerto Varas, the wooden church is one of the city’s iconic landmarks. The city was
designated a Zona Típica (heritage zone) in 1992 and has a number of protected buildings, this being one.


Of course there are newer structures as well.



As previously mentioned, Puerto Varas is known as the "city of roses", so just about every street is lined with rose bushes.



Of course when we arrived the bus just had to park in front of a casino. But Izak and I restrained ourselves and didn't go in (but we did peek in the windows).



We seem to attract stray dogs wherever we go.



After getting off the bus, we walked down to Lago Llanquihue (Lake Llanquihue), the second largest lake in Chile. The lakefront of the
city is dotted by several hotels and apartments, and you can still see the German influence in the newer structures.
The setting of the
lake and good fishing have made the lakeside towns, especially Puerto Varas, Llanquihue, and Puerto Octay, popular resorts.


There were a number of old wooden pleasure boats dotting the coastline, including the one on the right which reminded me of an old chinese junk.



Hotel Cumbras, a 5-star hotel with dramatic views of Lago Llanquihue and the Osorno and Calbuco Volcanoes. It also seems to prefer manicured lawns to the natural forestry surrounding it.


Osorno Volcano (The Good Brother)
Across the lake is the Osorno Volcano, historically one of the most active volcanoes in southern Chile, with 11 historical eruptions recorded between 1575 and 1869. Since it's last eruption was in 1869 and has since been rated as being in a "dormant" state, it is referred to as "The Good Brother" by locals
.


Calbuco Volcano
(The Bad Brother)
Not far to the east of Osorno is the Calbuco Volcano, also very active. It earned it's reputation as "The Bad Brother" from the 13 eruptions that have taken place since 1900, the most recent being a series of three eruptions occurring from April 22–30, 2015. The 2015 eruptions came without warning and sent a thick plume of ash and smoke several kilometers into the sky, causing the evacuation of approximately 4,000 people within a 20 km/11.5 mi radius.



Considering the location, what better name for a hotel?



It looks like this boat was left in dry dock a little too long -- or maybe it's art.



A mother and her son playing on the beach.



From the lake we walked through the cities small central square, or the Plaza de Armas (so named like every South American city we were in).


Of course every central square has it's statues, this one is of
Vicente Pérez Rosales, a politician, traveller, merchant, miner and Chilean diplomat that organized the colonization by Germans and Chileans of the Llanquihue area, . . .


. . . and it's fancy flag poles.



A local bakery
, which proved to be very popular with some of our fellow tourists.



FRUTILLAR

Frutillar is located on the banks of one of the bays of Lake Llanquihue, the largest lake entirely within Chile. Founded in 1956 during the German settlement of Chile, Frutillar is known as the "City of Music". It spans an area of 831 km/321 sq mi, and has approximately 15,525 inhabitants. Prior to the German settlement, the south of Chile was pretty much unoccupied, and the Spanish became concerned about the potential occupation of Southern Chile by European powers. To prevent that from happening, Chilean authorities approved plans for colonization of the southern territories in order to have residential development and to make a claim for territorial continuity. The solution was to invite German settlers to populate the area on Chile's behalf. Incentives were offered by way of paid passage and land to settle as part of a state led colonization scheme. Some 6,000 German immigrants brought skills and assets as artisans, farmers and merchants, contributing to Chile's development. German settlement had a long lasting influence on the society, economy, and geography and it's influence is still evident today.



On our way again, along the shores of Lago
Llanquihue.


Even though it wasn't what I would consider to be beach weather, there were a number of people just enjoying the walk.



Many more were occupying the Pier of Frutillar, a good look out point for admiring the volcanoes across the way.



Teatro del Lago (Theatre of the Lake)
The Teatro del Lago is a stage theatre and concert hall located in Frutillar, our final destination for the day
. It houses a 1,178 capacity concert hall; an amphitheater seating 270; and a range of other multipurpose salons and foyers, exhibition areas, rehearsal spaces, conference rooms and congress halls. It was inaugurated in 2010, and every year since, between late January and early February, has hosted its main event, the biggest Chilean classical music festival: the Semanas Musicales de Frutillar (Frutillar musical weeks).


Another newer and very unusual home, built with a little European flair.



Included in our tour was entrance to the German Museum.
The museum pays homage to the German settlers who arrived in the middle of the 19th century and eventually built a progressive town on wet land by means of consistent hard work. The descendants of the original settlers decided to leave these buildings for a museum that shows the way they lived.


The museum consists of five buildings, the first housing the administrative offices, and was built to resemble original settlement structures, wood shingle walls and all, and overlooks Lago Llanquihue. A walkway leading to each of the buildings winds it's way through aged trees and magnificent gardens.


The main walkway went from building to building, while smaller walkways meandered through the gardens.



The path to the building - both backwards . . .



. . . and forward.



A view of the gardens through the trees.



Of course, the original farms had crops, not flower gardens.



Our first stop was the Blacksmith's house, named
La Casa del Herrero. One part of the structure was where he would have worked, a dirt floor room complete with stone forge. Many of the tools found in the workshop were ones brought over by the original settlers.


And this is our personal tour guide. He picked us up along the way and stuck with us through most of the tour.



The second and largest part of the house is the living quarters.
Each of the rooms represents the daily routine of colonist families in detail, with original pieces of furniture from the period portrayed. The first room was a firewood kitchen, heated by a cast iron stove, where the family no doubt spent most of their time.


The parlor was where guests were entertained and listened to music, either by someone playing the piano or on the antique record player sitting on the table to the right. It may also have been where any necessary sewing was done, if the old sewing machine in the table is any indication.

 

Near the back door is glass case housing a model of what a farm would look like in the 19th century.




The path cut it's way down the hill through a small wooded area.



Next was a
circular agricultural shed called El Campanario (The Belfry). Sheaves of wheat would have been stock-piled there to be threshed indoors due to the great number of rainfalls hitting Frutillar and its surroundings every year.


Inside were
typical agricultural and domestic machinery from the period. -- an old "horseless carriage" . . .


. . . and thrasher, being among them.



There were also displays of
household utensils and children's toys, like this wooden horse.


We cut through the gardens on our way to the next building and I couldn't resist taking more pictures of it, it was so beautiful.



The gardens in front of the next stop on our walking tour.



Next was an old mill which used to stand on the lakeshore before being moved to the museum. This is an icon of the many watermills that existed in the area and which produced enough flour for the entire population.
 




The wheel was set in motion by water flowing through a wood canal and this in turn powered big stone grain grinders. Local farmers would bring there wheat here to be ground into flour to make bread, a basic staple of their diet.



And another trek through the gardens.





 

Lastly is Casa Patronal, a hillside country house built in 1889. Its appearance and height are evidence of the economic success of the German settlers at the time. It has large rooms, including a kitchen, a music room, a winter garden, bedrooms and bathrooms (indoors no less!). The enormous kitchen, where original utensils can be seen, appears to have played a key role in domestic life. The furniture was brought over from Europe by the pioneers themselves.
Neither Izak nor I felt like climbing the hill so we just admired it from afar.



While waiting for the bus after the tour, we decided to walk down to the lake for one last look. We noticed that all along the shore there were metal sculpture of music related images - a piano, treble clef, musical notes and a music stand. It seemed only fitting that our final picture would be of one with Osorno in the background.

 



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