Cities and Towns of the South
The south of Chile is an habitual destination for chilean and foreign backpackers. Millenary forests, volcanos, snowy peaks, lakes, rivers and much more await all visitors. But the south of Chile is much more than its incredible nature and landscapes. Many cities and towns stands out as excellent destinations for backpacking, traveling and knowing.Here we introduce one selection of cities and towns that are worth to visit in your next trip to the south of Chile. The selection considers destinations between the cities of Temuco and Puerto Montt (Chiloe and Carretera Austral are not considered here). To know our section of cities and towns of Chilo, click here.Share this destinations:
Mobilization and AccommodationWhether you mobilizes by particular vehicle, bus or hitch-hike (autostop), the Ruta 5 Sur will be the principal highway that you will use to travel to the zone between Temuco and Puero Montt. This is one of the principal highways of Chile and connects Santiago with the city of Puerto Montt, covering more than 1.000 km and passing by several important cities.All the mentioned cities and towns in this section are easily accessible by particular vehicle and public transport, and in the case of biggest cities, you have also the alternative to arrive by plane.Regarding to accomodation, there is a varied offer of places to sleep and camping zones in all this destinations.TemucoThe city of Temuco is many times the starting point for travelling to the south of Chile and it's the base for touring the numerous parks and reserves of the IX Region, like the park Conguillio and Huerquehue. However, it's an interesting destiny by itself.One of the outstanding places of the city is Cerro Ñielol Natural Monument, place where the city's history starts, where the mapuche people gave the land to begin the construction of Temuco. You can do many activities and enjoy overlooks, paths, restaurants, lagoons, picnic places, among others. The places that are worth knowing are the Museo Nacional Ferroviario Pablo Neruda, Museo Regional de la Araucania, Anibal Pinto Gallery Art and Plaza Anibal Pinto.Mobilization and AccommodationTemuco has a great movilization system, which consists in ten buses lines and eleven taxi-collective lines, which covers all the city and surroundings. The city has a great amount of accomodation, having a lot of hotels, hostels and residentials. To get to Temuco, you have multiple alternatives. You can reach by plane and bus from many cities of Chile. You can also arrive by train from Santiago.
VillaricaVillarica is located 81 kilometers from the city of Temuco. It's smaller than Temuco but it has an incredible natural environment. The Costanera avenue presents a beautiful view to Villarica lake and to Villarica volcano, one of the principal tourist attractions of the IX Region. Here you can do many activities in the city and surroundings: ski in the volcano, rafting or trails and trekkings. Among the main attractions, besides the lake and the volcano, there are also rides and fishing in the Tolten river, mapuche cultural sample, the Lican Ray watering place, Villarica and Huerquehue National Parks, and the Villarica National Reserve, that are close. Besides, in summer you can do a lot of sport activities (there are many water sports), and you can also enjoy music concerts, cultural samples and theater festivals. Villarica is more peaceful than its more popular neighbour, Pucon.Mobilization and AccommodationVillarrica has public transport. It has microbuses, taxi-collectives and radio taxis, which covers all the city and surroundings. Regarding to accomodation, Villarica offers a great variety of hostels, cabins and campings. To get to Villarica you have to generally reach to Temuco first (by airplane or by land) and from there you have to take buses to Villarica. The cost is about CLP 4.000 one-way.PuconPucon is at the other extreme of Villarica lake. Pucon is called the adventure turism capital city of Chile. Here you can do trails, trekkings, rafting, canopy, canyoning, kayak, horse rides, fishing, among others. In winter, you can practice ski and snowboard in Villarica volcano. As Villarica, the natural environment in this city is amazing but unlike Villarica, Pucon is much more visited, having one of the most crowded watering place in summer and a vibrant night life at the same season.Mobilization and AccommodationTo mobilize inside the town, the best way is doing by walking, because there are no buses, only taxis. Regarding to accomodation, there are many hostels and campings, but they are more expensive than Villarica. An alternative is to look for other choices in the road between Villarica and Pucon, where you can find, as usual, less expensive hostels, cabins and campings.
Commune of PanguipulliPanguipulli is a privileged area from the south of Chile with multiple attractives. This is the place where the destination of "Siete Lagos" is located, a place where you can enjoy the seven lakes inmersed in a spectacular natural environment that it has nothing to envy to other best known destinations. In this commune you can find numerous towns and little locations that are worth to know and travel, like Panguipulli, Neltume, Coñaripe and Liquiñe, among others. The last two concentrate the greatest wealth of thermal waters in Chile. In this commune you can do many activities like rafting in the Fuy river rapids, horse rides, trekkings, etc. It's a very complete destination that also offers alternatives to enjoy craft fairs and typical food from the zone.Mobilization and AccommodationThe city of Panguipulli, principal commune's urban center, is located 146 kilometers from Temuco and 106 kilometers from Valdivia. The city has a bus station, with the possibility of taking a bus directly to Panguipulli from Santiago, Temuco or Valdivia. Regarding to accomodation, there is a varied offer of hostels, hotels and camping zones.ValdiviaValdivia is considered for many people one of the most beautiful cities of Chile. It's located in the confluence of the rivers Calle-Calle, Valdivia and Cau-Cau, a geography that gives the country a unique nature. It's characterized for its cultural roots coming from the mapuche people, but also from the spanish and german people, which is reflected in the city's architecture and the forts surrounding the city. It's also considered a bohemian city because of the great amount of pubs and restaurants. In Valdivia, many artistic and cultural events are performed during the year. The "Semana Valdiviana", that is celebrated during the last week of february, is the biggest and ancient city's festival. It's a whole week of celebration, which ends with decorated boats that goes through the Valdivia river and also with fireworks.Walking through the costanera it's a must in Valdivia. This walk, that goes from one end to another, its performed at the border of the rivers Calle-Calle and Valdivia. You can observe beatufil houses, sea wolfs, boats, ships and athletes practicing rowing. Saval park is another great place to visit. It's an extensive park where you can enjoy a beautiful forest and a lagoon full of lotus flowers. Inside the park you can rent horses, barbecue grills and tables for picnic. Another place that is worth visiting in Valdivia is the "Jardin Botanico", the Fluvial Fair and the different National Monuments that reflects the culture and history of the city.Mobilization and AccommodationThe public transport in Valdivia consists of taxis, collectives and buses that covers all the city and its surroundings. Valdivia has daily flights from and to Santiago and other cities. There are also many bus lines that arrives to Valdivia and goes to other cities. Regarding to accomodation, there is a varied offer of hostels and cabins. The cheaper places to sleep are outside the city or in near towns like Niebla.
NieblaThis beautiful town is located 19 kilometers from Valdivia and it's the most important watering place of the zone. In summer you can enjoy any of its three beaches: Playa Chica, Playa Grande and Playa de los Enamorados. Besides the beaches. Niebla is known for being an excellent place to eat fish and sea food. Here is located the Niebla Fort (officialy called as Castillo de la Pura y Limpia Concepcion de Monfort Lemus), an espectacular defensive fortress dated from the XVII century, during the chilean colonial times. This fort was part of the called fortress system of Valdivia and it's actually a museum. This place is a must in the area. In Niebla you can also visit the costumbrista fair that is performed between the months of december and february, where you can enjoy all the chilean craft and gastronomy. Close to Niebla, there are other tourist attractives like Vergara Davila Park, Silvestre Stenger Park and San Pedro de Alcantara Castle. It's also worth visiting the location of Corral, located on the opposite shore of the river, where you can visit another spanish fort and other fortress in its surroundings.Mobilization and AccommodationTo mobilize inside Niebla (and to reach to Niebla from Valdivia), there are buses (Line N° 20) and taxi-collectives. Regarding to accomodation, Niebla offers a good amount of cabins and camping areas.Puerto OctayThis town, located 69 kilometers from the city of Puerto Montt, is at the north riverside of Llanquihue's lake basin. Less known and visited than neighboring towns of Frutillar and Puerto Varas, Puerto Octay has very little to envy to this locations. This is a peaceful and calm destination that stands out for its beautiful beaches, views and lush nature, besides its architecture, vestige of the first german immigrants that found this town. The historical and unmissable constructions are the Niklitsche house (actualy the municipal library), Hotel Haase, Wulf house (actualy a school), Añazco house and Werner house. Another interesting places are the chocalate factory and the cheese house. In the Centinela peninsula, located 5 km from the town, you can practice water sports, make picnic and camp.Mobilization and AccommodationTo reach Puerto Octay, you can take buses from Puerto Montt to the city of Osorno. Buses leaves, in each case, with a high frequency. The town is very small, so you can walk and know the city without any problem. Regarding to accomodation, there are few places that offers hosting service. There are only a couple alternatives of hostels and camping zones.
FrutillarThis is one of the most beautiful cities of Chile. Is located 45 kilometers from Puerto Montt and like Puerto Octay, is located on the riverside of the emblematic Llanquihue lake. It stands out for its beautiful immaculate and ordered streets, yards and gardens well cared and the german style in its wood houses. People say that here is the best confectionery of Chile, part of the german heritage of the city. Frutillar is also known as a music city because of its "Semanas Musicales de Frutillar", music concerts performed between january 27 and february 5. This event attracts tourists all over the world and it's performed in a very beautiful theatre called Teatro del Lago. The city's natural environment it's remarkable too, with beautiful beaches of black sand and crystalline waters with views to the volcanos Osorno, Calbuco, Tronador and Puntiagudo.Mobilization and AccommodationTo reach to Frutillar, you can take buses from Osorno, Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas. To mobilize inside the city an its surroundings, there are buses, taxis and collectives. Regarding to accomodation, there is a wide variety of hostels, residentials and camping zones.Puerto VarasPuerto Varas, named "The Roses City" is located 21 kilometers from Puerto Montt and at the riverside of Llanquihue lake. Puerto Varas is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in Chile and, as Puerto Octay and Frutillar, stands out by its incredible environment and amazing views. It also share the german architecture in constructions and it has also clean and ordered streets. It's a city that is worth to travel and know it. One of the emblematic places is the Sagrado Corazon de Jesus Church, founded by the german and swiss colonists. The city also also offers many outdoor activities like fly fishing, trekking, rafting, horse rides, volcano climbing, among others.As Frutillar, Puerto Varas is known for its german cuisine (kuchen, cookies, cakes, artisan marmalade, etc.) and the variety of meet that offers the south of Chile like bovine, pork, lamb, boar, among others, its excelent dried meat and its spectacular artisan beers. Puerto Varas is a bohemian city too, having a lot of restaurants and pubs, which offers typical chilean dishes, sandwiches and artesan beers from the zone. If you are in the city, you must go to visit Saltos de Petrohue and get to Todos los Santos lake.Mobilization and AccommodationThere are buses that leave from many cities in Chile to Puerto Varas, a city that riceives visitants during all year. If you are staying in Puerto Montt, there are buses that makes many trips every day from Puerto Montt to Puerto Varas and vice versa.To mobilize inside the city and surroundings, there are buses, taxis and collectives. Regarding to accomodation, the city offers a variety of hostels, residentials and campings.
Puerto MonttThe city of Puerto Montt is located 213 kilometers from Valdivia. It's considered the principal nexus between the country with Chiloe Island and the chilean Patagonia, because of its international airport and because is the starting point for doing the Carretera Austral. This is a port city that lives of salmon cultivation, commerce and tourism, receiving every year international cruise ships. Here in the city you must visit Angelmo cove, a huge fish and seafood market that offers a great variety of alternatives to eat, being the seafood dishes like salmon, machas and locos the specialty of the house. Anselmo has also many craft stands, mainly chilota style (from Chiloe).Other alternatives to visit are the Puerto Montt Cathedral, builded in larch wood, the Padres Jesuitas Church, Diego Rivera Art House and Juan Pablo II Museum, with exhibitions that resume the history of the zone. You can also enjoy the beaches like Pelluco, Pelluhuin, Puntilla Tenglo and Chinquihue. Pelluco has a varied gastronomy and night clubs, being uno of the most important bohemian places of the city.Mobilization and AccommodationPuerto Montt is a relatively large city. It has daily flights to and from Santiago besides other cities. There are also many cities where you can take buses to reach to Puerto Montt. If you are staying in Puerto Varas, there are buses that makes many trips every day from Puerto Varas to Puerto Montt and vice versa. To mobilize inside the city and surroundings, there are buses, taxis and collectives. Regarding to accomodation, there is a huge variety of hostels and residentials, in adddition to camping areas in surroundings.
Precautions and Recomendations
To find more information about precautions and recomendations to travel to this cities and towns, you can check our guide of Advices and Tips for backpacking to the South, ¡with everything you need to know about your trip!