We base ourselves in the town of Puerto Varas, also known as the City of Roses, on the shores of Lake Llanquihue. From here there are with views of the conical snow-capped Osorno volcano.
As we set off each day on a new tour, we enjoy views over the emerald waters of the Chilean Patagonia’s lake district.
Spend a day kayaking in the majestic Reloncavi Sound surrounded by awe-inspiring nature. The grade III to IV rapids of the mighty Petrohue River get your adrenalin going in a half-day white-water rafting excursion.
A bike ride along the shore of Lake Llanquihue between Puerto Varas and Frutillar gives time to contemplate, and a full day hiking on the slopes of the Osorno Volcano caps everything with its incredible views.
This itinerary is based on small group activities and the order of activities can be changed to suit your needs.
Multi-activity tour showcases the best of Chile's Lake District in Patagonia.
Hike, bike, kayak and raft among volcanoes and fjords.
Take in some of the Lake District's most beautiful views.
Fully supported and flexible tour, so you can choose your own adventure.
Our trip was fantastic. Many thanks for all your work in setting up the trip and ironing out the creases when they appeared.
As our friends did for us/you, I would not hesitate in recommending Andean Trails to anyone else planning a trip to Chile. Thank you.
A. MacArthur, Chile
Arrive Puerto Montt in the morning.
Met on arrival and transfer (30mins) to your hotel in Puerto Varas.
Puerto Varas is a town of just over 40,000 inhabitants, some 23km north east of Puerto Montt. It rests on the South Western shore of Lake Llanquihue with views across to the Osorno Volcano.
This quaint town was originally colonised by German immigrants in the mid 19th Century and its architecture and gastronomy, as well as surnames, reflects this heritage. A wide variety of restaurants, hotels as well as outdoor shops welcome the visitor. Warm hospitality, good infrastructure and a spectacular setting provide the ideal gateway to the nearby adventure activities.
In the early afternoon you are picked up at your hotel to start a private tour to Puerto Montt.
Departure from our hotel in Puerto Varas, heading towards Puerto Montt. This city represents most of the fishing business in all the area and is the regional capital of the Lake District.
The tour will include the city centre, the cathedral and the seafood and craft market of Angelmo.
The tour will continue to the top of Melipulli from where you will have a panoramic view of the harbour, the small Reloncavi Bay and Tenglo Island. Finally, we will return to our hotel in Puerto Varas.
Overnight at your hotel.
Pick up at the hotel and along with the other members of your small group drive for 40km / 27 miles along the southern Shore of Lake Llanquihue to the town of Ensenada.
Here we are briefed on the trek and then set off for a 20-minute drive to the hamlet of Petrohnue on the shores of Lake Todos Los Santos, also known as the Emerald Lake.
We begin our hike at the Osorno Volcano National Park Administration and the first part of the trail is through a low forest on the volcano foothills.
After a while the views clear and we are able to enjoy great views of Lake Llanquihue and of the perfect snow-capped Osorno. This is also where the trail gets steeper. Our rhythm dictates how far we climb before stopping for your packed lunch.
After lunch we head back down the valley to Petrohue where, weather permitting, you might wish to swim in the lake. Return to the hotel in Puerto Varas.
Tour duration: 8 hours, approximately 6 hours walking.
Pick up at the hotel for this small group shared bike ride. We cycle along old roads between the towns of Puerto Varas, Llanquihue and Frutillar. We bike along the waterside, pass and see some old houses, solitary beaches and always will have an amazing view of the Osorno, Calbuco and the Monte Tronador volcanoes.
The total trip distance is 30km / 18 miles on a mix of paved and dust roads, to get to Frutillar and with uphill and downhill parts between Llanquihue and Frutillar.
Once in Frutillar, we visit the Teatro del Lago and Colonization Museum, to get to know some of the history and culture of this town before we return to our hotel in Puerto Varas by vehicle.
We depart from our hotel in the morning for a shared, scenic 40-minute drive along the southern Shore of Lake Llanquihue to the town of Ensenada. Here we stop for a briefing and sort out our equipment. Choose between single or tandem Expedition Sea kayaks.
Drive south for a further 30 minutes arriving to the northernmost fjord of Patagonia, known as the Reloncaví Fjord at Ralún Bay.
We set off in the Kayaks paddling along the first peninsula stopping at small cove for lunch. Lunch is at a small farm and our hostess will be waiting for us with a welcome “mate” (Patagonian herbal tea).
After lunch we get back in the kayaks and paddle south skirting the beautiful landscape of the Alerce Andino National Park with volcanoes directly ahead of us. With luck we may spot sea lions, dolphins and a rich variety of birds including Pelicans and Cormorants.
We finish paddling at the village of Cochamo. The van will be waiting for us to drive us back to the hotel in Puerto Varas arriving around 19.00.
We depart from our hotel in the morning for a shared scenic 40-minute drive along the southern Shore of Lake Llanquihue to the white-water rafting base in Ensenada. We have a safety briefing and get our equipment sorted out.
We get back into the van and drive for 5-minutes to the departure location on the Petrohue River. We are in the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, the first Chilean National Park established in 1926. The Petrohue River flows from Todos los Santos Lake to the Reloncaví Fjord.
We start off in a calm section where we can practice our strokes before getting into full action hitting the the first rapid, “Ciao Seco” (goodbye to the dry).
From here we paddle 13km down the river and continuous fun filled class III and IV rapids like the tricky “Ese” (This One), “Los Pollos” (The Chicken), “Queso Suizo” (Swiss cheese) and “El Nadador” (The Swimmer) and in between many more.
There are also be opportunities to stop, climb on the rocks and jump into the clear water.
After two hours of adrenalin we reach the end of our adventure. We get dressed and head back to the base for a craft beer tasting, snacks and a chance to see some of the photos before our transfer back to the hotel.
Free day and a wide variety of choices of excursion you could take today. Options include horse riding, hiking, biking, city tour to Puerto Montt, tours to Chiloe Island, Peulla and many more.
Transfer from your hotel to Puerto Montt airport for your departure flights.
Other options could be the Andean Lake Crossing to Bariloche in Argentina, Buses to Valdivia or Pucon.
The itinerary above is designed to start with a morning arrival to Puerto Montt so that you are ready for your afternoon activity on day 1.
However, this itinerary is a combination of different shared small group activities which means that it can be tailored to suit your needs. You can change the order of excursions, add or delete and there are many options for accommodation as well as shorten or lengthen your itinerary.
Other excursion options you can enquire about are:
Prices From $1,190 / £1,009 per person
Enquire about booking
Private transfers, shared excursions minimum 2 people, all equipment necessary for the excursions, accommodation with breakfast in 3-star hotel.
Flights, services not mentioned in the itinerary, insurance, extras and tips.
Double/twin room in 3 star hotel in Puerto Varas, with ensuite bathroom. Upgrades available at extra cost.
Our bilingual, English-speaking mountain bike guides have many years’ experience hiking, rafting, kayaking and cycling in the area.
We use locally-run hotels and local support staff throughout the tour.
Almost all dietary requirements can be catered for – please enquire in advance.
Breakfast at hotels feature hot drinks, juices, cereals, eggs, jams etc.
If lunch is included a set time and place during the activity will be dedicated for lunch. If the lunch is a packed lunch this will be given to you on the day.
After the activity you will be dropped off at your hotel with the rest of the day free.
Puerto Varas is a town popular with domestic and international visitors which means that there are many options for eating and drinking, plus a casino. Chilean and international dishes will be available.
You don’t need to have a high level of fitness for the trip, but the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy it. There is no high altitude to worry about on this tour.
The activities are of moderate difficulty, and you will be instructed on how to kayak/raft etc if you have no previous experience.
Any equipment will be provided.
For most people, Patagonia evokes a vast, windblown plateau, jagged mountains and the life of the gauchos.
The steppe that occupies much of southern South America is only one aspect of a magical region, jam-packed with amazing and contrasting landscapes.
Patagonia (latitudes 40°-55°, approximately) embraces a vast portion of southern Chile and Argentina, from the Rio Colorado in the north, to Tierra del Fuego in the south.
For convenience, we have divided the region into three zones: the Lakes District of northern Patagonian, central Patagonia and southern Patagonia.
Southern Patagonia (latitudes 49° to 55°), encompassing the southern Andes of Chile and Argentina plus Tierra del Fuego, has an altogether more vertical aspect than the rest of Patagonia.
As the continent tapers towards its southern point, the Andes take on new characteristics and offer some truly impressive panoramas.
Much of southern Patagonia is characterized by virgin landscapes where man’s hand has either not been present or, because of the scale of the landscapes, goes almost unnoticed. To the west of the semi-arid Patagonian plateau, mile-high granite spires – e.g. Cerro Torre and Fitzroy in Argentina and the Torres and Cuernos del Paine in Chile – rise abruptly from the Andean foothills, while vast blue glaciers, fringed by southern beech forest, gouge out thevalleys below.
At the heart of these magnificent landscapes lies the South Patagonian Ice Field, an utterly remote icy wilderness spanning hundreds of kilometers, whose glaciers – including the Perito Moreno and Upsala – are tens of kilometres long by severalkilometers wide.
Also characteristic of the southern Patagonian Andes are its turquoise, iceberg-filled lakes. To the west lies the southern portion of the Chilean Archipelago, comprising snow-capped islands and fjords.
Across the Magellan Straits from mainland Patagonia lies Tierra del Fuego which, like the rest of Patagonia, is divided between Argentina and Chile.
The north and east of Tierra del Fuego is flat, but flanking the Beagle Channel in the south, the tail end of the Andes provide very dramatic mountain scenery.
The Lake District (latitudes 40° to 45°) or the Araucania, is a region of dramatic conical volcanoes, evergreen, high-canopy forests and, of course, lakes.
It straddles the Chile-Argentine border, and also takes in Chiloe island, in the extreme north of the Chilean Archipelago. This region stretches from Temuco in the north to Chiloe in the south.
Central Patagonia (latitudes 45 to 49) is one of South America’s best-kept secrets. The vast wilderness area can be divided in two:
This huge region, embracing the sparsely-inhabited southern Araucaria and Aisén Region, features temperate rainforests, snow-peaks (often extinct volcanoes), lakes and, to the west, the Chilean Archipelago: a labyrinth of fjords and mountain-islands. This, the Chilean portion of central Patagonia, boasts the northernmost of Patagonia’s many giant, sea-level glaciers.
The San Raphael Glacier, probably this region’s most famous landmark, is an immense hanging glacier whose seracs calve into an iceberg-filled lagoon.
Find out more about Patagonia with our blog about its wildlife.
Good kit is vital for every trip.
Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.
When planning for the varied climatic conditions encountered in Patagonia, layering is the most practical and versatile clothing system. It’s worth remembering that our clothing keeps us warm by retaining and isolating the heat we ourselves create.
To best maintain body heat, several layers of lightweight, warm and quick-drying clothing are far more efficient than one or two thick layers. Layers should have the following qualities:
First (base) layer: This layer wicks the sweat away from our skin, thus helping keep the body dry and warm. To this end, synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene should be used.
Mid layers: These isolating layers should also be synthetic (e.g. the known polar linings such as polartec or windblock, which are light and insulate twice as well as wool). Very important layers for retaining body heat.
Outer layer / shell: Finally, the vital layer which protects us from climatic adversities. A breathable, wind-proof and waterproof anorak, such as Goretex.
Give plenty of thought to kit selection, and try to keep weight down.
We also carry an extensive first aid kit & oxygen on all trips, but these are generally for emergencies only.
Below is a more detailed kit list.
Detailed kit list
Extra costs – 2018/2019
Bike Hire: £180
Electric Bike Hire: £195
Single Room Option: £625
Insurance – WW ex N America 17 Day: £100
If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to hire.
The current models available are 27.5” Giant Talons or Giant XTC’s. All models with front suspension and hard tail, 27 gears, disc breaks and Shimano transmission.
If you do decide to hire we can include a helmet and all necessary spares for the trip. Please request helmets at the time of booking.
Travelling with your own bike
The vast majority of airlines will charge you to transport your bike. This amount varies from carrier to carrier but we recommend always booking and paying for this in advance which will usually save you money compared to paying at the airport. Please contact your airline for specific details.
Most airlines will also require your bike to be properly packaged for transport. Most commonly this will be in a bike bag or box specifically designed for the job. There is a wealth of options when it comes to picking the right box or bag for your needs and we would be happy to discuss these with you.
We will cycling on both side of the Andes mountain range at all times in Chile and Argentina Lake district, passing fjords, rivers, waterfalls, volcanoes, mountain ranges and of course lakes.
There aren’t any major elevation changes, and the route is approx. 60% on sealed roads and 40% on compacted wide gravel tracks, with light traffic on most of the days. We‘re going to face some steep but short climbs and with fast descents, both on paved and gravel terrain. Great cycling with amazing scenery every day.
At strategic points (where access allows), you have the security of our support vehicle. In the vehicle there will be some space for tired bikers, allowing the chance of a well-earned break if needed. You will also be able to leave extra layers or spare kit here during the day meaning there is no need to carry any equipment other than that you would carry on a normal day ride.
We provide everything except a bike (although you may hire these from us), personal equipment and clothing. If you are taking your own bike it ideally should be an ‘All Terrain Mountain Bike’ possessing a minimum of 24 gears. Tyres should be suitable for riding on varying terrain – a light mountain bike tyre or heavy touring type. Please contact us if you are unsure whether your bike will be suitable.
During the holiday you will be travelling over some demanding terrain and it is imperative that your bike is in good mechanical order. If you are not mechanically minded your local bicycle dealer should undertake this service. We will of course be taking a full tool kit and a selection of spares.
Details of which spares (if any) you should take and instructions on how to dismantle your bike for the flight(s) will be included in the Information Pack sent with your booking confirmation.
Your allowable baggage is one main piece of luggage per person other than your bike and a small day pack. Your main luggage should preferably be either a backpack / rucksack or ‘sports bag’ so as to assist in transportation. The daypack may be useful for carrying your additional outer-layer clothing and snacks while cycling. This will also be useful as your ‘travel’ bag for items such as cameras, MP3 Players etc.
Please note, if you are flying, baggage allowances vary from airline to airline and all excess baggage charges must be met by you. Some airlines may only include cabin baggage as standard and you will need to request hold baggage separately. Check with your airline or contact us if you are in any doubt about your luggage allowance.
We ask that you fly into Puerto Montt airport (PMC) and back from Temuco airport (ZCO). There are no direct flights to Puerto Montt from the UK, so you will need to fly into Santiago airport (SCL), and then take a connecting flight to Puerto Montt. There are also no direct flights back to the UK from Temuco, so again, you’ll need to fly via Santiago.
Please check with us before booking any flights, to make sure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to ensure your flights fit with our transfers.
Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.
We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.
We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.
When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.
You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.
What is ATOL?
The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.
And ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.
Who is covered?
To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).
If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.
If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.
Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.
For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.
I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?
If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.
We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.
If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.
You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.
Chilean Patagonia is a pristine wilderness of fjords, glaciers, plains, mountains and forests.
Southern Patagonia’s main attraction is the Torres del Paine National park. The granite spires attract many visitors to what some have called the 8th Wonder of the World. The park is a trekkers paradise with two classic treks, the Paine W and the Paine Circuit.
Northern Patagonia, the Aysen region, is one of the least populated parts of the country and is blessed with spectacular countryside.
The main airport is Balmaceda near the city of Coyhaique and must see places include Lake General Carrera and the Marble Caves, The San Rafael Glacier, the Quelat Hanging Glacier as well as driving the Austral Road.
The Futaleufu River is a must for white water enthusiasts.
The region also offers great horseback opportunities as well as kayaking ones. Nature enthusiasts can admire the impressive scenery, imposing glaciers and fascinating wildlife and flora.
2023-24 price, per person, shared room basis
Based on two people
Shorter/longer stays possible
Single supplement applies
Available September to May
Enquire about booking
Can’t find what you’re
looking for? Get in Touch
+44 (0)131 378 5593
+44 (0)131 554 6025
What's a tailor made trip?
We put together a bespoke tour to fit your requirements.
Prices From $1,317 / £1,117 per person
Capacity: 16 people
Enquire about booking
What's a group trip?
Join a small group of like-minded travellers on a guided trip.
Prices From $1,373 / £1,164 per person
Prices From $4,245 / £3,600 per person
Dates: From January 2024 to January 2025
Students Study Food Insecurity & Climate Change in Peru University of Edinburgh students and teachers report back from Peru, where they learned how traditional farming techniques could help prevent climate change and reduce food insecurity. The team visited coastal Lima, the Cusco Highlands, and the cloud forest. For Andean Trails and our local team, it was a chance to showcase a side of Peru that many visitors may not see when passing through. It went so well that the University has already signed up its team to another Food Security tour in the spring of 2024. Learning About …
Sign up here to receive the latest news and info from Andean Trails