A nice guy from the Europcar office in Temuco dropped a Nissan Xtrail off at my hotel in Villarrica this morning, and I made my way to the famous Panamericana (Pan American) Highway and headed south towards Puerto Varas. The drive passed mostly through farmland, with volcanoes looming in the distance. I arrived in Puerto Varas, another lakeside town, and found my hotel, which has fabulous views of two volcanoes across the lake.
Google Maps said the drive would take nearly six hours, but it was closer to three and a half. That left me plenty of daylight — the sun doesn’t set here until 9:30PM this time of year — to wander around Puerto Varas. The beach in the center of town was packed, with lots of folks in the water despite the sign declaring that the beach was not safe for swimming. The lake water is very clear.
I’m looking forward to exploring the surrounding area over the next few days with my friend Beth. There are piles of awesome activities to choose from here: rafting, canyoning, mountain biking, trekking. It is going to be hard to choose how to spend our days!