Hike Dramatic Volcanoes, Rainforests and Hot Springs through Chile's Lakes District

Chile's Lakes District offers adventurers many opportunities for exploration and excitement from volcano summits to rainforest walks past remote lakes to floats down whitewater rivers, all with the chance to end an active day with a handmade dinner with a local Mapuche family, as well as gread food, fine wine and a soak in one of the region's many natural hot springs. Our trip was made possible by a local Chilean outfitter Andres from PatagoniaSouthernLand Expeditions who went FAR above and beyond building in cultural exeriences and finding local guides for the various volcanoes that I wanted to hike.

The Lakes District of Chile is a region of lush farmland, dense ancient rainforest, pristine nature reserves, snowcapped volcanoes, rushing rivers, clear lakes and lush hot springs.  Here the Andes form a snowy backdrop over twelve large, magnificent lakes and dozens of smaller ones.  It has rapidly increased in popularity for adventure travelers due to the wide range of winter and summer activities there including skiing, climbing and hiking on its string of six stunning volcanoes  (with Villarica being the highest at 9,341 feet and one of the most active volcanoes in Latin America), kayaking and whitewater rafting, fly fishing and mountain biking.  

I worked with an outstanding local outfitter Andres Oyarzun Gonzalez (PatagoniaSouthernLand expeditions) to build a totally custom itinerary including great seafood, sightseeing in Chiloe (great empanadas!  colorful Palafitos (stilted houses)!  a boat trip to see penguins, seals and lots of seabirds), hiking up some of the lesser visited volcanoes Casablanca and Quetropillan)  to views of a half dozen other volcanoes; touring the first nature preserve in Chile with giant Aurocaria trees; soaking in hot pools at Termas Geometricas which is world famous;  and sharing a meal with three different native Mapuche families and learning about their food and culture.  I would HIGHLY recommend Andres - he builds custom group itineraries that go off the normal tourist track, and his knowledge of and love for his country are extraordinary.  He makes sure that tourism supports the native people and that his clients really see, taste and feel the culture of this region.  (He also organizes tours anywhere else in Chile from the Atacama to Torres del Paine.}

You really need private transport to get around this region - places are far apart without a lot of public transport options.   Contact Cheryl at cascadehiker12@gmail.com for the detailed itinerary and names of hotels and other contacts.  See the google photos album from this trip at this link.

  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking, Day Hiking, Global Adventures, Naturalist
  • Seasons: Year-round
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Easy, Moderate, Strenuous, Very Strenuous
  • 9,300 ft
  • Land Manager: Land Manager Varies
  • Parking Permit Required: see Land Manager
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 14
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 14
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