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   Lake District

The Chilean 'Lake District' lies between the cities of Temuco and Puerto Montt. There are 16 major lakes, dense forests and soaring mountains, including 12 volcanoes, some of them active. The region offers fist class fishing and is popular with anglers from around the globe. In the fertile valleys and plains, wheat, cattle, and dairy products are the main focus of agriculture activity.

This area was originally colonized by the Spanish, but with the exception of the strategic city of Valdivia, was soon abandoned. The local people, the Mapuches, never surrendered or accepted Spanish domination. For nearly three centuries the area remained the territory of the Mapuche Indians until the 1850s, when the Chilean government started a colonization programme. This was lead by a small group of German immigrants who arrived initially in the Puerto Montt area. Nowadays, their influence has spread throughout the region, although the native indian community still practises age-old traditions and preserves a strong sense of identity in settlements along the coast and in the foothills of the Andes.

The region is a crossing point of the Andes mountains for travellers coming from or continuing to the Argentine Lake District, and a favoured stop-over option for those travelling to Punta Arenas and Coihaique in the Patagonian south. There is good skiing available at Antillanca and Villarrica in the winter months, June to September.

Vicente Perez Rosales National Park

The oldest national park in the country, Vicente Perez Rosales National Park includes Lade Todos los Santos, Osorno and Puntiagudo volcanoes and mount Tronador. The park has 33 species of mammals (including 2 marsupials) and 117 different bird species. Vegetation is dense, and deep forests cover the area, which has an annual rainfall of over 2,500 mm (100").

Lake Crossing

The lake crossing is one of the most scenic journeys you can experience in Chile and comprises a series of boat and road journeys. The starting point of a one or two day journey to the Argentine city of San Carlos de Bariloche, is either Puerto Montt or Puerto Varas, and the trip can be made in either direction. The highlights are the navigation of the lakes Todos los Santos, Frias and Nahuel Huapi and the grandeur of surrounding Andean mountains and volcanoes.

Villarrica National Park

This national park includes the volcanoes Villarrica (one of the most active in the country), Quetrupillan and Lanin. Its vegetation is both dense and diverse and at higher levels the Araucaria Araucana (monkey Puzzle) tree, which is of Chilean origin, is in evidence, forming deep forests sometimes mixed with other native species. The area of Lake Quilleihue is particularly beautiful, having the Lanin volcano as a backdrop, the area's highest at 3,747 m.


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