Puelo River in the south of Chile

Into the valleys of the Andes Cordillera

7 days/6 nights tour

This trek & drive tour is for all those who consider true luxury to be the authenticity and seclusion of a little-known natural paradise. Leading you into isolated river valleys hidden in the Andes Cordillera, it combines comfort with adventure, and adventure with profound disconnection. Follow the route of the emerald-colored Puelo River and hike on traditional gaucho farming trails into the widely unknown valley of the glacier-fed Ventisquero River, where you stay in a comfortable chalet.

This oasis of peace and tranquility is the perfect base to explore the surrounding mountain chains — or to simply relax. There is little to top this experience, except possibly the last night that you spend on exclusive Bandurrias Island, located in pristine surroundings of Las Rocas Lake.

Program

DAY 1: PUERTO MONTT AIRPORT – PUERTO VARAS

(approx. 30 min drive)

The tour starts at the airport of Puerto Montt, in Southern Chile´s beautiful Lake Region. Pick up your rental car and smartphone and drive to nearby Puerto Varas on the shores of Llanquihue Lake. Spend the rest of the day walking along the beautiful coastal promenade and relax in one of the local cafés while enjoying the view of the area’s snow-covered volcanoes.

Overnight in Puerto Varas.

DAY 2: PUERTO VARAS – LLANADA GRANDE

(approx. 4,5 h drive + 45 min ferry)

From Puerto Varas, a scenic drive takes you along Llanquihue Lake and Reloncavi Fjord today. Near the village of Puelo, you make your way to the shores of scenic Tagua-Tagua Lake where you get in line for the ferry that takes you to the other side. Follow the course of Puelo River deep into the valley that is framed by towering rock faces. Rather than people, you are most likely to encounter cows, sheep, goats or pigs along the road. Eventually you reach the small village of Llanada Grande, where you spend the night.

Overnight in Llanada Grande.

DAY 3: LLANADA GRANDE – RINCÓN BONITO

(approx. 1h drive + 5-6 h hike)

Leave your car and civilization behind and make your way deep into the valley of Ventisquero River (Glacier River). Follow the signposted trail thanks to your smartphone that counts with GPS coordinates of the route*. It takes you through a varied landscape of native forests and open meadows along the milky-white river, sometimes with great views from above. Even though not frequented by many hikers, it is still in use by the traditional gaucho farmers of the area, whose animals range freely here. When you reach the remote farm of Rincon Bonito, located right between Hornopirén and Pumalin National Parks, the caretakers show you to the recently-built chalet where you spend the next two nights in front of the incredible mountainous landscape. It is completely equipped, and the storage room filled with food, allowing you to cook in the generous kitchen. You might also serve yourself from the farm’s organic garden.

Overnight in chalet in Rincon Bonito.

*Duration: 5-6 h one-way / 15 km (9 mi) / low-medium difficulty

DAY 4: RINCÓN BONITO

This day is at leisure to explore the splendid natural surroundings of the farm. A demanding hike leads up to a viewpoint overlooking the entire river valley*, but it is also worth hiking only half of it to the first lookout**. An easier alternative is the leisurely Ventisquero Loop that leads along the river, mostly through forest***. It is also possible to arrange horseback riding or kayak. Or decide to do nothing apart from feeling the joy of being in this natural paradise. A special experience in the evening is watching the rising moon and the completely undisturbed starry sky.

Overnight in chalet in Rincon Bonito.

*Duration: 6-7 h round trip / 4 km (2.49 mi) / high difficulty (950 m or 3116 ft height difference)

**Duration: 3-4 h round trip / 2 km (1.24 mi) / medium-high difficulty (400 m or 1312 ft height difference).

***2-3 h loop / 7 km (4.35 mi) / low difficulty

DAY 5: RINCÓN BONITO – BANDURRIAS ISLAND

(6-7 h hike + 30 min drive + 15 min boat ride)

Leave Rincón Bonito today and hike back to your car. From a nearby meeting point, a pleasant 45-min-walk takes you to the shore of Las Rocas Lake. A boat awaits here to take you over to the exclusive Bandurrias Island located on the lake. There is a comfortable lodge on this pristine piece of land, surrounded by native forest and shut off from the rest of the world. After a delicious dinner, you spend the night in a quaint wooden cabin.

Overnight on Isla Bandurrias.

Recommendation: Add a third night in Rincón Bonito to fully make yourself feel at home and recharge your batteries.

DAY 6: BANDURRIAS ISLAND – PUERTO VARAS

(approx. 15 min boat ride + 45 min hike + 4.5 h drive + 45 min ferry ride)

Wake up to the sound of birds chirping and start the day with a rich homemade breakfast. Spend the morning however you like, for example taking a swim or exploring the lake with the lodge’s canoes. Leave the island around noon, when the boat takes you back to “mainland”. Drive back to Tagua-Tagua-Lake, the natural limitation to this hidden valley full of wonders. Get in line for the ferry that takes you back to Puelo, from where you continue driving back to Puerto Varas.

Overnight in Puerto Varas.

Recommendation: Add a second night on Bandurrias Island to fully take in the island’s tranquility and explore the pristine surroundings of the lake on a half-day hike to a view point.

DAY 7: PUERTO VARAS – PUERTO MONTT AIRPORT

(30 min drive)

Your tour through this little explored section of Chile’s Lake Region ends today. Drive from Puerto Varas back to the airport, where you drop off your car and continue your journey to another area of Chile or fly back home via Santiago.

Additional comments:

It is possible to rent horses to carry your luggage (and yourself if you wish) to Rincon Bonito (additional fee)

The chalet is completely equipped with bedding, towels, kitchen utensils and food. Thanks to a state-of-the-art energy system that combines solar energy and a turbine, it is self-sufficient and counts with electricity, hot water and heating.

Please note that in Rincon Bonito, you are required to cook for yourselves, but ingredients are available in the storage room (pay for what you use). There is the option to arrange barbecues and meals on-site, depending on the availability of caretakers.

There are safe places to park your car during your stay in Rincon Bonito and on Bandurrias Island

In case of food restrictions, please inform us in advance.

The tour includes

  • 4 nights accommodation in 3-4-star-accommodation with breakfast, of which 1 is in cabin
  • 2 nights accommodation in self-catering chalet (food available for purchase)
  • Dinner on Bandurrias Island
  • Return boat transfers to/from Bandurrias Island
  • Car Rental: Category F2 (SUV 4×4) for 7 days with CDW (240 USD deductible; exceptions to coverage apply), airport charge, unlimited mileage, second driver FOC
  • Smartphone with GPS-app with trek coordinates