This morning you fly south to the port town of Puerto Montt then transfer to Puerto Varas to begin your Chile travels. This charming city is located on Lake Llanquihue and offers plenty of opportunities to take in Chile's mountainous, snow-capped sites. The afternoon is yours to explore the region and the city's historic buildings, which offer an interesting look into the lives of the early German settlers who made this area their home during the 19th century. At night, you will rest soundly in this peaceful city before traveling to the Island of Chiloe in the morning.
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Early this morning you are greeted by your guide and transferred by ferry to the island of Chiloe, renowned for its folklore, traditional farming and fishing culture, rich wildlife, and charming residents.
Over the next few days, we’ll explore the area—Ancud, with its traditional crafts; the island penguin colony of Punihuil; small islands inhabited by hardy fisher-families, who will show us the famous Chiloe hospitality; and the protected bay of Mechuque Island, with its traditional palafitos (wooden houses built on stilts with boat parking underneath) resting just above the water.
As you cross the Gulf of Ancud towards the glacier-covered Andes to the east, you leave all sign of the charming villages and culture you've encountered these past few days. Your destination is the magnificent 600,000-acre Pumalin Park on the Chilean mainland. A variety of marine life often accompanies your crossing, so watch for leaping dolphins and curious sea lions along the way! Reaching the mainland, the mist-shrouded walls of Quintupeu Fjord rise sharply from the sea, looming 4,500 feet above as you drop anchor. This is a perfect spot for exploring upriver with the zodiac or taking some time onshore to enjoy the sweeping coastal views and quiet majesty of Patagonia.
The next day you will continue exploring this remote corner of Pumalin Park. Undisturbed tracts of temperate rainforest stretch for miles around you, clear rivers of glacial runoff rush toward the sea, and the prolific birdlife shares its song throughout the park. Your exploration this evening reveals one of the area's hidden treasures - a thermally heated river running through the forest, with numerous pools for you to soak in.
You end your voyage in the town of Hornopirén at the foot of the volcano of the same name. After a farewell lunch with your crew you'll finish your Patagonia cruise and continue overland to Puerto Varas for the night.
Catch your flight to Santiago and connecting flights homeward, or with a bit more time you can continue your Patagonia travels by rafting or mountain biking in the Lakes District, helping a Mapuche family with the annual Araucaria seed harvest, exploring the Atacama Desert, hiking in Torres del Paine National Park or cruising around Tierra del Fuego to Argentina.