Llanquihue Lake is the second largest lake in Chile and the third largest freshwater body in Latin America. On its banks there are several villages displaying features and traditional architecture brought to the region by German colonizers.
Originally, the Lakes’ Region and the territory around Llanquihue Lake were populated by Mapuche ethnic tribes. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the Mapuches were forced to concentrate their efforts in battling the Spanish conquistadores who wanted to extend the domains of the Spanish crown beyond the Bío-Bío River and the city of Concepción. For almost two centuries, because of setbacks in the war against the Spaniards, and increased volcanic activity ending with the eruption of the Osorno Volcano in 1834 - 1835, the Mapuches retreated further south. The shores of Lake Llanquihue were gradually abandoned, and the rainforest grew uncontrollably becoming an impenetrable jungle.
“Captain Haase”, a sailing-motor boat was built in 1999 using native woods. It is a replica of the old ships used by the German settlers between 1846 and 1954. Vessels like the “Captain Haase” were once the only means of transport in Lake Llanquihue between the towns of Puerto Varas, Puerto Octay and Frutillar. The boat can accommodate 50 passengers.
"Captain Haase" at anchor in Llanquihue Lake, near Puerto Varas. In the background is the Calbuco Volcano. In the winter time, snow covers about two-thirds of the mountain.
The Lakes’ Region, in the northern part of the Chilean Patagonia, is one of the rainiest places on the planet. However, it is blessed with great natural beauty that includes numerous rivers and lakes. Llanquihue Lake, with a surface of 860 square kilometres and a depth which is still a mystery, although it has been estimated at about 317 meters, is the largest and most important lake in the region.
The proximity to the Andes Mountain Range means that there are plenty of mountains and volcanoes surrounding the lakes. Villarrica Volcano (2847 metres), one of the most active volcanoes in Chile, is located on the banks of Lake Villarrica, and the Osorno and Calbuco Volcanoes (2653 m and 2000 m, respectively) surround Llanquihue Lake.
The pictures in this report show some of the attractions of the Lake’s Region of Chile and the stunning beauty of the great Llanquihue Lake.