After leaving Santiago on the evening of January 5th, we sailed for a day and a half (more than 1,000 kms) south along the Chilean coast, arriving at Puerto Montt just after 8:00am on January 7th. After our usual buffet breakfast in the Oceanview Cafe, we went to pick up our tickets on Deck 4 at 9:00am for the tender that would take us to the port pier. We thought we had given ourselves plenty of time as the ticket distribution was scheduled to start at 9:30. We were shocked to find an endless line of waiting passengers that extended the entire length of the ship! It seemed like forever before the line in front of us finally started to move.
We received our tickets for tender number 19 and waited for nearly an hour before we were finally able to disembark. We had booked a tour of the area that was scheduled to depart at 10:00am. We didn’t arrive at the pier until 11:00 and still had to wait for 2 other couples to join our group of 10 before our 12-passenger van was able to leave. Our group was accompanied by a driver and a local guide who admitted to us that this was her first tour. While she was very nervous at the beginning, she persevered through her initial jitters.
Puerto Montt is the capital of the province of Llanquihue and has a population of 250,000. The main industry is salmon farming followed closely by agriculture and tourism. It is strategically located at the southern end of the Chilean Central Valley and is a gateway to the Andes mountains and Western Patagonia. The sky was overcast and the air chilly as we drove away from Puerto Montt and headed 45 minutes to the northwest. Our destination was a viewpoint beside Llanquihue Lake in order to observe the peak of Osorno Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the Chilean Andes. The volcano was discovered by Charles Darwin and last erupted in the 1869. Unfortunately, the low-lying cloud obscured Osorno’s summit so we were only able to see the base of the volcano. This part of Chile is known as the “Magic of the South” because the nearly 200 days of annual rainfall contribute to the lush vegetation and greenery that blanket the countryside.
We continued another 20 minutes west to Petrohue Waterfalls situated between Llanquihue Lake and Todos Los Santos Lake. Our driver parked the van and we walked the short distance to the falls, following a boardwalk and lava rock path. Petrohue appears more like a rapids than a traditional waterfalls. The fast moving Emerald green water flows through craggy lava rock formed by the volcanoes. The brilliant emerald colour is caused by a weed which is reflected through the water.
After spending some time walking along the falls and observing the birds and wildlife, we walked back to the parking lot where we boarded the van and drove another half hour to an observation deck overlooking Todos Los Santos Lake, also referred to as the Emerald Lake. We were served a light lunch of empanadas and wine. The area around the lake is surrounded by 3 volcanos, Cerro Tronador which is dormant, as well as Osorno and Calbuco, both of which are considered active. Calbuco has the most recent eruptions, occurring in 2015.
On our way back to Puerto Montt, we stopped at a small town called Puerto Varas. The town, with a population of around 40,000, was founded by Germans in the 1850’s as part of a colonization project and their influence is evident in the architecture and food throughout the area. It is referred to as the “City of Roses” because of the abundance of plants and flowers lining the streets, boulevards and parks.
We arrived back at the cruise terminal in Puerto Montt at 5:15pm and were tendered back to the Eclipse in time to drop our day bag in the stateroom and proceed to dinner. During dinner, the captain announced that there was a severe storm approaching and as a result we would be staying in port for the next 12 hours. This meant that we would miss our next port of call - Puerto Arenas. As disappointing as it was to miss out on a visit to Puerto Arenas, allowing the storm to pass would mean not having to endure 80 km winds and 30-foot waves. We spent the evening attending the live show in the theatre and relaxing with a glass of wine on our balcony.
Continue to Day 5, 6 & 7 - click here
Sharing Our Travel Dreams
Sharing our personal experiences onboard and on the road, along with tips and insight for creating memorable vacations.