Is Puerto Varas in Chile the New Bariloche ?

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Is Puerto Varas in Chile the New Bariloche ?

Located in the Chilean Lakes District, Puerto Varas bills itself as the new Bariloche which is similar city on the Argentine side of the Andes. With similar lakeside views and stunning surrounding mountains, the town is certainly justified in making that comparison. However, while every other shop in Bariloche sells souvenirs and ill-placed apartment buildings that block lake views for most people, Puerto Varas remains a much more tranquil and less developed town. Considerably smaller than Bariloche, it has a strong community primarily made up of Chilenos and German ancestry.

 Puerto Varas in Chile This area offers many activities for active adults. During the summer, on sunny days the lake is perfect for swimming. The waters are also ideal for sailing, kayaking and fly-fishing. The roads surrounding the lake are great for walking, running and biking. The town is the gateway to nearby Parque Nacional Vicente Pérez Rosales, which offers hiking during the summer and skiing on the volcano in the winter.

Chile is one of the safest, least corrupt  and most stable countries in Latin America. You won’t feel as though you are in South America in this town. Puerto Varas is definitely the first world. What I found on a recent trip was the number of young entrepreneurs in the city working on projects. Best of all there is freeway connecting it to a local airport at Puerto Montt and the northern city of Osorno which is a hub for the agriculturally rich surrounding regions.

Gorgeous lake views, the Osorno volcano in the background and proximity to many outdoor activities make Puerto Varas a very special place to visit. The community of foreigners and high numbers of tourists mean that it is easy to find everything you need in town. While developments are growing, the town seems to be limiting the size of apartment buildings to maintain the small town feel of this spot.

While most residents speak English, there is not a high population of foreigners living in this town, so it is not for those looking for “home away from home.” The town is growing, so those in search of a completely unspoiled spot should look to other towns in the Lakes District or in Patagonia proper. Don’t expect perfect weather every day here as the rainfall is around 1,300 mm per year.

Contact the Gateway to South America team to learn about the best investment opportunities in the region. The company is a benchmark for foreign investors wishing to invest in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, providing expert advice on property acquisition and investment tours.

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Comments from our readers

  • “Most residents speak English?” This is not true anywhere in Chile, let alone Puerto Varas. Those who can’t manage any Spanish should be able to find English-speakers but, outside the city’s immediate commercial center, it won’t necessarily be easy.

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