Scenic route lakes and volcanoes of Chile

The route “lakes and volcanoes” crosses areas of enormous scenic, environmental and cultural value. It is undoubtedly a tourist attraction in the Araucanía region.

The more than 2,000 km of route, mostly asphalted, connect six different tourist circuits that cover three regions and where you can visit 26 large rivers, 22 lakes, 17 active volcanoes and 12 national parks. In addition, seven winter resorts and more than half of Chile’s hot springs can be found on this route.



The beautiful and omnipresent figure of the Villarrica volcano, also known as Rukapillán, is undoubtedly the great natural landmark of this route. Next to it are the two main towns of Villarrica and Pucón, the latter being considered the “capital of adventure tourism in Chile”. On the Araucanía Lacustre route you will find endless possibilities for outdoor activities. From here you can explore crystal clear lakes and rivers, hike trails on foot or horseback amidst ancient forests, climb active volcanoes, relax in natural hot springs and come into direct contact with the roots of the Mapuche culture

The starting point of this round trip is the town of Villarrica, 80 km southeast of Temuco. The trip can also be started from Pucón.

We recommend visiting the Huerquehue National Park, the Villarrica National Park and Lake Caburga along the way.



This is the northernmost circuit of the Lakes & Volcanoes Scenic Route. Its main characteristic is the great concentration of volcanic centres and formations, with high levels of activity and very recent. This makes the Araucanía Andina a privileged place for those who want to see and learn in the field about the different volcanic processes and their impressive consequences on the landscape. But geothermal activity is not the only attraction of this area. The Araucanía Andina also stands out for its extensive forests of ancient Araucaria trees (monkey puzzle trees). In fact, they are considered the oldest forests on earth, dating back 180 million years. This natural environment, formed by imposing snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes and rivers and araucaria trees, is the spectacular backdrop for all the tours that can be done in this area. During the trip, you can see two major mountain areas: the Lonquimay volcano area and the Llaima volcano area.

Interesting facts: This place was chosen by the British channel BBC to film the documentary “Walking with dinosaurs“, as it is one of the last refuges in the world that still preserves the landscape where dinosaurs lived.

The starting point of this round trip is the town of Curacautín, 83 kilometres northeast of the city of Temuco, in the Araucanía Region.

We recommend visiting the Conguillío National Park, recognised by UNESCO as the first Geopark in Chile, thanks to the large number of sites of geological interest.



Discover the Valdivian temperate rain forest!

As its name indicates, this circuit is structured around seven lakes of extraordinary beauty: Calafquén, Panguipulli, Riñihue, Pullinque, Pellaifa, Neltume and Pirehueico. The landscape is characterised by the presence of exuberant Valdivian forests and has as its main landmark the Mocho Choshuenco volcano, where different winter activities can be carried out. With a marked Mapuche cultural identity, a historical past linked to old lumber ports and a great variety of thermal centres, this region has also been developing as a new great tourist destination in the south of Chile, thanks to natural attractions such as the HuiloHuilo Biological Reserve.

The starting point of this round trip is the town of Lican Ray, 26.5 km south of Villarrica. The trip can also be started from from Panguipulli, which is 146 km south of Temuco.

We recommend visiting the HuiloHuilo Biological Reserve, an important centre of biodiversity and endemism.



The adventure of completely surrounding Lake Ranco, Chile’s third largest lake with an area of 442 square kilometres, is certainly memorable.: here it is possible to discover some of the most exclusive lakeside resorts in the country, beautiful cattle ranches, lush forests of Valdivian forest, cliffs and viewpoints to islands, waterfalls and snow-capped mountains. All this along a completely paved road that goes through villages and corners full of history, which refer to a valuable railway heritage and to the passage of the famous poet Pablo Neruda through the area

The suggested starting point of this round trip is the town of Futrono, which is 54.8 km southeast of Los Lagos. Futrono can also be reached by inland roads from Panguipulli.

We recommend crossing Lake Ranco to Huapi Island, one of the 13 islands of this lake, and one of the few islands in Chile inhabited by a Huilliche community that offers unforgettable experiences of ethnic tourism.



The shortest and narrowest circuit of the Lakes and Volcanoes Scenic Route has the Puyehue National Park and the lake of the same name as its main attractions. The main tourist attractions in the area are concentrated around them, including thermal resorts, ski resorts, lush evergreen forests, recently active volcanoes – such as the Puyehue-Cordón del Caulle complex – and remarkable trekking trails, rated among the wildest in Chile. Like all the south of Chile, this area also presents an important volcanic activity, with very recent eruptions that have left large rivers of slag. That is why there are several thermal centres here.

The small city of Entre Lagos is the base for orientation on this circuit. It is located 48.3 km east of Osorno. From there, its two main “arms”, which border Lake Puyehue and Lake Rupanco, respectively, to the south, branch off.

The route is also one of the main points of connectivity with Bariloche, in Argentina, through the spectacular Cardenal Samore Pass. 



Quite simply, the highlight of the Lakes & Volcanoes Scenic Route. This is how you can describe this circuit that completely surrounds Lake Llanquihue, the second largest lake in Chile, after Lake General Carrera, which is in the Aysén region. A route that crosses some of the most beautiful landscapes in the south, under the shadow of the imposing volcanoes Osorno, Calbuco, Puntiagudo and Tronador. Among the major attractions are the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park, the crystal-clear Petrohué River, Lake Todos Los Santos and the country’s largest bicycle path along Lake Llanquihue. But its cities also stand out, especially Puerto Varas, with its notable German influence and one of the cities with the highest architectural identity in Chile; and Frutillar, which continues to win accolades for its energetic cultural offerings, which have just earned it the title of UNESCO Creative City of Music.

The suggested starting point of this round trip is the city of Puerto Varas, the tourist capital of southern Chile. It is located only 22 km from Puerto Montt, where the airport is located.

In addition to hiking, a must-do experience in this privileged environment is fly-fishing.