German houses in Puerto Varas
A small village Puerto Varas was founded in 1853 when the Chilean Government decided to settle the inhabited areas of the Southern zone of the country. It was in the end of the year when 212 German settlers came to settle down at the Llanquihie lake bank.
Puerto Varas, the so called city of the roses, was named in honour to Home Minister Mr. Antonio Varas de la Barra and got the status of a village in 1897.
Nowadays, Puerto Varas is a small town located in Los Lagos Region in the Southern Chile, still inside the Northern Patagonia.
It has been a touristy town for a long time. It had travel agencies zince 1913. It is not just the view of Llanquihue lake, or volcano Osorno on the horizon, but La Poza, Pescado river, Petrohue river and volcano Calbuco as well, together with many other rivers, lakes, viewpoints and hills.
The town itself is a very attractive place to visit. Small, not overcrowded, with nice squares, colourful houses, shops with anything you could need and its main church Iglesia Sagrado Corazon de Jesus that together with volcano Osorno appears on every photo of Puerto Varas. The white church with red roof was built in 1915 – 1918. It whole shape is based on the German black forest Marienkirche.
Apart from all the mentioned above, nowadays what is famous is German houses in Puerto Varas from the beginning of the 20th century – they were declared cultural heritage. It is the architecture that distinguishes Puerto Varas from other towns in Chile.
There is a circuito around the town which when you follow, you will visit the most important houses, such as Casa Kuschel, Casona Alemana, Casa Maldonado, Casa Gotschlich, Casa Yunge, Casa Raddatz or Casa Juptner among others. The houses are very specific and similar, and most of them have stone base, wooden walls and a central viewpoint. Nowadasy the houses are still inhabited – as a residence, or a lodge; Casa Kuschel is a travel agency owned by Douglas Tompkins at the present (casa Kuschel is one of the cultural heritage houses). It is not just the houses that remind us of the German settlers, but some German restaurants, German schools and also German names of the streets.
German presence is all around the town. Apart from all the German houses in Puerto Varas there are many other houses very colourful and funny to look at. I felt there like in a fairy tale surrounded with all this beauty. I could take a photo of every single house in Puerto Varas, they were all so extraordinary.
The shame was that both days I spent in Puerto Varas were cloudy so it was impossible to see the snowcapped volcano Osorno and Calbuco which are the highlights of the town. But at least we got a chance to see a beautiful sunset. It looked as if the sky was on fire!
Then when taking photos of the sunset, I saw a weird thing. It looked like a little house on the horizon but as if hanging in the air! The one with very shiny yellow windows! I still cannot explain what I saw there!
And other thing I loved was that there were fresh blackberries around some streets to pick up and eat :)
There are many outdoor activities to do close to Puerto Varas, such as: zip-line, kayaking, horse-riding, rafting, fishing, mountain bike, rock climbing or fishing etc. Many people visiting Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt, go to explore Chiloe Island and Quinchao island like we did.
If you are looking for accommodation in Puerto Varas, there are very beautiful fully-equipped cabañas Molino Viejo close by which I can highly recommend you.