Written by Melissa Schilling ’18
This was written in response to her spring 3-week trip to Chile led by Professor John Bolus.
On April 20th, we headed out of the capital of Chile for our five-day stay in Chile’s lake district. Visiting the lake district was by far my favorite part of studying abroad in Chile. During our stay we visited the major cities of Puerto Varas, Puerto Octay, and Frutillar that surround the lake. This region of Chile was colonized by the Germans in the 1800s when they could not get any Chileans to move into the area because of the dense forests. Southern Chile was surrounded with German architecture, mountain ranges, lakes, and volcanos.
My personal favorite city we visited in the lake district was Puerto Varas. While in Puerto Varas we spent a large amount of time on Lagos Todos Los Santos and the waters of Petrohué. Our first encounter with the waters of Petrohué was on our tour of the three major cities. The guide stopped to show us the rapids on the river connected to the lake along with Volcano Calbuco and Volcano Osorno. Shortly after, we made it to the Petrohué Waterfalls. The water was unlike any I had seen before. The water of Petrohué Waterfalls was clear with a beautiful emerald green tint. Behind the waterfall I got to see Volcano Osorno which had given the waterfall support from its basaltic lava.
Later that same day we had the opportunity to take a boat ride around Lagos Todos Los Santos which took us around Isla Margarita allowing us to view the tiny island from the boat along with the Pre Andes mountain range. It wasn’t until later in the trip where I got my first view of the Andes Mountain Range. A few days later we arrived at Lagos Todos Los Santos in the early morning. We got on a boat and headed to Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park. This national park was the first national park established in Chile back in 1926. We were dropped off at the national park and hiked back to where we began our excursion that morning. Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park was beautiful. We hiked through its dense forests which challenged each of us in a different way. When we finally made it through the forests to the final clearing we sat on the small beach on Lagos Todos Los Santos and ate our lunch. At that point was when I got my first breathtaking view of the Andes Mountains.
A conversation I was forever remember was when one of my classmate asked our guide for the hike what made him move to Puerto Varas. His response was to look at the view. As we continued our hike along Lagos Todos Los Santos, I began to completely agreed with his response. Puerto Varas and the lake district as a whole gave me endless breathtaking views. Whether it was the Andes Mountains, Volcano Calbuco, Volcano Osorno, the Petrohué Waterfalls, and Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park, I was always speechless and loved it all the more because of how passionate our guides where about what they were talking about