Before heading straight for high-octane adventures in nearby national parks, stroll through Puerto Varas to appreciate its gingerbread-style architecture (a result of its German heritage) and amble its lakeside promenade with views of volcanoes Osorno and Calbuco.

Hang your hat at Hotel Awa, a designer retreat surrounded by a 50- acre estate overlooking Lake Llanquihue. Trek among 3,000-year-old cypress trees at Alerce Andino National Park, raft the Petrohué River in a canyon carved by recent volcanic eruptions, and jump in a seaplane for a bird’s-eye view of the impressive topography. For an epic culinary experience, take a boat to the llama-inhabited island of Chaullin. Here you can experience an authentic curanto en hoyo, an indigenous cooking technique where local seafood, pork, and potatoes are separated by Chilean rhubarb leaves and buried with hot stones to cook underground for hours before being served.

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