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Lakes and Volcanoes, Chile
http://Dantravel.com/articles/28/1/Lakes-and-Volcanoes-Chile/Page1.html
By Dan Travel
Published on 07/17/2007
 
Chile's southern region of lakes and volcanoes is an expression of nature's inimitable aesthetic and startling exuberance. Between volcanic cataclysms, glacial sculpting, torrential rivers and massive temperate rainforests, this is very much a landscape in flux, modeling and remodeling itself before our eyes.

Lakes and Volcanoes, Chile
Pucon is poised between Lago Villarica and the smoking volcano of the same name. It offers something for every interest. Two national parks and one private reserve protect ancient forest habitat, a variety of rivers more than satisfies fishermen and whitewater boaters, skiing and mountaineering are possible on the slopes of Volcán Villarica, and the black sand beach soaks up the sun all day.

At night, you can take your pick of nearby hot springs. Puerto Montt is on the shore of Reloncaví Sound. It is the departure point for maritime cruises through the Patagonian fjords and islands, including cruises to Laguna San Rafael and Puerto Natales. As the supply point for far-flung fishing communities, Puerto Montt is also one of the best places to buy handicrafts from Chiloé or to feast on an unbelievable assortment of fresh seafood. Puerto Varas is on the southern shore of Lago Llanquihue, faced by the perfect cone of Volcán Osorno. It combines the best of the Lake Region's nature and culture.

Well preserved German architecture reflects this charming town's history of mid- to late- 19th century immigration; nearby are excellent rivers for fishing and whitewater rafting, ancient temperate rainforests , and the spectacular Lago Todos los Santos. Todos los Santos Lake One of the many lakes of Chile's Lakes and Volcanoes region, Lago Todos los Santos was formed when volcanic ash from Volcán Osorno blocked a westward flowing river, trapping the water deep in a glacial valley.

Today this spectacular lake, flanked on each side by steep cliffs, spans the continental divide and is the site of an extraordinary Andean Lake Crossing to Bariloche, Argentina. The Isla Grande of Chiloé is divided by the gentle peaks of the Coast Range. To the west is a wilderness of endless beaches, dune habitat, and temperate rainforests. To the east are the scattered islands of the Chiloé archipelago, sheltered from Pacific storms, intensely cultivated, home to a traditional culture of subsistence farmers, fishermen, and craftsmen.

Over the course of two centuries, the Jesuit order made this corner of the earth their special responsibility, erecting schools and over two hundred elegant wooden churches, nine of which are protected as national monuments. A rich mythology - populated by strange trolls, sea monsters, and eerie ghost ships - is yet another mark of Chiloé's singular history.