Day 1 : Puerto Montt to Peulla, Chile
The lake crossing between the lake districts of Chile and Argentina is an all-season trip that thousands of visitors enjoy every year while flocking to Lagos Argentina. It involves both road and lake crossings, with scenic vistas of Andean mountain peaks, waterfalls and wildlife.
The complete trip takes two days, with an overnight stay along the way. Tours include all the transport, the accommodations and most of the meals. The schedule may be affected by adverse weather, so it's best to leave your timing flexible. There is an optional one day crossing available from the tour companies mentioned in the resource pages for Puerto Montt or Bariloche.
The trip from Chile into Argentina begins with an 8:00am departure by bus from Puerto Montt to Puerto Varas, called the city of flowers. Orient yourself with a map. The trip takes less than an hour.
Puerto Varas shows its German heritage in architecture, gardens and customs, and is worth a visit on its own, but you won't have time to enjoy the city and its attractions before you begin the next phase of the trip.
To follow the route from Argentina to Chile, make this trip in reverse. Start with Step 10 and click backwards.
On the Road From Puerto Varas to Petrohué
You'll skirt Lago Llanquihue and view Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. For the next hour and a half, as you enter Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park, you'll stop at the Saltos de Petrohué, waterfalls amidst volcanic rock formations.
You'll have some free time in Petrohué to stretch your legs.
Crossing Lago Todos los Santos
This is the first lake crossing, and you'll see more of the Andean peaks: Osorno again and Mount Puntiagudo and Mount Tronador in Argentina as you sail in a catamaran across Lago Todos los Santos.
After a two hour boat ride, you'll arrive in Peulla, where you have the afternoon free, and if you are interested, you can make an excursion to El Encanto Lagoon, ride a horse to Cascada Los Helechos, or relax and enjoy the scenery.
Overnight in Peulla
You'll spend the night at Hotel Peulla, a Swiss-style chalet hotel with regional and international cuisine.
Dinner and breakfast here are included in the cost of the trip.
Day 2: Peulla to San Carlos de Bariloche
In the morning, you'll board a bus for the next stage of your trip. You'll go through Chilean Customs in order to enter Argentina. You'll need to have your passports, visas if required, and all documents in order in order to enter Argentina.
The pass over the Andes is only 976 m (3,201 ft) above sea level. On the Argentine side, you'll descend to Puerto Frías.
Lago Frías Towards Puerto Alegre
You'll sail across Lago Frías, the third lake in the crossing, to Puerto Alegre. From here you'll have excellent views of Cerro Tronador.
Overland to Puerto Blest
From Puerto Alegre, a bus takes you to Puerto Blest where you'll arrive in time for lunch on your own. You can take the short excursion to Cascada de Cantaros, or enjoy some free time before the final stage of the lake crossing.
"The only way to get to Puerto Blest is navigating the Nahuel Húapí Lake from Bariloche, on the Catamarans that go twice a day. There is no road to get there. Once you are there, you will only find a small hotel (14 rooms, in the middle of the forest and at the side of the lake), the National Park Ranger´s house, the Coast Guard Offices and the camping.
You will not find internet, nor even a public phone. In Summer the sunrise is at 5 am and the first catamaran arrives at 9 am with bunches of tourists on their way to Chile (100 to 300 passengers per trip), to continue navigating the lakes through Peulla and up to Puerto Montt in Chile: "
Puerto Blest to Bariloche, via Puerto Pañuelo
The final lake crossing takes you across Lago Nahuel Huapi, the jewel of Argentina's Nahuel Huapi National Park, to Puerto Pañuelo.
Another, and last, bus ride takes you next to San Carlos de Bariloche. You'll arrive in early evening, with time for dinner and an exploration of Bariloche's night life.
While you're in the area, take the Lago Nahuel Huapi Tour.
Consult the itineraries, schedules and rates for either the Chile-Argentina, or Lagos Argentina- Chile crossing from Puerto Montt or Bariloche with online reservation information.
Updated by Ayngelina Brogan