During December 2014, my family and I traveled around Chile for 2 weeks. As part of our trip, we visited the Lakes Region of Patagonia in Chile. I had not booked a private tour with a guide prior to our arrival (which I certainly do not recommend given the high season!) but managed to contact Juan Sunkel after reading many positive reviews from other fellow travelers upon my arrival in Puerto Varas. Needless to say, it was an absolute pleasure having Juan as our guide – he availed himself on very short notice, spoke fluent English, had a fantastic sense of humor and felt that he was part of our family during the two days which we toured the area. Juan picked us up in a large van which comfortably fit a family of four for a two-day tour.
On the first tour we traveled from Puerto Varas to Pargua, a small pier which we crossed by ferry to the island of Chiloé. We arrived in Chacao to cross the Chacao Channel Bridge then traveled to a small fishing village called Caulin to savor some of the best and freshest oysters in the world.
We then continued on to Puñihuil; a cove with a small community on the northwestern coast of the Isla Grande de Chiloé which lies near the coast of Northern Patagonia in Chile. The Islotes de Puñihuil Natural Monument, three small islands, lie to the west and north of the cove. The monument is the only known shared breeding site for Humboldt and Magellanic penguins. It is also a breeding area for other species including the red-legged cormorant and kelp gull. The experience was absolutely spectacular and we were excited to know that we were the first Egyptians to ever visit the monument! On our back to the hotel, we visited Ancud, the second largest city of the island.
On our second tour we went to the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park. Situated 50 km from Puerto Varas, the park was founded in 1926 as Chile’s first national park. The park is lush with rainforest vegetation, rivers and lakes. After our visit, we climbed to the base camp of the volcano Osorno which was an absolutely spectacular experience as there was a very unusual snow fall midsummer! In fact, that day, we experienced three types of precipitation (rain, hail and snow) as well as sunshine! Finally, we ended the day with a trip to the Petrohué River and Waterfalls.
If you are planning to visit the Lakes Region of Chile, you MUST contact Juan for a private tour. Juan was professional, courteous, funny and very accommodating. Most importantly, as a local from the area, he knows the region like the back of his hand and will make you feel right at home!