Above: Boat ride to Puerto Blest

Sightseeing: Cruising Lake Nahuel Huapi

Of course, the most luxurious way to explore this mountain lake is to arrange for a private motor launch and guide. But those unwilling to spend $1,500 to $2,000 for such an experience can board one of the regularly scheduled boat tours departing from Puerto Pañuelo, a short downhill walk from Llao Llao. (The resort also provides complimentary transfers.) We opted to take Turisur’s full-day trip to Puerto Blest at the west end of the lake, which included a short cruise around green-hued Lake Frías, as well as a stop at the Cascada de los Cántaros to hike among the waterfalls. The ship was not plush, but it was sufficiently comfortable, and the scenery throughout was magnificent. For the first half hour, it seemed as if someone had broken up several rainbows and scattered the fragments along the shore. We especially loved the waterfall hike, up well-maintained wooden stairs, through lush, primeval Valdivian rain forest and along a river tumbling spectacularly down the hillside. Bring rain ponchos, as the weather can change rapidly.

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