In the early morning, the Star Princess made her approach to Puerto Montt. At 6:35 am, the ship anchored in the bay area. Shortly after, tendered services began and kept running throughout the day, ferrying passengers and crew ashore.
As Kenny and I entered the tender, we could tell that we were now further north as the temperature was much warmer. We were in awe of the multitude of snow-capped volcanoes and the alpine valleys surrounded by rolling hills. The Osorno Volcano is often called the “Fujiyama of South America”. This iconic snow-capped landmark rises over 8,700 feet and is an active, but currently dormant volcano.
The climate in Puerto Montt provides highs in the 70s in summer and in the high 30s during winter. Precipitation is frequent, with an average of 219 rainy days each year. That morning at breakfast, one of the crew members commented that they would probably go ashore as it wasn’t raining. He said each time they were in this port, it was raining. The daylight length has decreased here and not as long as the 17 hours we experience in Cape Horn.
Puerto Montt’s population is approximately 250,000. It is currently one of Chile’s most rapidly expanding cities due to its booming salmon industry. It is one of Chile’s top five exports.
This town was once layered in dense forest and was named Melipulli. Following the clearing of the region, the city was established in 1853 and was named in honor of Manuel Montt, Chile’s president from 1851 to 1861.
We started our tour with a visit to Monumento Natural Lahuen Nadi. It is home to some of the oldest trees in the world. Its’ forest is one of the few places in the Chilean Central Valley, where mature Alerce stands are preserved, some of them reaching ages of 1,800 years. Throughout the tour, we heard the calls of birds like Chucao, Huet-Huet, Diucon, Traile and others.
In 1848, Chile encouraged German immigrantion due to a war in Germany. During WWII, many German Jews fled to Chile. Kenny and I visited a charming German Settlers Museum located in Frutillar. The structure resembled a small Swiss Chalet. Everything was so clean and orderly. It was an unbelievable sight of blacksmith tools, phonographs, stoves, carriages, clothing, photographs, etc. that have been preserved here. We were able to walk through 150 years of history.
Our next stop was Puerto Varas, the “City of Roses”, for its many rose-lined streets. This village was built by German immigrants over 150 years ago and proudly boasts its’ Bavarian charms. It rests on the shores of Llanquihue Lake (second largest lake in Chile). Due to dense clouds, we were unable to see the snow-capped Osorno Volcano. The town was filled with buses and tourists. I felt as if we were walking through the square in Jackson Hole, Wyoming during the summer.
After leaving the “City of Roses”, we returned to the pier for the tender ride to the ship. Then it was time to set sail for San Antonio Port and then drive to Santiago.