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On the western shore of Lago Llanquihue is one of the Lake District's most popular destinations, Frutillar. For some travelers, the draw is to sail or fish in this lake dramatically backdropped by Puntiagudo, Tronador, Osorno and Calbuco Volcanoes. For others it is the annual summer music festival, Semanas Musicales de Frutillar, which brings over 400 performers from around the world. Nature lovers explore the Bosque del Recuerdo, Reserva Experimental Edmundo Winkler and the many gardens. Flora marvels include the world's most southern groves of palma chilena (Chilean wine palm, Jubaea chilensis), multitudes of begonia and the copses of lleuque (plum-fruited yew, Prumnopitys andina) south of the promenade. The biggest attraction for most visitors, though, is the Bavarian architecture that early German settlers left as a legacy. The village church is one of the region's best examples of northern European-style churches. The outstanding architecture even extends to the village cemetery, which has the best views of the lake.


Frutillar was just one of the many German settlement that sprung up on the shores of Lago Llanquihue with the push for the colonization of the Lakes District in the mid-19th century. Founded in 1856, this would become one of the most important ports between Puerto Montt and Osorno. The immigrants built their houses at the base of the hills inland, reserving the marshy shore for crops. Agricultural industries, especially of cheese, sausage and beer, also were a cornerstone of the town's economy. When the railroad arrived in 1907, the Alto Frutillar sector of the city was established around the train station. This continues to be the more commercial neighborhood. Local industries, like Cafra (Cooperative Agrícola y Lechera de Frutillar Alto), which makes cheeses, and Lindemann, which produces smoked meats and sausages, still produce here. The main services of the town are in Alto Frutillar, including the bus depot and health post. With the birth of the Semanas Musicales music fest in 1968, Frutillar has become a chic place to spend summer vacations.


Frutillar's privileged locale on the shores of Lago Llanquihue provides many opportunities to practice a wide range of aquatic sports. From the Yacht Club (Club de Yates) boats sail across this placid lake. Anglers cast their lines for the plentiful trout and salmon swimming in the azure waters. Sun worshipers bathe on the fine sand beaches.


On the road to Tegualda is the Casa de la Oma. This German colonial mansion, built in 1907, is now home to the Museo de los Colonos. On the garden grounds, a typical German settlement composed of five buildings of traditional architecture has been recreated. The Llavería contains the administrative offices of the site. Further on is an old flour mill, which originally had been on the shore. Within, the original grindstones and mechanisms are on display. La Casa del Herrero was the village smithy and tools which were used by the new immigrants are exhibited. A circular edifice, El Campanario, was a coop and grain storehouse. It displays horse carriages, butter churns and other agricultural and domestic machinery. La Casa Patronal or Casona del Campo, built in 1889, shows the rich lifestyle some colonists lived, with furnished music conservatory, parlors and other rooms. (Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., 3 - 6 p.m., extended hours in summer, closed December 25 and January 1. Camino a Tegualda, Km 14, Tel.: 42-1142. Entry: adults $2, children $1).


Frutillar has two nature areas, covering 33 hectares; both are run by the Universidad de Chile. The Bosque del Recuerdo (Forest of Memories) seeks to preserve native trees and shrubs of the region. The adjacent Reserva Experimental Edmundo Winkler is a botanical garden with panels explaining the characteristics and uses of the plants. An 800-meter (half-mile) trail runs through the forest (January-March: daily 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.; March - December Monday - Saturday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. End of Calle Caupolicán. Entry: adults $3, children $1.40).


The cultural focal point for Frutillar is the majestic and modern Teatro del Lago, home of the annual Semanas Musicales de Frutillar. For 10 days, from the end of January to the beginning of February, the valleys and volcanoes ring with the music of choral groups, symphony orchestras, opera troupes and jazz ensembles from around the world. It is striving to become a main center for musical and dance arts, with an Escuela de Música, library, sculpture garden, and artist retreat and campus. But it also has an art gallery, sculpture garden and cine club. The theater hosts concerts and other events throughout the year. The schedule is posted on its website (Avenida Philippi 1000, Tel.: 42-2900, URL:




Información Turística (Costanera Philippi, across from the pier, Tel.: 42-1080), Secretaría Municipal de Turismo (Avenida Philippi 753, Tel.: 42-1685), Corporación Cultural Semanas Musicales (Avenida Philippi 777, Tel.: 42-1290), Banco Estado (Philippi 403; ATM: MasterCard, Cirrus; exchanges US dollars, Euros), Correo (C. Richter 201, local 5, Frutillar Alto), Hospital (Philippi 753, Tel.: 42-1261). The town also has Internet, call centres and carabineros post. A useful website is



Turismo Tirol (Avenida Philippi 615, Tel.: 42-1900)

Frutitur (Portales 150, Tel.: 42-1390)

Lagune Club (Camino Los Bajos, Km 3 Tel.: 33-0033, E-mail:, URL:



Bauernhaus (Avenida Philippi 663, Tel.: 42-0003)

Artesanías Trayén (V. Pérez Rosales 500, Tel.: 42-1610)

Artesanías Frutillar (Avenida Philippi 539, Tel.: 42-1539)



Cheaper lodging can be found in Alto Frutillar, near the bus station. The high season is from December through February. Especially during the Semanas Musicales music festival, lodging is difficult to find.

Check out camping at Los Ciruelillos (Camino a Punta Larga, Km 1, Tel.: 42-0163)—$20 per site (up to 6 persons)

Hospedaje Noelia (Avenida Philippi 615, Tel.: 42-1310)—$18 - 22 per person

Hotel Ayacara (Avenida Philippi 1215)—low season $106, high season $150 - 188



Restaurant Se Cocina (Camino a Totoral, Km 2, Fundo Santa Clara, Tel.: 09-9757-7152, E-mail:, URL:

El Ciervo (San Martín 64, Tel.: 42-0185)

Bauernhaus (Avenida Philippi 663, Tel.: 42-0003)



(Altitude: 554 meters / 1800 feet, Population: 2606, Phone Code: 065)



Other places nearby Frutillar : Temuco, Lago Puyehue, Lago Panguipulli, Valdivia, Lago Pirehueico, Cochamó, Parque Nacional Vicente Pérez Rosales, Reserva Nacional Alto Bío Bío, Melipeuco and Puerto Octay.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

07 Jul 2009

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