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Lago Pirehueico

Lago Pirehueico is the eastern-most lake in the Región de Siete Lagos. Like a snake slithering through the Andean foothills, this lake was carved by glaciers. It is the most pristine of the Seven Lakes. Near-virgin lenga forest covers its shores. On the occasional stretches of beach, puma tracks are at times spotted. Unlike its sister body of waters, Lago Pirehueico has no road following its shoreline.


Only two villages find a home on Lago Pirehueico.

Puerto Fuy is the end of a 68-kilometer (36-mile) road from Panguipulli. Puerto Fuy (URL: is small, more a respite for those journeying between Chile and Argentina. The village has more hotels and restaurants than its cousin Puerto Pirehueico, 26 kilometers (16 miles) down on the southern tip of the lake. The two hamlets are connected year-round by a vehicle-passenger ferry, providing an inexpensive, alternate lake border crossing. From Puerto Pirehueico, it is eight kilometers (4.8 miles) to Paso Hua Hum, from which it’s another 66 kilometers (37 miles) to San Martín de los Andes, Argentina.


The two villages themselves offer little attractions, though sundry activities lure a few travelers to linger a couple more days. Summer pastimes include canopying and hiking in the plush evergreen rainforest where Monito del monte (Dromiciops gliroides), Southern Pudu (Pudu pudu), Kodkod (Leopardus guigna) and Wild Boar or Jabal√≠ (Sus scrofa) reside. Birdwatching is also good. Keep an eye out for Chucao Tapaculo (Scelorchilus rubecula), Slender-billed Parakeet (Enicognathus leptorhynchus) and the Chilean Torrent Duck (Merganetta armata armata). Fishing is excellent, not only in Lago Pirehueico, but also Laguna Caica√©n near Puerto Fuy. On the tranquil waters of Laguna Pirehueico, Chile‚Äôs sixth largest lake, watersport enthusiasts float in inner tubes or kayak. Puerto Fuy is within easy reach of the rushing torrents of the R√≠o Fuy to whitewater raft, of the Reserva Biol√≥gico Huilo Huilo and of the bewitching Monta√Īa M√°gica hotel.


In Puerto Fuy:

Hospedaje and Restaurant Puerto Fuy (Camino Internacional s/n, Tel.: 197-1630; room $5 per person).

Hospedaje y Restaurante San Giovanni (Tel.: 197-1562; single $10, double $12 per person, 4-person caba√Īa $50).

Hotel Marina del Fuy (Tel.: 197-2426) also has a restaurant

Café del Lago (Tel.: 197-2398)

Camping is possible on the beach; other lodging available in private houses.


In Puerto Pirehueico:

Lodging and dining options in Puerto Pirehueico’s are quite slim. Private houses rent out rooms.

Caba√Īas Puerto Pirehueico (Fono 032-291-0679 / 8-159-1320, URL: ‚Äď Completely equipped caba√Īas for six to seven person, $150-230 (low season), $170-250 (high season)


(Altitude: 2381 meters / 7762 feet, Population: 1126, Phone Code: 063)



Other places nearby Lago Pirehueico: Lago Panguipulli and Co√Īaripe.

By Lorraine Caputo

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

23 Jan 2009

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