Puerto Monte, Chile

WEDNESDAY FEB 19 DAY 24….

Stop 15

So another night of “motion in the ocean” and we arrived at Puerto Monte, Chile.

Puerto Monti is a southern Chilean city (1000 kilometers) 600 miles south of Santiago…. It is also known as the gateway to the “wild south”(the name….a topic for another day)

The city has a population of 220k, gets a lot of rain (47” to 108”) ….consistent temperature year round (51F) making it ideal climate for farming.

Puerto Montt
Welcome to Puerto Montt

So as we have been sailing south, the temperature is getting considerably colder …..particularly in combination with the winds ….it is funny ……you would think as you go south, you would get warmer but we are getting colder….

I guess being on the other side of the equator quite literally everything is upside down. Warm is North /Cold is South, their Winter is our Summer/ their Summer is our Winter etc etc…. so I have graduated from a bathing suit to a ski jacket as we head south towards Antarctica

Idyllic Countryside

Outside of Puerto Monti, two small German hamlets (Frutillar Bako and Frutillar Alto) reside on the 3’rd largest lake in Chile (Lake Llanquihue)

The water is deep blue…..fed by glaciers. The lake faces Mt Orsono, a snow capped volcano, creating a spectacular view.

Glacier covered volcano overlooking the Lake
Biggest Lake between Peru and Bolivia
Glacier fed Water

This area was settled by the Germans who came to Puerto Montt in search of a better life …. villages were established in 1853 and inhabited by the German/ Austrian immigrants….the land was heavily wooded creating rich fertile soil for farming….cattle were brought over in 1890 and a thriving business in agriculture developed (farming and milk).

Puerto Montt was effected by a major earthquake in 1960 . . … most homes were destroyed but a few still remain.

Restored clapboard Home from the 1930’s

Earthquakes have left a big impression on locals in both Peru and Chile ….every guide has brought up the affects of earthquakes in their area just as someone from New York might bring up 9/11. The subject clearly has had an impact.

Chile deals with earthquake tremors almost daily…. I didn’t feel any …I may be desensitized from the “motion from the ocean”

Chile did have the worst earthquake recorded in history in 1960…. a 9.6on the richter scale (scale 1-10) that killed 3000 people…. completely wiping out whole towns. The 1960 earthquake was actually what initiated the funding/building of the Pan American Highway form Chile to Alaska, known as Rte 1 West in the US.

The most recent earthquakes, 2010 and 2017, killed over five hundred people and generated a tsunami that destroyed many coastline cities ….movement from quakes in this region have actually sunk the teutonic plates in the earth 4m (12’)… hard to image 12’ and what the heck is a teutonic plate anyway (irregular shape slab of rock deep in the earth)

Chile/ the Andes also have volcanos ….most of which have been dormant for years. Puerto Montt has 3 volcanos. Mt Orsono the 8700’ volcano seen off the lake, is active but has been dormant since 1869….the highest volcano of the three is 18,900 feet…. bordering on Argentina

Maintaining there German Heritage
Fraulein and Frau outside a shop
Early shingle style home

Unlike most homes we saw in northern Chile (constructed of Brick and concrete). Homes here are built from lumbar from the local forests. The older homes used shingles

Early home overlooking the lake owned by a successful farmer
Functioning water mill still on the property

Today each village is about 30,000 and typically retirees, farm owners and those that were successful in Santiago have settled at the lake.

Carved wood sculptures from local
Artists are populated throughout the area
Overlooking the Water

A typical condo with a view of the water/ volcano run about $800k

Typical Condo Building

Most of Chiles population is Catholic

One of the early Church’s constructed of Shingles
Early 1900’s Catholic Church built in the center of the village
Church Interior

Older Church constructed of Clapboard over looking the lake

however many migrating Germans were Lutheran

Reconstructed Lutheran Church

The region has the largest Lutheran population in Chile… though in the 1500’s it was mandatory to be Catholic. Chile made an accommodation for the Germans.

Fresh fruits and Berries

The area is known for its agriculture.. salmon, blueberries, strawberries, lumber from all those trees and beef…..McDonald’s is required to use Chilean beef for all of their hamburgers in Chile.

These German village are famous for their apple strudel … it is served in all the local restaurants

Famous for “Apfal” Strudel eaten by Everyone

Frutillar is host to the international music festival for classical music …. held once a year for 10 days…

Home of the Classical Music Festival

a large music house (Performing Arts Center) was constructed in 2010 over the lake to host musicians from all over the world performing a series of classical concerts

The Concert hall was built over the Lake

In 2017 Frutillar became Chile’s first UNESCO creative City of Music of music

German style Gazebo with a view of the music hall
Ceiling of Gazebo depicts life in these German villages (cattle /farming /music )

Farming, Music, Church

The climate is ideal for plants as you can see by the abundance of beautiful gardens surrounding the community

Flowers are vibrant
Gardens are Everywhere
Cemetery overlooking the Lake

Even Cemeteries are maintained with flower beds through the gravesite

Lush Flowers
the daisies were the biggest I’ve seen

preserving German traditions … architecture, flower gardens, specialty foods, Music and agriculture….it feels like a small town in Germany or Austria

Village

Daily life seems typical to ours with a well developed infrastructure. Walmart (named Lider ) is in Puerto Montti is so popular, a second tier of Walmart was built , ekono …….. sells for about 20 % less, a ware house type setting like Cosco

There is also a new state of the art hospital built in the area….all benefits of a a strong economy … with unemployment at 2.5%

view of the Lake

The area is a picture perfect storybook ending… idyllic life in a country that has so many unique areas … what a contrast to Santiago the day before.

Puerto Montt is the last stop of the Pan American Highway…. tommorow is the gateway to the “wild south” Patagonia …. even though it is part of Chile it can only be reached by boat or driving through neighboring Argentina.

So back on the boat….”The Wild South “here we come

Next Port … Laguna San Rafael, Chile

9 thoughts on “Puerto Monte, Chile

  1. Puerto Monte is such a change from Santiago – seems peaceful. The gardens and flowers are gorgeous. Quite interesting the difference in architectural materials and the German influence.

    Like

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