Established in the 1850s by German settlers, Puerto Montt is beautifully situated on the Seno de Reloncaví (Strait of Reloncaví) – where your MSC cruise ship awaits you –, with snowcapped mountains clearly visible beyond the sound on a good day and the Osorno vulcan behind.
Puerto Montt is a large, busy city with traffic-choked streets.
The town stretches along the bay, with Avenida Diego Portales running east along the seafront towards the Plaza de Armas – the centre, surrounded by banks, cheap bars and restaurants. West of the main bus terminal, Avenida Costanera takes you to the busy passenger port with a feria artesanal (craft market) and the Angelmó fishing district.
While enjoying your MSC World Cruise, you can take day trips from Puerto Montt to Puerto Varas. Dominating the southwestern corner of the lake, it has become a popular resort town and backpacker haunt, with unparalleled sunset views of the two nearby volcanoes, Osorno and Calbuco.
Rivalling Pucón in terms of nearby outdoor attractions, Puerto Varas does not feel too crowded despite its popularity, and makes an excellent base for volcano-climbing, white-water rafting, kayaking and cycling. Though the town is spread out over 3km of lakefront, most services, hostels and restaurants are located within a couple of blocks of the little Plaza de Armas.
The town’s German colonial architecture gives it a European feel, and notable early twentieth century buildings like the Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús (1915-18) and private residences include Casa Kuschel, on Klenner 299 (1910), Casona Alemana (1914) at Nuestra Señora del Carmen 788 and Casa Angulo (1910) at Miraflores 96.