When to go
The northern lake district has a temperate climate, with plenty of warm sun but also showers in summer, while winters can be cool and very rainy. Dec-Mar is very crowded with local holiday-makers. If you prefer a less lively atmosphere, spring and autumn (Mar-Apr, Oct-Nov) are good choices.
Getting local currency
Chilean Peso. Notes can be withdrawn from ATMs in Pucón and Villarrica using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. There are also many banks and money exchanges (casas de cambio) where you can exchange US dollars cash at a lower rate; rates for euros and sterling are harder to find and also frequently poor.
GMT -4 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, from Sep - Oct to early Mar.
There are flights from Santiago to Temuco (75mins). Drive north from Puerto Montt or Puerto Varas in 5-6 hours (322 km).
The southern lake district, centred on Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas, 322 km (5-6 hours by car); the Argentine lake district via the Lake Crossing from Bariloche in Argentina’s lake district to Puerto Varas; continue north by road.
Festival Cultural Mapuche: Villarrica, mid Feb. This celebrates the culture of the indigenous Mapuche Indians. There are many other summer events in the city, including music, rodeos and regattas.