Frutillar (population 9,118) is 63 kilometers south of Osorno and 50 kilometers north of Puerto Montt via the Panamericana. It comprises two separate sectors: Frutillar Alto’s busy commercial zone adjoins the Panamericana, while Avenida Carlos Richter leads to tranquil Frutillar Bajo, pinched between the sandy lakeshore and a steeply rising hill, about two kilometers east.
The region’s most self-consciously immaculate example of German colonization, the western Llanquihue village of Frutillar can seem a caricature of Teutonic orderliness—where a sign on the beach says “Deporte, Picnic y Camping Prohibido” (Sports, Picnicking, and Camping Prohibited), it nearly feels as if it should say “Sport, Picknick und Camping Verboten.” The lakefront is so tidy that, when a thoughtless smoker flips a cigarette butt, some burgher might well be there to catch it before it hits the ground.
Still, with its almost perfectly preserved European-style houses, Frutillar exudes both style and charm; for a Dorf its size, it also has impressive cultural resources, including a fine museum and one of Chile’s most important music festivals. Mirrored in the waters beyond the sandy beaches, Volcán Osorno soars symmetrically to the east.
Bus services arrive and leave from Frutillar Alto; taxi colectivos shuttle back and forth to Frutillar Bajo. The major long-distance carriers are Tur-Bus (Diego Portales 150, tel. 065/421390) and Cruz del Sur (Alessandri 52, tel. 065/421552); both run north (Santiago and intermediates) and south (to Puerto Montt) along the Panamericana. Thaebus, at the Alessandri terminal, runs half a dozen buses daily to Puerto Octay.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition