Venue Puerto Varas, Región de Los Lagos
The ‘Cities on Volcanoes 9’ conference will be held in the Hotel Patagónico of Puerto Varas (ca. 1,080 km south of Santiago, Chile’s capital), a cozy small city located on the Llanquihue Lake south shore and to the west of Calbuco volcano, which erupted on April 22nd, 2015. Puerto Varas is an internationally known pole for tourists, having five star hotels, a casino, cabins, bed and breakfasts, and a very active nightlife, together with an amazing natural landscape. Puerto Varas is also a paradise for those who enjoy outdoor activities such as trekking, horse riding, skiing, rafting, fishing and other water sports. The weather in late November is commonly mild, sometimes rainy, with temperatures fluctuating between 17-20°C (62-68°F) during the day and 6-8°C (43-47 °F) by night.
Chile is located along the western coast of the southern cone of South America, between the Andes mountain range and the Pacific Ocean. Its form is unique, being one of the longest countries of the world, with 4,300 km in length, but simultaneously one of the narrowest, with an average width of only 180 km. It has all the existing climate classes on the planet except the tropical one. The country limits to the north with Peru, to the east with Bolivia and Argentina, to the west with the Pacific Ocean and to the south with the international Antarctic Territory.
The official language of Chile is Spanish, and its currency is the Chilean peso. The population is composed of a mixture of people of mostly European descent and indigenous, whose traditions still are perceived in some parts of the country. The primary education rate is 94%, one of highest in Latin America, and nearly 67% of the Chileans are Roman Catholic with religious freedom being constitutionally guaranteed. Chile has a total land surface of 756,096 km2, including the Salas y Gómez and Easter Island and Juan Fernandez Archipelago.
The population census of 2012 indicated that Chile had reached nearly 17 million inhabitants and its population density was 21.9 inhabitants per square kilometer, which represents a 10% rise with respect to the 2002 census. The region that concentrates the largest population is the Metropolitan Region with almost 7 million inhabitants, which represents 40.19% of the country’s total. The life expectancy of the Chileans (highest of Latin America) has increased to 78.8 years, very near the average for OECD countries (79.3 years), and the infant mortality rate has lowered to 0.70%.
Chile has amazing attractive natural features and recreation facilities, including the Torres del Paine National Park, the Atacama Desert, and numerous Ski and Hot spring resorts. On the coast, Viña del Mar and Valparaiso are important cultural and touristic cities. In the central-south zone, the Lake Region has attractive cities of small size such as Frutillar and Puerto Varas.
The unusual north-south latitudinal extension of Chile, equivalent to cross Europe from the north end of Norway to beyond the south end of Spain, gives origin to a great variety of climates.
In the north, places where it almost never rains have been registered, as in the Atacama Desert, and others where sporadic spring rains give rise to an explosion of flower blossoms, phenomenon known as the ‘Flowery Desert’. Along all this vast northern portion of the country, the coast has a moderate climate, with cloudy mornings and sunny afternoons. As the altitude increases, the diurnal temperature raises and the nocturnal one diminishes. In the Andean plateau region, the temperature at night falls below 0°C, even in the summer. In addition, during January-February, the Southern Hemisphere summer months, occurs a phenomenon known as the ‘Bolivian Winter’, with occasional torrential rain storms.
Further south, we find a Mediterranean climate and landscape, with valleys and coasts favored by a tempered climate, with dry, warm summers and relatively rainy, cool winters. A tempered climate predominates and rain sustains the vast native forests and a flourishing farming industry.
Even further south, the climate is dominated by harsh winters, generally with snow fall, and in the Antarctic Territory, a polar climate predominates.
Easter Island and the Juan Fernandez Archipelago have a subtropical climate with pleasant temperatures, moderate humidity and relatively little variation during the year.
Chile has one of the world’s most open economies, with low import tariffs and a strong export market. For more than 12 years the Chilean economy has grown at a mean annual rate of 3.9%, nevertheless during 2015 was 2.1%, while inflation has remained relatively stable between 2-4% over the same period, locating today at a little more than 4%. Chile is a member of WTO, APEC, the only South American country admitted to the OECD, an associate of MERCOSUR, and has free trade agreements with the European Union, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, China, Vietnam, Japan and the United States of America. The main economic activities are mining, services, forest industry, fishing, agriculture, wines, manufacturing and tourism.
The gastronomy is essentially based on sea food and red meat that reaches a high quality, with dishes having Spanish, indigenous and other European influences. Chile is also one of the main producers of quality fruit, which can be enjoyed along practically all the country. Our grapes, nectarines, apples and other fruits enjoy preference on all the continents. Another outstanding product is the wine, which earns prizes and medals everywhere in the world. Stocks that have already disappeared in the old world, here continue producing varieties of extraordinary quality and moderate prices. Many grapes for wine are produced over volcanic soils.
The cultural expressions vary depending on geographic zones due to the widely different climatic conditions and indigenous influences of each part of the Chilean territory. In the north, the influence of the Andean indigenous people is combined with Hispanic traditions, where annual religious festivals are very important (La Tirana, Virgen Del Rosario de Andacollo). In the central zone, the Chilean cowboy, ‘huasos,’ dominate the cultural landscape, having its maxima expression during the country’s independence celebrations each September, with ‘La Cueca’ as the national traditional dance. In the south, the culture is dominated by influences of the Mapuche and German traditions brought by 19th century immigrants, mainly in Valdivia, Osorno and Puerto Montt areas. Finally, the cultural identity of Easter Island is unique in having a distinct Polynesian heritage due to its development largely isolated from other influences in immemorial times.
Chile is a famous country not only because of the incredible Andean volcanic diversity, but also because of its friendly and warm people, amazing landscapes, delicious food and famous wines from vineyards grown on volcanic soils. Puerto Varas is probably one of the best places to be in November combining a huge variety of outdoor activities, which will certainly make the meeting much more attractive.
How to get to Chile and Puerto Varas
Santiago de Chile’s International Airport (SCL) has daily connections with all major airports worldwide. LATAM Airlines (www.latam.com/es_cl/), the main Chilean Airline, is a member of the One World alliance (www.oneworld.com), serving all the main cities within Chile with multiple daily flights to most destinations, including the Puerto Montt International El Tepual Airport (PMC). Another airline with domestic flights is Sky Airline (www.skyairline.cl).
You must fly to Santiago first and then take a 1:45 hour flight south to El Tepual airport (Puerto Montt). On your way, you may wish to visit Santiago:
An alternative way for travelling from Santiago to Puerto Varas is the bus service, which are safe and comfortable. Several companies offer the service from Santiago (Main Bus Terminal, Av. Bernardo O'Higgins 3850; Turbus Terminal, Ruiz Tagle 220) to Puerto Varas or Puerto Montt, the latter located about 20 km south of the former. In this case, the travel time from Santiago will be 12 hours and can be done either during the day or overnight:
- http://www.turbus.cl (nonstop to Puerto Varas)
- http://www.busescruzdelsur.cl (nonstop to Puerto Varas)
- http://www.etm.cl (nonstop to Puerto Varas)
There are frequent public buses too (every 15 minutes) from Puerto Montt to Puerto Varas, taking about 30 minutes travel time.
Taxis within the city of Puerto Varas are safe and inexpensive. However, the short distance from downtown to the Venue invites a walk along the shore of the Llanquihue Lake.
Limited shuttle transport will be offered from the airport to the Venue or others hotels in Puerto Varas. The information with the schedule will be uploaded to the CoV9 Website.