|Subject: Re: Driving in Chile Lake District|
The Ruta 5, Pan-American Highway, which you'll drive on from Puerto Montt to Puerto Varas and on to Villarica is a four-lane divided highway. Basically a freeway. I can't recall if there were tolls or not. But I do recall that it was easy and fast driving with excellent road conditions. I'd imagine the road to Villarica will be two-lane highway. That's what we encountered on the road to Puyehue. But the roads were fine and we got pretty far off the main highway. Traffic was very light just watch out for slow moving vehicles in the right lane.
We spent three days driving from Puerto Montt to Temuco. Stopping in Puerto Varas the first evening (about 30 min. to 45 min drive from Puerto Montt), then taking back roads through Frutillar and Puerto Octay to Puyehue for the second night, then a bit north on the Pan-American Highway and heading out to the Valdivia near the coast where we spent another night. Didn't leave Valdivia until the early afternoon the following day picking up the Pan-American Highway for the drive into Temuco where we caught the overnight train to Santiago.
Your time line for travel between Villarica sounds realistic. Just double check your mile/kilometer distance and gauge your progress on your northward leg. Sorry I can't be precise but we didn't drive the route in the same manner.
Have a great time. Sara and I have been anxious to get back to Chile. Well, at least we're headed to the Southern Hemisphere next month.
John in San Diego