Osorno: a chance to experience local life in small town Chile
Like Puerto Montt, Osorno is a town almost untouched by tourism, so it gives you a real sense of normal Chilean life. It was a dull-yet-also-somehow-interesting stopover for us on our way down to Puerto Varas in Chile’s lake district. There isn’t a huge amount to do in this town unless you’re into shopping and casinos, so this guide is going to be a short one!
However, we found it great to watch the Chilean world go by in one of the town’s many peaceful spots, such as in Parque IV Centenario over the river, or at the central square, Plaza de Armas, which has an excellent water feature. One of the oddities of Osorno is its bizarre church designs, which almost seem to be competing with each other. During the weekends, you’ll see the town come alive with live performances and street stalls.
Osorno is the nearest town to the Antillanca ski resort, which means it becomes more popular with Chilean tourists in the winter. It’s also a gateway to Bariloche, Argentina, which can be enjoyed both for skiing in the cold months and hiking in the summer. Buses leave to Bariloche from Osorno bus terminal. Andesmar offers the route at least once a day for $14 USD (leaving in the morning, but not the same time every day).
Where to stay in Osorno
We set up camp at Hostel Chaman, which is an easy 90 second walk (left and then left again) from the bus terminal. It’s really homely, with the type of plush, cotton duvets and pillows you’d expect to find at your parents’ guest room. A little bit of home comfort bliss! From there it’s around a 10 minute walk to the centre.
Stray dogs in Osorno
The only real downside is that it has a problem with stray dogs; in Santiago the dogs are all very well looked after, and they keep to themselves, but in Osorno (and Valparaíso) they are much more aggressive towards humans and they hang around in large packs. We saw two teenaged boys being chased by a pack around the park for 20 minutes and an old man having the bat away a dog trying to bite him on his walk home from the supermarket.
Recommended stay to enjoy Osorno: 1 day
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