Lake Llanquihue (Spanish: Lago Llanquihue), pronounced close to "Yankee way", is a large freshwater lake in southern Chile. Roughly triangularly shaped, it is about 40 km across in its widest points, and has a total area of close to 900 kilometers: making it about a third of the size of Rhode Island or Luxembourg. It is also deep, reaching 300 meters in places.
The lake was formed by glacial action, with glaciers coming off of the adjoining Andes Mountains depressing the land and forming moraines. At the end of the last ice age, the retreat of the glaciers left the lake. It drains to the Pacific Ocean via the river Maullin. The eastern shore of the lake is next to the Andes, and is at the base of Osorno Volcano, and very close to Calbuco Volcano. The western shore of the lake is surrounded by verdant farm land, as well as the tourist oriented towns of Puerto Varas and Frutilla.
Lake Llanquihue is ridiculously scenic. The water is a deep blue, and seems to go on forever. The sight of the symmetrical, white cone of Osorno rising above the lake is something that couldn't have been designed to be more perfect. The fruit fields, little farms, and dense stands of alder and blackberry that grow in southern Chile's cool, wet climate also add to ambiance of the lake region.
In many places, an area like Lake Llanquihue would be a gigantic tourist attraction. And while it is a popular tourist destination in Chile, it is still far enough off the beaten path of global tourism that it can be visited relatively cheaply. Like much of the landscape of Southern Chile, Lake Llanquihue is a hidden treasure.