Osorno (population 132,245) is 913 kilometers south of Santiago  and 109 kilometers north of Puerto Montt  via the Panamericana. Also an east–west crossroads, it’s 126 kilometers from the Argentine border at Paso Cardenal Samoré via paved Ruta 215.
More a crossroads than a destination, Osorno relies on dairying, forestry, and manufacturing rather than tourism for its livelihood, but it’s the gateway to destinations such as Lago Puyehue, Parque Nacional Puyehue , and Argentina’s Andean lake district. The city dates from 1558, but the Mapuche uprising of 1599 destroyed it and six other cities within five years, even resulting in the death of Spanish governor Oñez de Loyola.
Spanish authorities needed nearly two centuries to refound the city in 1793 with the construction of Fuerte Reina Luisa, a riverside fortification that helped keep out the Mapuche. It failed to flourish until the mid-19th century, as overland communications were too arduous and even hazardous to permit rapid growth of internal markets. This began to change with the mid-19th century arrival of German immigrants; it accelerated after the definitive “pacification” of the area south of the Biobío in the 1880s, followed by the railroad’s arrival in 1895 and its extension to Puerto Montt  by 1911. Through most of the 20th century, it achieved steady growth.
Osorno has limited air connections, but it’s a major ground-transportation hub for bus services along the Panamericana, throughout the region, and across the Andes to Argentina.
The Terminal de Buses (Av. Errázuriz 1400, tel. 064/234149) is the long-distance facility. Some but not all regional buses use the Mercado Municipal’s Terminal de Buses Rurales (Errázuriz 1300, tel. 064/232073).
From the Terminal de Buses Rurales, two companies go to Puyehue and Aguas Calientes : Buses Expreso Lago Puyehue (tel. 064/243919) and Buses Barría (tel. 064/ 230628). From 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., there are departures about every half hour on a route that’s also served by taxi colectivos across the street.