Northern Lake District - Volcano Villarica

Pucon Travel Blog

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I took a very comfortable overnight bus to Pucon, didn´t think it would be because the ticket was cheap. Travelling on a Friday night was not a good idea either, the bus terminal was chaotic with everyone travelling for the weekend and there was no organisation, we didn´t even know which stand the bus was going from until it arrived. At least I wasn´t on my own and we could look out for each other, particularly as a lady came up to us and told us to be careful!

Pucon is beautiful, if touristy. The town is surrounded by 2 lakes and a snow covered volcano - Villarica. Some of the houses look like wooded cabins but the shore of the beach is covered with big hotels and they even have a grand casino here! On the first day we wandered round the lakes and enjoyed the view.

Not even at the top of the volcano here!
We met two dogs along the way and the stayed with us all afternoon, acting as if they belonged to us. Even when we went in shops they waited outside and then we were having a beer at an outside bar and they slept at our feet. We lost them later on and I haven´t seen them again since!

In the evening we went to the hot springs, Los Pozones (Kerstin, I seem to remember these from your photos, did you go to the same ones?) There were about 6 pools of different temperatures but the coldest wasn´t exactly cold. The hottest one was last and after 2 hours, 40 degrees was too much, good job we still had some cold beer! It was a lovely way to relax in the evening but was in need of it the day after because I climbed to the top of the Villarrica Volcano.

I should have known that it wouldn't be easy when we got kitted out the night before with a helmet and ice pick! I was shattered before we even started because we didn´t get back uçfrom the hots springs until midnight and then had to be at the agency at 7am to put all the kit on! I cheated with most of the others in the group and took the ski lift to avoid the first hour of walking, there was still at least 3 more to go afterwards and it was hard going so I was glad. We zig zagged all the way to the mouth of the volcano, I didn´t feel too tired I was more concerned about falling it was pretty scary in places especially for an unco like me. The guide was really good though and we moved constantly but slowly To make matters worse I couldn´t wear my contact lenses and I needed to wear sunglasses obviously because of the snow, so I was pretty much doing it blind! When we reached the top, the volcano was spewing sulphur but we didn´t actually see any lava. It was an incredible feeling to be at the top having seen the volcano from town, and the noise and heat were amazing, obviously never experienced anything like it and to be honest, not really in a hurry to climb another volcano again! Coming down was almost as bad as going up, most of it we did on our bottoms using the ice pick to control our speed and stop, once I got the hang of it, it was ok and I actually enjoyed it but it was still scary!

After all that I had a relaxing day doing nothing yesterday, today I am waiting for a bus to go to the southern part of the Lake District, Puerto Varas, I´d like to do some more walking and possibly mountain biking, if its flat!   

Lenny says:
Still a beer drinker! I have been sampling the Chilean Chardonnay though, its too cheap to resist. Back in santiago and debating whether to do a tour of the vineyards from here or wait till I get to Mendoza. Will keep you posted. Need to catch up on the journal at some point.
Love Helen
Posted on: Nov 28, 2006
Boughtonbetty says:
Phew! Feel exhausted just reading that! You're certainly packing as much as possible in to this trip, aren't you. Am interested to know if you are still a beer drinker or if you have been converted to the Chilean red wine!! Look forward to your next report.
Luv, B and T
Posted on: Nov 28, 2006
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Not even at the top of the volcano…
Not even at the top of the volcan…
photo by: Biedjee