¡Feliz Año Nuevo! in Pucon

If you are looking for adrenalin filled outdoor adventures, Pucon is THE place to be. The little town, in Chile, is located next to a beautiful lake (with volcano view) and was able to preserve a cosy and inviting atmosphere despite the booming tourism. Be aware that Pucon is not the right location for a tight budget due to the numerous activities that you can and want to book once you are there. Find here the activities that we could not resist to join.


Hike Villarrica volcano

The main attraction is doubtlessly the hike up the active Villarrica volcano, which last erupted in March 2015. The hike can only be done with a guided tour, which starts at 6 am (with a Hostel pick-up if provided). The equipment hand out includes more or less everything you need, consisting of backpack, crampons, ice pick, shoes, trousers, gas masks for the sulfur smelly peak and a “Sitzbob” (I could not find an English translation for this, sorry not sorry^^), which you need for sliding down the volcano. All you need to bring yourself is sunscreen and sunglasses (very important!) as well as basic hiking clothes, water and some snacks.

Our group consisted of 7 people + 2 guides. The hike starts right at the bottom of the volcano with an option to take a seat lift to skip the first 45 minutes of the hike. Of course we decided to walk all the way, which almost seemed like a wrong decision at the beginning. The hiking speed was far to fast for me (especially regarding the early time of the day, at which I am never in my full energy and functioning mode). Embarrassingly enough I was called out to walk in front of the group together with the guide, meaning the slowest one making the pace. This definitely did not lift my mood at all *grrrr*. After the first 45 minutes we reached the snowfield, by then I was already completely out of breath, not thinking I could ever make it to the top (at least with this speed).

But from there it was comparably easy. My first time on crampons worked surprisingly well and I was able to keep up with the speed all the way up.

Pucon Villarrica volcano

Soon we understood the rush our guides had. They wanted to overtake all the other groups (there are hundreds of tourists hiking the volcano every day!!), in order to be one of the first ones on the top, the crater of the volcano. And this we proudly achieved! Due to the crowds every group only gets 5 minutes on top (which was enough for me regarding the smell and coldish wind up there). Unfortunately we could not see any lava that day, but still the massive crater was very impressive and something special, which I’ve never seen before.

You think this must have been the best part of the day? Believe it or not, it was not! Overall one of the funniest things ever was sliding all the 1,400 metres down on the “sitzbob”! We did the tour on the 31st of December and agree there could not have been a more exciting and fun activity to end the year. Reason enough to not think about the costs of the tour, which were 120 EUR per person.

Apart from that there are more, less expensive activities that we joined:

Canyoning

The canyoning was 45 EUR per person and was a fun and exciting day adventure as the tour included some ziplines, abseiling, sliding and jumping parts. Unfortunately we had a rather large group of 12 persons, meaning a lot of waiting (and freezing at some point). If you did canyoning before it is not the most amazing tour, but still some fun.


Hot springs

There are countless hot springs offered around the area of Pucon, meeting all different budget capabilities. The cheapest option is to the take the bus (instead of an offered hostel pick up) for 5 EUR and go to the “Los Pozones” hot springs, located an hour out of Pucon. The entry fee is 11 EUR per person (a little more expensive for the night ticket) and totally worth it. There are about 5 to 6 naturally outdoor pools, right next to a river, which invites for some cooling down after boiling in the hot pools. There are also enough spots to simply relax in the grass with a good book or just have a nap, which I prefered as we went on the 1st of January, needing some hangover resting. 🙂


Kayaking

Thanks to our great hostel we could rent a Kayak for next to nothing. With the lake just in front of the hostel this was an easy activity on a beautiful, sunny day. Many empty and small bays were awaiting us along the lake’s shore. Just perfect for some relaxation and sun bathing – always with a beautiful view at the Villarrica volcano.


Apart from that there are still a lot of activities offered, which we could not all try due to budget reasons. These include:

  • Sky diving
  • Hidro speeding (going down a river on a bodyboard)
  • Rafting
  • Hiking in the national park

Apart from the great activities, that I appreciated a lot after 5 weeks of hiking, 2 other factors made our stay especially enjoyable:

Again we stayed at a fantastic hostel: the Chili Kiwi Lakefront Hostel, with an awesome location, friendly and nice staff, comfortable beds and dorms, great kitchens and outdoor sitting areas.

Most of all we were happy due to run into our friends (met in El Bolson two weeks earlier) again. By coincidence they were staying at the same Hostel, which we celebrated (daily for the next 4 evenings) by cooking extensive and delicious community dinners that could serve the whole Hostel. Besides we celebrated Happy New Year together and saw a huge firework at the beach of Pucon.

I could not have wished for a better start into 2018.

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