What to do around Pucón

Elected Chile’s capital of adventure tourism, and highlight of Chile’s Lake and Volcano District, Pucón has so much to offer and lots of outdoor activities to do. Find out the 5 things to do in this beautiful Lake City!

 

 

Villarrica Volcano
Villarrica Volcano

 

Pucón, the dream town of southern Chile, is located at the shores of the Villarrica Lake and at the foot of the Villarrica volcano. 700 kilometers south from Santiago de Chile, it belongs to the La Araucania Region.

Lately, this lake city has been recognized world-wide for its ski center, water sports and hiking trails, among many other outdoor activities. Beaches, forests, valleys and the generous nature of Pucón also invite you to dive into the natural hot springs of the area. Between more than 30 excursions you can do around Pucón, you can also access Argentina through the border crossing Mamuil Malal. Thus, it connects the Araucania Region with the Lanín national Park of the Argentinean Republic.

In this post, you will discover what to do in Pucón, and realize why every nature lover and aventurous travelers should add this destination in their bucket list.

 

1) The Villarrica Volcano ascent

 

villarrica volcano chile

 

The Villarrica Volcano (2.847 meters) is Chile’s most active volcano, and one of the most actives in South America. The idea of climbing it might sound surreal, but is definitely possible to do. It does require a certain level of fitness, but the hike is not technical at all.

You don’t need to bring with you all the mountain gear needed for such activity, since this excursion includes the full equipment. Also, it is very important to know that the weather is very weather-dependent. Indeed, in order to reach the summit, the weather conditions must be optimal: minimal wind and clear sky.

The route of ascent, starting at the foothills of the volcano, allows the most adventurers to reach the open crater. After approximately 4 to 5 hours of hiking, the final reward is the surrounding landscape made of lakes, volcanoes and valleys. If you’re lucky enough, you will get to see some lava flows.

It is worth noting that it is absolutely a hike you cannot miss in Pucón. It is possible to do it all year long, however it is easier to reach the top during spring and summer. In winter, the volcano is totally covered in snow, making the excursion of difficult level.

If you want to climb Chile’s most active volcano, read more about our hiking program around Pucón!

 

villarrica volcano ascent
Villarrica Volcano Climb

 

2) Geométricas Hot Springs

 

Geometricas Hot Springs Chile

 

The Geométricas hot springs are a thermal center, composed of 20 stone pools from 35°C to 45°C. Moreover, they are immersed in the amazing landscapes of native forests of Villarrica Volcano National Park located near Coñaripe.

In addition to enjoying the thermal water and contemplating the landscape, the design is truly unique. Indeed, the facilities were designed by the distinguished national architect Germán del Sol, who subtly intervened the environment, through walkways made of red coigüe wood that connect the different swimming pools.

In Amity, we love to have a good physical activity and then dive in the hot springs!

 

geometricas hot springs
Waterfall at Geometricas hot springs

 

3) Rafting – Trancura River

 

Lower Section

 

rafting pucon chile

 

This outing holds no great dangers and is perfect if you are after a less extreme adventure. It could be a family day-out, a beginner’s introduction to rafting, or a warm-up for the upper river rafting trip. Although it is still exciting and fun!

We invite you to glide through calm stretches of water, admiring the beautiful nature around Pucón.

The rafts drop-off point is only a 30-minute drive from Pucón and the road goes through a countryside landscape surrounded by the Andes. Once we arrive at the river, you receive and put on the rafting gear. Your guides will be giving out all necessary safety instructions concerning correct rowing techniques and the “way the river works”. Once on the Trancura River, you will experience the full flowing effects of the raft passing over class 3 rapids, along with the sound of the rushing waters with waves crashing against the raft.

After approximately 1½ hours of excitement we will reach the end of the descent and head back to Pucón.

 

Upper Section

 

rafting pucon chile

 

This exciting trip is suitable for the ages of 14 to adult and for those looking for lots of excitement without great dangers. Be prepared for 2 hours of pure adrenaline, tackling Class 4 rapids with several drops. The rapids’ names speak for themselves: Last Laugh, Devil’s Throat and Rapid of Fear. There are spectacular views of Villarrica Volcano and smaller Quetrupillán Volcano up the valley.

The rafts drop-off point is only a 30-minute drive from Pucón and the road goes through a countryside landscape surrounded by the Andes. Once we arrive at the river, you receive and put on the rafting gear. Your guides will be giving out all necessary safety instructions concerning correct rowing techniques and the “way the river works”.

Once on the Trancura River you will experience straight away the full flowing effects of class IV & V rapids along with the booming sound of the rushing waters with waves crashing against the raft. Here you will need to row hard to pass over the torrents.

After approximately 1½ hours of excitement we will reach the end of the descent and head back to Pucón.

 

4) Huerquehue National Park

 

huerquehue chile

 

The Huerquehue national park is located in the foothills of Los Andes mountain range. 35 km (22 miles) from Pucón. The park covers 12.500 hectares (30.890 acres) with various lagoons, dense vegetation and gigantic trees that are the habitat of several endemic birds.

The best way to explore the park is by foot. Indeed, you can choose between various hiking trails crossing the whole territory in which you can observe the local fauna and flora.

 

huerquehue chile

 

The easiest hike is Los Lagos Trail. It is the most popular of the park. The main attraction are the forests of ancient monkey puzzle tree surrounding the lakes on the high area. Observing them might be an overwhelming experience as they make you think about how small and ephemeral the human being can be in front of nature.

In summer, the bravest hikers can swim into the cold water of the lakes. Moreover, you will be able to observe a huge variety of birds like ducks. if you’re lucky, and patient, you might be able to spot the woodpecker and its impressive red head.

 

Huerquehue national park
Los Lagos Trail, Huerquehue NP

 

5) Villarrica National Reserve

 

villarrica national park
Quetrupillan Volcano at sight

 

Located in The Andes mountain range, the Villarrica national park is a protected wildlife area. The impressive volcanoes, stunning endemic tree forests, rivers and lake are the top components of the landscape.

Dominating the scene, the Villarrica Volcano (2.847 m.) is the main touristic attraction. In addition, you can also appreciate the Quetrupillan (2.382 m.) and Lanín (3.776 m.) volcanoes. During winter, it is possible to ski the Villarrica volcano. The ascent to the top is also available all year long, depending on the weather conditions. In the foothills, there are various hiking trails leading to amazing lookout points.

 

villarrica volcano

 

The park boasts a total of 63.000 hectares of endemic tree forests such as araucaria, raulí, lenga, etc. The forested areas allow the existence of a diverse fauna like puma, chilla fox, pudu deer, and the small native marsupial monito del monte, among others.

 

villarrica national park

 

If you are looking for some wild adventures when visiting Chile, Pucón is the place for you to be! 

Contact us for more info about Chile’s Lake and Volcano District!

 

 

 

 

 

Chile – A journey from the Andes to the Pacific Ocean

Cordillera las Raíces

Chile is about 4300-kilometers long. We all talk about the extreme diversity from north to south. But did you know that in the average width of only 177 kilometers you can find an impressive natural and cultural diversity too? We take you on a journey from the Andes to the Pacific through the Lake and Volcano District.

 

Pichillancahue Glacier Hike
Hiking to the Pichillancahue Glaciar

First of all, some facts about the geography of Chile

In Chile, there are four large strips of relief, which give the physical environment a markedly longitudinal character.

These are:

  • The Andes Mountain Range, high and wide in the north, which descends to the south.
  • The intermediate depression, with high plateaus in the north.
  • The Cordillera de la Costa, lower than the Andean heights, but with difficult access to the sea.
  • The extensive Chilean shoreline with its equal coasts from Arica to Chiloé and dismembered towards the south of the country.

The Andes mountain range constitutes an imposing wall. Whose altitude gradually descends from north to south. Starting at the heights of the Nevado Ojos del Salado (6,893 m) in the province of Atacama, reaching  the modest peaks of Darwin (2,135 m), in the province of Magallanes.

Its colossal heights on the western slope are of climatic and economic importance. It acts as a climate screen, intercepting the western humid air masses and forcing them to rise and precipitate on its slope. Thus, it is how it is transformed into the reservoir of water and snow that it generates in rivers. These cross our country transversely and serve to irrigate the fields of the intermediate depression, supply water to urban agglomerations and allow energy to be obtained through hydroelectric plants.

Chile’s numerous rivers are relatively short; they are generally born in the Andes and flow west towards the Pacific. Thus, in the northern and central regions they feed mainly by the eternal snows that cover the Andes. While most of the great Chilean lakes, including the Llanquihue, concentrate in the wonderful southern lake region.

The natural and cultural diversity in only 150 kilometers

Let us get an idea about the divers landscapes in only 150-kilometers width. We take you on a imaginative trip from east to west to our beautiful Lake and Volcano District!

 

Cordillera las Raíces
Cordillera las Raíces

The Andes Mountain Range

Starting at the Andes Mountain Range we dive into the mystical Araucaría (monkey puzzle tree) forests and connect to the millenary species around us. Therefore we hike through deep forests, cross by crystal-clear lagoons and breath the fresh air of these altitudes. Meanwhile we imagine the daily life of the inhabitants in this area.

The local mapuche communities (Pewenches) are named after the Pewen – Araucaria, being its fruit the central element of their diet. History relates that the Mapuche were mainly engaged in agriculture and cattle breeding. However, the Pewenches have been noted for being gatherers and ranchers. It is argued that the Pewenche “owned herds of llamas, which made them herdsmen-farmers who used wool. As for agriculture, the vegetation provided them with herbs and wild fruits. They cultivated corn, potatoes, beans, goose and quinoa, among which the pehuén”(Acosta, 2004: 4). Today, this ancient practice of collecting the gülliw – piñion – is maintained, starting the most characteristic process today: the “Veranadas” at the beginning of March.

 

Piñion, Araucaría fruit
Piñon, Araucaría fruit

 

Before continuing our journey towards the west, we climb up one of the magical volcanoes in the area. Let us try to reach the top of the very active Villarrica Volcano. We might even spot some lava on the top! Therefore we cross a glacier and prepare ourselves for some strong winds.

As soon as we reach the top we get impressed by the volcanic activity of the Villarrica (or Rukapillan, in the Mapuche language). Moreover the scenic view overlooking the beautiful lakes, rivers and volcanoes around will take your breath away.

The countryside and its prairies

Now, as we got to know the Andes Mountain Range, it is time to visit the flatter areas. Around the lakes, like Panguipulli, Villarrica and the second biggest Lake of Chile, Llanquihue, we enjoy the harmony of the green prairies, the wide rivers and the wheat fields. Lay back and feel the calm lifestyle on the countryside.

 

Chilean Lake and Volcano District Prairie
Prairie of the Chilean Lake and Volcano District

 

In this flatter area the Nagche and Wenteche Mapuche communities settled their homes. They mostly live from the agriculture and cattle breeding. In addition to the Mapuche families, many German immigrants found their new home in the Lake and Volcano District. Around the big lakes we find many German styled houses and can feel the German influence also on the menus. It is easy to understand, why these area is famous for its great cheese and beer…

 

Getting to the Pacific Ocean

Before we reach the coast, we have to take a deeper look at the very unique Valdivian rainforest. Were we count with an unusual diversity of tree species, many of which are unique in the world. Especially the Valdivian jungle stands out for its beauty. Some species of conifers in the Chilean forest are among the longest-lived in the world, for example the larch. Therefore we can enjoy some nice walks through thousand-years old forests with a dense undergrowth. Classified as a very special temperate forest, it counts with several specimens of native animals such as the Monkey of the bush, Pudú, Choroy parrot and the Black-necked Swan.

 

Reserva Alerce Costera
Larch trees at the Alerce Costero Reserve

 

Not only the landscape changes, while we get closer to the coast. Also, the habits and name of the local mapuche communities changes: Lafkenches (people belonging to the sea) use the coast as a settlement. They have an economy and way of life closely related to the sea and marine resources (fish, shellfish, marine mammals, etc.).

 

Shellfish Mapuche Lafkenche
Shellfish Mapuche Lafkenche

 

Finally on the Pacific Ocean, we get impressed by the lonely beaches, the ruff shores and the cold sea. While during the migration season (sep-may) we might even observe some delfines and whales close to the coast. Without any doubt getting to the Pacific Ocean after climbing up an active volcano, crossing by the harmonious prairies and getting lost in the dense Valdivian jungle is a the jewel in the crown.

 

Mapu Lahual Pacific Ocean
Mapu Lahual Pacific Ocean

 

Do you want to explore the Epic Pacific Coast trails?

 

Source: www.cultura.gob.cl/estudios/observatorio-cultural