Villarica National Park Hike to the Glacier

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure to join our clients on a hiking trip to the glacier. The day tour to the National Park started off in the little touristy town of Pucon. We picked up our clients from their hotel in the middle of downtown Pucon and we were on our way at 8 a.m. to the Villarica National Park.

We headed south down the Seven Lakes Route for about 2 hours. The drive might sound a little long but for this group, we had a chance to get to know each other, talk about all the places we had traveled to and along the way and conversations, we enjoyed the beautiful country side and views of the Calafquén Lake, which is situated on the eastern border of Coñaripe, a town that was totally destroyed by the 1964 eruption of the Villarrica Volcano.

Once we arrived, we were out the van and instantly felt the love the forest gives away. We were even able to see it….a huge tree log shaped like a heart was lying right in front of us! After taking a couple of pictures we start the hike up to the glacier.

We decided to take our time up the beautiful Araucaria forest while our guide Gonzalo showed us all the eatable fruit plants. We were astounded by all the different birds that were singing along the way. Also, since it’s now spring time, we were able to take a couple of awesome pictures of the little lizards that have been away all winter and are just now coming out for Spring and Summer.

The hike continued and just before we could actually see the glacier, we decided to take a little snack break under the Araucaria Forest (Monkey Puzzle Forest), just before the Pichi Llancahue Glacier trail begins. At this point, we were only 1.5 km away from the glacier, so we put another coat of sun block and after a couple of healthy snacks we headed up again!

As we were hiking towards this amazing several thousand year old glacier, we were surrounded by volcanoes! Everywhere you looked, there was a volcano to be seen! The Quetrupillan Volcano, Rucapillan Volcano and right behind the glacier, the majestic Villarica Volcano. It wasn´t just these amazing volcanoes on sight, it was hard not to stop and just take in all the beauty surrounding us, mountains covered with snow on one side, and rocky mountains on the other side.

After about half an hour of hiking, we find the perfect spot to have lunch. We sat on rocks right between 2 creeks. We sat there and enjoyed the perfect breeze…it couldn´t have been better!

We refilled our water bottles with fresh spring water and after a wonderful lunch, we continued our hike up the trail. The trail goes from walking on soft snow to dirt and rocks, back to snow and then Volcanic black sand! We had arrived on the glacier once we hit this black sand, which is really volcanic ashes of the Villarica Volcano. Once we were on the very top, we were just happy to have made it! We were able to actually see the ice by just rubbing off the ashes. The view from the very top was amazing and we had a fun time taking group pictures!

The journey to the top was over and we were headed back down. Once we arrived at our van, we decided this hike could only be rewarded by a visit to the Termas Geometricas. These beautiful hot springs are the best hot springs in Chile. This place offers the perfect combination between thermal facilities and natural surroundings. Located in the environs of the park, Geometricas has 16 strategically located thermal pools, allowing us to never feel overcrowded. The natural surroundings were exuberant.

The hike to the glacier ended with a relaxing evening at the hot springs and a nice ride back to the hotel just in time for dinner.

Macarena

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