Our two week December holiday started in Pucon, twelve hours by bus from Santiago. Tourists flock to Pucon for the Volcano named Villarica (which we climbed!). The Volcano forms a spectacular backdrop for this town, mainly consisting of timber buildings and tourist shops selling tours to the volcano, kayaking trips and other expeditions to eager tourists. We arrived early in the morning, (after an all nighter bustrip) while Pucon was still asleep. The black sandy beach next to Lake Villarica was empty.
After weighing up the different tour companies (you can just show up in Pucon and walk down the main street Bernardo O’Higgins where all the tour companies are located) we chose Turismo Florencia to guide us up the Volcano the next day at 40.000 CLP (80 USD) per person. This excludes the ski lift of 8.000 CLP (16 USD) which takes you to a point up the volcano and is highly recommendable in order to save energy for the climb.
We enjoyed camping at Parque La Posa campsite (La Posa on the left top corner on the map above) for 4.500CLP (9 USD) per person per night. We were planning on camping next to Lake Villarica, but a friendly resident of Pucon warned us that it’s a bit dangerous there, so we chose another camp site.
After securing our Volcano trip for the next day, we took a bus to Parque Huerquehue, a beautiful Nature Reserve you can reach with an hour’s bus ride from Pucon. Entrance to the park is $4.500 CLP, which is a bit steep, so in order to get the most value for your money, I recommend tourists to take the earliest bus to the park. Carburgua is the bus company that drives to the park; there are three buses per day and the last bus leaves Parque Huerquehue at 5:10pm. The cost of the busride is $3.600 CLP return per person. We wished we had more time to spend in the park.
We ended our first day in Pucon with a swim in Lake Villarica between the mountains. By this time the beach had filled with people sunbathing.
Two touristy items we didn’t have time for in Pucon (that you may want to do if you’re planning a trip), are a trip to one of the many the hot springs around the town and a trip to Los ojos del caburgua, a waterfall a few minutes outside Pucon.
Dirk went shopping for a pocketknife with the camera. I told him to take a few pictures of Pucon, because we didn’t take a lot of pictures… he proudly returned with a pictures of a Naked nativity scene and a picture of Julius Malema.