Chile – Pucón, Villarrica and Trips to the Surroundings
The city is a Mekka for outdoor sports. Avenida O'Higgins is the main street here. It is lined with many shops of different outdoor brands but there are also many restaurants, stores and cafes. Should be move to the end of the street we would reach La POza beach. Boats are anchored in the harbor. Being so famous, there is shortage of cheap accommodtion here. Therefore, we mvoed to the town of Villarrica instead.
Villarrica is situated on the southwestern shore of the lake. Amazing vista on a volcano of the same name amazes you right upon your arrival in the town. There are two visitor centers, many stores selling various goods, supermarkets and street vendors. They sell chargers as well as fruits and veggies. Simply put, this town is a great place to start off your treks. Unlike Pucon, this town is more tranquil and mainly cheaper. You have many places where you can stay over night – camps, hostels or hotels which are generally more expensive. We stayed at a hostel. The owner even handed us a contact to his friend who organizes climbs on the top of the volcano – you can go there only with a guide. The price is quite high. Shy 100 000 CLP (around 4 000 CZK). We talked to several local who told us that weather may even prevent us from climbing up the volcano. Therefore, we decided to make another trips – to nature parks in the area.
In the morning, we took on our hiking boots, backpack with a snack inside, and set off to Huerquehue National Park. You get there by following narrow local roads. Usually these are dirt roads and in quite a bad shape. To make the trip easier go there better by offroad vehicle. Eventually, we reached Camp Conaf. They show us a huge map of the area including trails at the reception's desk. However, they sell no print maps so we take a picture of theirs with our cell. It costs 5000 CLP (about 200 CZK) per person to enter the park.
The road starts off in a slow pace but you'll go uphill. We pass a turn to Cascada Nido de Aquila watefall. Upon that we enjoy beautiful vistas over Lago Tinquilco and Villarrica volcano. Araucaria trees are being increasingly present along our way. We also spot a national flowr copihue as well as hummingbirds and lizards. We reach Lago Chico after an hour of a steep hike and continue to Lago Toro and Lago Verde. There is a small beach by the latter. Lakes are clear and breathtakingly beautiful. Hills are covered with forest with visible araucaria tree tops rising above surrounding trees. Here we make a small picnic and take a refreshing swim in the freezin cold lake. The sun than warms our cold skin upon which we go back to our car.
I have to say I was absolutely charmed by this park. It is an amazing place for any tourist. Therefore, I warmly recommend it. There are many treks to take with amazing vistas over the mysterious landscape. But expect crowds in the main season. Still, go here and see for yourself. Being in beautiful nature never gets old.
GPS: (Villarica volcano) 39°25'17.1"S 71°56'20.3"W
Text and photos: Kateřina Janovská
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