We chose to go to Pucon because in the area there is the possibility of climbing the Villarica volcano and to make all pretty nice hikes.
We decided to spend 6 days in the area and go hiking.
We left in March 2019.
Camping Minerva :
Small campsite in a quiet street. This is a campsite in the garden of two people.
There is not a lot of location. There is a cold shower (for hot water you have to pay extra) and only one toilet. Both are not extremely clean. The cold shower is frozen and a little moldy so remember to take flip flops. There is no toilet paper so do not forget it!
The lady wants us to pay her day after day. She lives in the camping house and provides internet, a gas stove in the common area (outside her house), kitchen utensils, pots, plates and glasses.
The night costs 5000 $ CH per person without hot water.
I do not know if I can recommend it to you because of the noise. They have children bawling all afternoon and playing around the tents. They do not care to throw their toys (balloons, bicycles and others) on the tents. Personally it pissed me off because my tent is my home for my trip and it costs a blind! In the evening there are dogs screaming !!!! it’s unbearable. I sleep badly and even with earplugs I hear them. If these noises do not bother you then go for it; it is well located and there is internet; being able to cook is great too.
El Puconino Hostel
Small hostel on Colo Colo 937, which makes rooms of 4 but also double rooms with private bathroom. Depending on the season, there is a swimming pool available.
You can cook and there is a fridge for the guests. They can also do the laundry.
The staff are welcoming and very friendly.
There is wifi.
The double room with bathroom cost us $ 20,000 CH at night.
Camping Olga :
Great campsite by the lake. Several small locations separated from each other. Everyone has their picnic table and drinking water for drinking and cooking.
It’s clean and really nice.
Hot water surcharge: 500 $ CH. It works with the sun so it is lukewarm …
No electricity ; but for 500 $ CH he can charge you with things.
We passed by the agency Pollitur (with O’Higgins). They are very serious. They provide all climbing equipment (shoes, gaiters, pants, jacket, ice ax, crampons, backpack, gas mask, balaclava, gloves, sledge, helmet). We paid $ 90,000 CH (about 120 euros) for the day of hiking. It is possible to rent the equipment and leave alone but CONAF will not let you go without a guide or equipment.
The asension in itself is not obvious. There is a first part that we do either by cable car (10000 $ CH) or on foot (1 hour climb but feasible).
The second part lasts a second hour; she climbs even more on the rock. The view of the valley is top when clear. We see two other volcanoes in the distance and the summit of the volcano.
The third part is difficult: you have to put on your crampons and walk for two hours with your ice ax on the ice. There are so many people so if there is a concern we are surrounded. The guides are serious so it reassures a little. The real difficulty is walking on the ice otherwise, if you are in good shape is the climb with a good altitude but going at his own pace is not difficult.
The last part is done in backpack and with the ice ax (just in case), and the gas mask. We climbed 20min to reach the crater. Once at the top it is superb. We see the glacier, the mountains, the lakes and of course the crater!
The descent with a tour operator is sledging for 30min. It’s pretty funny (great if you like speed and snow); then there is less than an hour of fast mega walk downhill on sand.
Personally I did not appreciate the ride because I was scared but Quentin feasted. In revache once at the top is extra!
There are several waterfalls 30min bus from Pucon. They are located in private areas so you will have to pay an entrance fee of 1000 $ CH per person per cascade. It’s nice but no need to do more than two I think. The bus to go there costs less than $ 1000 CH per person each way.
There are a lot of hot springs in the area. The best known are the geometrical terms. It is 30-35000 $ CH with a tour operator (transport and entry included) otherwise it is 35000 $ CH the entry alone (as much to go with a tour operator).
There are others accessible by bus from Pucon. We tested Los Pozones ($ 1800 CH for the one-way bus + $ 8000 CH for the day pass, the night is $ 10000 CH all per person). It’s pretty ; there is the river next door. It is very relaxing.
Be careful with bus schedules to get there! There is a bus at 8:30 am and the next at 1 pm …
The bus costs $ 4000 CH return. We stayed at the Olga campsite (see accommodation section below).
There are several hikes to do on site.
These are the ones we made:
This hike starts in the forest and is quite tough, but it is so pretty that wyou will kind of forget the pain in your legs.
There are two or three waterfalls on the road and a view of the Villarica volcano.
The lakes are all in the same area and are reached after a good two hours. If you want to continue walking there are other lakes. I continued to las Los Platos which is super beautiful with conifers all around that are reflected in the water.
It is a very beautiful walk. I advise you to stay at Olga camping in the evening for another hike the next day.
- San Sebastian
What a horrible hike !!! It goes up from the beginning and it’s very difficult. The hike is between 1-2 hours in the forest. After which we arrive on a small plateau with a view of the volcano Villarica. Then it starts climbing again for 2 hours (according to your rhythm).
It is difficult and not necessarily great but the final view is very beautiful: 360 over the valley, lakes and volcanoes.
Allow at least 6 hours to go to the watchtower and go down. Leave early to be certain to have the return bus.
Go to the tourist office and find out about different hikes, terms and bus schedules.