Lakes and Volcanoes
Autumn in Pucón: a new tourist season for Chile’s south
The stunning foliage surrounding the popular resort town on the shores of Lake Villarrica is the primary attraction during April and May.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Pucón, on the shore of Lake Villarrica. (Photo: Hector Garcia/Flickr)
Colors of Autumn – this will be the name of the new campaign aimed to transform Pucón, Chile’s capital for outdoor adventure, into a travel destination outside its peak summer months.
Set amongst lush native forests, Pucón’s summer activities of kayaking, rafting, zip-lining, and mountain-climbing will be replaced during the cool, damp autumn with relaxing hikes and view points that offer panoramic sights of the region’s dramatically changing foliage.
The highlights of the new autumn tourism circuit will be found deep in the forests of Villarrica and Huerquehue National Parks, the Villarrica National Reserve, and the El Cañy Sanctuary. Together, these national nature preserves cover over 155,000 acres (63 ha.) of native forest in the Chilean Lakes District.
In Villarrica National Park, the hike along the Dormant Crater Viewpoint is one of the highlighted options. The short, straightforward hike requires neither special equipment nor skills and winds through dense forests with stunning views of dormant craters that pockmark this active volcanic region. Another hike follows the Ruka Pillán trail, which traverses large portions of forest with heavy concentrations of native species like the coihue, araucaria, hualles, robles and pellín.
The region’s many thermal springs are also ideal attractions as the warmth of summer fades. Springs in the area range from the rustic to the luxurious, all of them offering healing properties in the form of natural minerals rising from the earth.
Though in summer, Pucón is regularly swarmed with visitors, autumn and the off-season offer a quieter prospect, a glimpse of a sleepy Lakes District town rather than a key stop along the backpacker’s trail. Of course, word is getting out – the municipality has already seen a considerable increase in the numbers of tourists inquiring about autumn tourism, rising from 814 last April to over 1,000 this year. Still, those looking for a break from outdoor exertions so often involved in a trip to Chile, autumn in Pucón makes an ideal stop.