Adventure travel

Chile's Pucón is an under-the-radar destination

Climb volcanoes and go trekking in native forests while rubbing shoulders with local holidaymakers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 Category: World Reviews on Chile - Tourism
Pucón: in the shadow of Villarrica Volcano (Photo: Jessie Reeder/Flickr) Pucón: in the shadow of Villarrica Volcano (Photo: Jessie Reeder/Flickr)

Nestled between the snow-dusted peak of the Villarrica Volcano and the crystal clear waters of Lake Villarrica, Pucón has long been an adventure playground for local holidaymakers in Chile.

Every summer, hundreds of santiaguinos head for the town to take advantage of the numerous activities, ranging from rafting and kayaking to mountain climbing and zip-lining.

But Pucón's international profile is in store for a boost after it was included in a list of Latin America's top 10 'under-the-radar' hotspots for foreign tourists, compiled by Fox Latino News.

According to the article, these destinations are places where you can truly mix with locals while still enjoying top class amenities.

“All corners of Latin America are packed with under-the-radar hotspots that can’t help but make you all warm and fuzzy about travel, although you do want to strike a balance between an undiscovered gem and a place that has no infrastructure for tourism,” it said.

And Pucón fits the bill perfectly. Overshadowed by better known attractions such as the Patagonian fjords and the sand dunes of the Atacama Desert, the Lakes District town is one of the region's best-kept secrets.

Among Pucón's highlights, the article draws attention to the guided climbs up the smoking volcano, the dozens of trekking routes through the nearby forests, brimming with araucaria or “monkey puzzle” trees, and the quirky Bauhaus-style Hotel Antumalal that once played host to Queen Elizabeth II.

And best of all, it's easily accessible, just a 90-minutes flight from Chile's cosmopolitan capital, Santiago.

The top three destinations on Fox Latino News' list of hotspots are Bolivia's Uyuni Salt Flats, Costa Rica's Tortuguero and Mexico's Valle de Guadalupe.

Making up the top 10 were Caraíva, Brazil; all of Guyana; Vichayito, Peru; all of Uruguay; Cartagena, Colombia; and Leon, Nicaragua.

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