Chilean Lake District
Pucón, the land of volcanoes and adrenaline
The principal lakeside resort in Chile offers beautiful lava rock beaches, rafting, volcanoes, hot water springs, and starry skies.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Pucón, Villarica (Photo: TurismoChile)
Located between a national park and the shores of Lake Villarica, and surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, the geography of Pucón never ceases to amaze its visitors.
Located just over 100 km southeast of Temuco, the city was founded by European settlers who arrived in the region in the late nineteenth century. The first buildings built in the area were hotels, which established a tradition for hospitality in the area. Accommodation ranges from economically priced hostels to 5-star hotels. In the downtown area, stores and restaurants are built in a traditional half timber design.
There are activities throughout the year in Pucón. During the summer, visitors enjoy the beach and the nightlife, where parties can last late into the night. At the beach, there are plenty of water sports, a nearby casino, as well as lakes and rivers like Caburga, Colico, Calafquén, and Lican Ray.
Skiing, rafting and hiking
Spectacular Villarrica Volcano offers a steep ascent over snow and an exceptional view of the lake and surrounding area, and occasionally spews steam and fire. It is also has chairlifts and is a ski resort during the winter months.
The Trancura River is the main tributary to Villarrica Lake. The clear, cold water is popular for rafting and kayaking where navigable rapids reach class IV in difficulty.
Hiking is also popular along the Via Ferrata in the Pichillancahue Valley where there are views of glaciers. Another point of interest is the Cañi Sanctuary, a private ecological reserve with gorgeous araucaria pine forests and mountain lochs.
Traditional culture and relaxation
Visitors who are interested in an authentic cultural experience often take rural tours of the area, and meet Mapuche families who share their ceremonies, rituals, legends, and traditions – a true historical treasure. For relaxation, there are several hot springs warmed by the underground volcanic activity.