About the Photo Above
Both small towns of Villarrica and Pucon sit on opposite sides of a lake and have spectacular views of the Villarrica volcano. I captured this photo just before sunset from the rocky beach near Villarrica. This big volcano had a major eruption in March of 2015.
Expensive Volcano Hike (which I didn’t do)
At some point in long-term travel you start having repeats and overlaps where you see similar things invoking a sense of “been there, done that” thought process. For example, this volcano looks a lot like Mt. Fuji. Originally when I arrived at the lake here (and two towns) I had planned on hiking the volcano. However, I was shocked at the price tag attached to the hike: $115 for a half day hike. That is a bit steep for my budget, especially when I have hiked several volcanos before at a mere fraction of the prices (i.e. Pacaya in Guatemala). As such, I decided to take a pass on this one and just enjoy the view from afar.
Lazy Days at the Beach
I spent three days going out to the beach of Pucon and just relaxing. This is a black sand beach made of volcanic material so the sand was larger than most beaches and more abrasive; the water was also freezing cold. However, I absolutely loved just laying in the shade and watching the big volcano nearby. Most days I was able to see a small ash cloud rising from the top and drifting slowly to the right. I kept thinking that it would erupt at any minute and I would be able to capture a spectacular photo, but alas, everything was tranquil and calm. Other sites included most women wearing “Brazilian” style bikinis (sorry I was distracted and forgot to take photos). There were a number of other activities nearby for tourists like visits to the a nearby national park, rafting, kayaking, paddle boards, and parasailing in the lake (all were beyond my normal budget).
Costs in Villarrica and Pucon
Prices were similar in both towns. I cooked my own breakfast and dinner and went out for a cheap late lunch (opting to save money by eating at the cheaper places offering specials). My latest food obsession is with the Churasco Italiano sandwiches which are served on toasted hamburger buns with sliced roast beef, tomatoes, a super thick layer of guacamole and some mayonnaise.
Hostel: $14/night (shared dorm).
Food: $8-$12 meal for lunch or dinner (but I was spending $6 for a Churasco sandwich)