Villarrica and Pucon, Chilé

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)

Rustic Wood Buildings

It was a bit of a shock walking around both Pucon and Villarrica; both towns felt more like I was in Aspen or Vail Colorado with rustic log cabin style wood buildings. This definitely did not feel like anywhere else I had been in South America.

My Office with View of Volcano

I absolutely love my life of travel and working from beautiful location where I can watch ash puff from a volcano while doing work on my computer. Ahh!

Chainsaw Woodcarving

Again, another first in seeing chainsaw woodcarving in South America. This is something you normally see in the western part of the USA, but I’d never seen this in Latin America.

Feeling of Pompeii

Sometimes walking around Pucon I felt like I was in Pompeii where the volcano next to me might erupt and cover me in lava, especially when looking over occasionally I’d see puffs of ash and smoke rise from the top.

Amazing Sunsets

I walked down to the harbor of Pucon a couple times just to capture the amazing sunsets with my camera.

Bridge View of Volcano

There were many places where you could capture great photos of the volcano with nice reflections on the water. This photo was taken near the bridge in Villarrica.

Have your say