Pucon is located 11 hours south of Santiago in Chile, it’s home to the active Volcano Villerrica and the beautiful Lake Villarrica.
With the intention of Snowboarding in South America, after a little research I came across Pucon! Deemed the Adventure Capital of Chile, it seemed like a perfect place to make a detour to.
How to get to Pucon
I travelled to Pucon from the Easter Island via Santiago Airport! I had a delayed flight and naturally missed my planned connecting night bus! A pattern is definitely occurring in South America! Thankfully Latam were excellent and arranged transportation, food and a hotel for me until the next bus – however this meant I had to take the daytime bus – never fun for 11 hours! You take the bus from Terminal Alameda bus station, there are various companies that run a service from Santiago to Pucon. I personally use busbud to check the options, however they do not work with Turbus so you can search the service directly on their website if you wish. It is cheaper to pre-book your ticket or buy on the machines at the station. My bus ticket cost around £10 each way, and the journey takes around 11 hours.
Where to stay in Pucon
There is only one place to stay in Pucon, and it’s the Chili Kiwi Hostel! This is one of if not the best hostel I have come across on my travels, located directly in front of the lake with beautiful views of the volcano and a log burning fire. There are various types of accommodation available including, dorms, doubles in the form of a Hobbity Hollow,
Treehouse double, or the Glamper Van. It also has a great kitchen, beautiful garden, and multiple toilets!
In the main street of O’Higgins in Pucon, all of the regular bus companies can be located as well as a good supermarket, ATMS, retail stores such as the North Face store and a handful of Bars, Bakeries and Souvenir shops.
Top things to do in Pucon
Climb Volcan Villarrica
Possibly the most adventurous thing to do in Pucon is climb the Volcano! This is weather dependent and a little pricey at over £100+, I was unable to attempt it because of bad weather, but I intend to return and give it a go another time! As this is an active volcano, when you reach the top you can peer over and look into the bubbling Lava Lake below! Depending who you book with its likely you will be able to sled/toboggan or snowboard/ski down!! You will be rewarded with stunning views of the lake and over the chilean volcano mountain range! I would highly recommend this activity in Pucon and can’t wait to go back myself!
Snowboarding in Pucon
Next on the list is to hit to the volcano and get involved in some snow activities. I headed up with a group from the chilli kiwi and we hired snowboards and spent the day on the slopes. It was my first time snowboarding outside rather than in a snow dome in the UK, and I absolutely loved it! The wonderful Evelyn spent a long time helping me improve my technique and learn to get off the ski lift with out falling on my face (which did happen quite a few times!) – Thank you Evelyn you’re Rad. It’s easy enough to go up to the ski resort, a ski lift pass will cost 28’000 chilean pesos (£33) you can get a transfer and hire a board, bindings and boots for around 20’000 chilean pesos (£24). There are a variety of runs that cater for both beginners and more advanced riders! My favourite thing about snowboarding on the Villarrica was the volcano puffing away up on the top of the volcano!
Hydrospeeding, also known as river boarding and white water sledging involves swimming down water rapids using a floatation device! Now, I feel I should admit I was terrified of this particular activity – but it was super good fun! Again we had a really good crew from the Chilli Kiwi in attendance, and we all really enjoyed it. We were picked up from the hostel and transported to the beginning of the river, where we changed into wet suits, life jackets, helmets and flippers. Being winter, it was cold but the positive to this was that the water was high and we were further from the rocks! We Jumped in the river and had a practise at how to get on and off our boards and also what to do in an emergency, such as losing your board (which I also managed!) One guide went at the front and another toward the back who helped keep us in our line formation, and then a boat at the back! If at any time we had any trouble they would have stuck us in the boat!
There were three rapids in the river that we travelled down – and it was incredibly fun! The first two were level 2 and the third level 3. In the biggest section of rapids, I was thrown off my board as was my pal Jess and whilst the guide was attending to her I was getting swept towards an area of rocks and my level of hysteria steadily rose the closer I got to them! Thankfully the guide come and grabbed me and gave me his float – moments later it was all over and we were getting out. I would have happily got straight back in the boat and done it again! It was a fantastic afternoon and I would highly encourage you to give it a go! I was worried about how safe an activity like this would be before I went, but I didn’t feel in real danger at any point. Cost was 28’000 chilean pesos (£30).
Termus Geometricas is a hot spring complex located about an hours drive outside of Pucon, Chili Kiwi can arrange a day trip here for you where you are picked up and dropped off at the springs, you then enter the springs, enjoy a seriously relaxing afternoon, and are then transferred back to the hostel. The standard entrance fee is 24’000 chilean pesos (£28) if you have your own transport. There are 17 slate covered pools of natural hot springs to enjoy in the midst of the native forest of Villarrica National Park. The complex has attractive red wooden footbridges throughout to transfer you from pool to pool, there is plenty of space, so wether you want some space to contemplate your surroundings or more space to share some good company, you will find it here. There are private bathrooms, locker rooms and seats all the way through the area. When you’ve finished there is a cafe with two large fires to help you warm up. When I visited it snowed – it was so beautiful, I would highly recommend visiting the Termus Geometricas whilst in Pucon.
There are some free activities in Pucon, such as the waterfall walk – there is a treasure map at chilli kiwi to help guide you to this!) and a visit to the Huerquehue National Park is only a short bus journey away and will cost 2’500 chilean pesos entry (£3).
You could also rent a kayak or paddle board from Chilli Kiwi and explore the Lake and maybe find somewhere cool to take a picnic.
When to visit Pucon
Summer – October to March
Ski Season – June to September
I visited Pucon in August, and the weather was great for snowboarding, however if you are hoping to climb the volcano – the summer months may suit you better. I nearly didn’t visit Pucon based on some advise from some Brazilians on the Easter Island – and the fact that I missed my overnight bus because of the delayed flight! However the the Chili Kiwi provided great advice and I am so happy I still made it down, so don’t be put off!
Whenever you decide to visit Pucon – there will be plenty of beautiful places to visit and adrenaline fueled activities to take part in.
Love B x