Volcan Villarica is one of the most active volcanoes in the region of South America. Pucón is one of the beautiful cities in the south of Chile - Region IX or Araucanía. 5 of us decided and in just 2 weeks bus tickets and accommodation was booked. The troupe consisted of Carla,Militza,Vinayak,Louis & Rohit.
Day 1 [2011-01-22]:
1. Lago Azul:
Lago Azul has numerous small waterfalls with a difference. The water here is distinctly deep blue in colour.
|Pucón Lago Azul|
2. Lago Caburgua:
This is one of the most popular lakes in Pucón only to Villarica Lake. The specialty out here is that the lake bed has sand. The sand is black at one stretch and white at the other stretch. Surrounded by huge mountains and thick forest tree cover.
3. Playa Blanca @ Lago Caburga [White Beach]:
While on our Boat ride we past by Playa Blanca.
|Pucón Playa Blanca|
4. Playa Negra @ Lago Caburga [Black Beach]:
We spent a while here walked along the sandy beach stretch had lunch and left to the Hot water spring.
|Pucón Lago Caburga - Volcan Villarica in the backdrop and Playa Negra|
5. Terma Quimey-Co:
Quimey-Co is a private hot water spring with water maintained at 3 different temperatures. The coolest of the lot is outdoor with open roof.
|Pucón Quimey-Co - Wrist Band|
We spent considerable time in each of the pools playing and relaxing.
|Pucón Hostel - Victor|
|Pucón Salud Volcan!|
Day 2 [2011-01-23]: Volcan Villarica Trek:
We were given strict instructions not to eat anything heavy the previous night and the day of the trek just 2 Bannanas. We were given heavy back packs with snow gear and each carried atleast 2 litres of water accompanied with light lunch.
|Pucón Slopes of Volcan Villarica|
The weather report was clear skies but strong winds. The ski station had shutdown lift service and that meant we had to trek an additional 1 hour. From here on the hike gets tougher and we start to use the Ice-Pick.
|Pucón Tour Operator Uniform|
|Pucón Various other Groups racing Ahead|
Trekking on snow is atleast 3 times harder than trekking on normal rocky terrain. To add to it, we were carrying too much water and other accessories required for the descent.
|Pucón Solitary Soul|
The wind got stronger as we got higher and higher, I was just too dehydrated. I even began to eat the snow as i was too lazy to get the bottle out to sip. The Guide instructed me not to as it contained toxins from the volcano. Initially I began taking a lot of pictures, towards the end i had to pack it back in due to the terrain.
|Pucón Fuming Volcan Crater - Rohit, Militza|
The sun is pretty intense, burns any exposed part of the body. A lot of sun screen and full arm jacket/shirt recommended. We reached the summit at a snails pace. The sight on the top is just too good. I was all too excited to peep into the crater of the volcano. The place stinks of Sulphur, one cannot go too close as the terrain is dangerous, one could easily slip inside the crater :D.
I clicked a lot of pics and took 2 rock samples for my memories. Not sure how I will smuggle that back home to India :D.
The best part is the descent. We slide down the volcano on our asses. I could not take any pictures as it was too dangerous to get the camera out. We wore special gear to prevent our asses from frying along with special lower knee sheath to prevent snow wetting our pants down.
|Pucón Volcan Vegetation!|
We reached Pucón at 1700, just had time for our last Lunch-Dinner and ran to catch our buses to reach Santiago early next morning. We reported to work and did work the following Monday with our aching asses, knees, and backs :D
All in all it was a very special trek and experience. By Chilen Standards, we had covered a great deal of places in a very short period of time.
|Pucón Lago Caburga - Louis,Carla,Militza,Vinayak|
1. Volcan trek cost ranges from 30,000 CLP to 45000 CLP. One has to bargain and strike a deal. We were initially asked to pay up 40000 CLP, after bargaining it was settled for 30000 CLP.
2. There are 2 timings for the trek, 0430 hours and 0730 hours; we weren't lucky for the 0430 hours trek.
3. Trekking on Snow is atleast 3 times harder than trekking on a rocky terrain.
4. You get dehydrated on snow very quickly, you need to keep drinking water.
5. The snow is slippery and hard to grip on, you must learn to use to ice-pick.
6. Sun screen is very much necessary, another pal did not use it, his face is burnt and skin's pealing.
7. Book bus tickets and accomodation atleast a month or couple of months earlier to get a good deal.