Traveling in Southern Chile – Pucón

Back when I lived in Chile in 1991, we made a holiday weekend trip to Pucón.  We wanted to explore the south a little further and one of our colleagues’ sister had a house in Pucón so my colleague knew the area well.  So 9 of us rented a van and met my colleague and his girlfriend down in Pucón…  It was going to be a great weekend.!

Getting to Pucón

We drove the Panamerican Highway for what seems like 10 hours to get to Pucón.  I would imagine the Panamerican Highway has been expanded some since 1991 but it seemed a less-than-ideal highway since it is the sole main roadway traversing the length of the country.  Therefore, it is the way for things and people to be transported across the country.  It was very crowded and I pitied the guy who was driving (not sure how he ended up with the assignment out of the 9 of us).  For those of us not driving, we were split into 2 camps:  those who smoked and those who did not.  This being 1991 in Chile and 7 out of the 9 being Argentinians, smoking seemed a very acceptable thing to do in a van all night long.  The 2 of us Americans cracked open a window to get fresher air to complaints of it being too cold – tough…  The stop for dinner in Temuco was wonderful for the break and the food (to this day I remember I had corvina a la vizcaina – a rare fish eater back then, this dish totally won me over to eating fish!.

Then to Enjoy Pucón…

We had, based on our friend’s recommendation, booked rooms at a local lakeside hotel on the shores of Lake Villarica (Hotel del Parque, I think) and close the volcano of the same name.  What a FANTASTIC setting.  We did go up the volcano which had ski slopes (closed at the time).  Not quite Steamboat Springs or Portillo but I am sure fun nevertheless.

300px-pucon-y-su-volcanIn Pucón, besides fantastic local dishes we enjoyed the landscape, very green and with mountains nearby.  Though it was cold enough to be weating a sweater (this was early November so the end of the spring), we decided it would be a fun idea to go whitewater rafting down the Trancura River (around a level 3.5/4).  Only 1 person had whitewater rafted before and not there.  WOW!  That water was freaking cold!!  Straight down from the peaks of the Andes!  It gave us an incredible incentive to remain focused on not turning over or falling into the water.  Our Argentinian friends were very singing-oriented and made up songs as we went down the river – fun crowd to hang with!

Though it was maybe too long a distance for a 3-day weekend, we thoroughly enjoyed yourselves with fun company and a fantastic setting in the Chilean countryside.  I can´t wait to return there some day.

It has been many years since this visit.  Perhaps someone can share other information about Pucón and the neighboring towns?

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