Sights of Pucón, Chile

Many moons ago, I spent a few days in a beautiful corner of ChilePucón.  Pucón, about 480 mi (775 km) south of Santiago, sits on the eastern shorelines of Lake Villarica in the region called Araucanía, looked over by the Villarica volcano.  The town by now has gained reknown for its beautiful setting and the opportunity for great outdoor activities (skiing, hiking, white river rafting, hot springs, etc.).  Maybe it is now a little too popular but its setting is definitely gifted and well worth going down the beaten path to it.  Warning:  The photos are “vintage”, meaning pre-digital and by a dozen years or so!  They may not do justice to this part of Chile – but I hope you can imagine…

map, Santiago, Pucon

“A” Marks the Spot

Nine of us drove down in a minivan, leaving Santiago in the early evening and arriving early the next morning after I-don’t-know-how-many-hours of driving down the Panamerican Highway which was one lane in each direction most of the way (back then).  Thankfully, I didn’t have driving duties so I could try to sleep some.  It was a fun group and a fun ride!

In Pucón

Once in Pucón, we stayed at a hotel on the shores of Lake Villarica, not far from the town itself but not in it.  It was an idyllic spot with a peaceful view of the lake, home-cooked meals, and easy access to the places we wanted to go.

Pucón, Chile, nature, outdoors, volcano

Welcome to Pucón

Villarica, Pucon, hotel, Chile

The lake-facing side of the hotel

The Villarica volcano

One of our first outings was to go up the Villarica volcano, to the top of the ski slopes that sit on it.  Ski season had just ended so I was bummed as I would have loved to ski down a volcano!

Villarica volcano, Chile, snow, ski

The Villarica volcano on nice day

Villarica volcano, ski, Chile, Pucón

The top of the Villarica volcano once we drove up as far as we could. Shame ski season was over!

Chile, Villarica, volcano, tourists

Our group (minus 3) at the volcano

Salto del León

We were lucky that one in our group knew the area as his sister had a house in Pucón.  That got us to see some places perhaps less visited by, er, visitors.  El Salto del León was one of these places.  Beautiful waterfalls in a gorgeous setting.

Salto del León, Pucón, Chile, Trancura, nature, outdoors

Salto del León

The Trancura Valley

The Trancura River is born in the Andes near Pucón and runs its course to the Pacific Ocean.  Snow melt contributes to its waters and the rapid fall in altitude makes its waters fast.  Perfect for white water rafting.  I had never white water rafted before and was not sure about it but it was lots of fun though the water was FRIGID and we were ill-prepared for that!Trancura, white water rafting, Chile, Pucon

That area, sort of east-southeast of Pucón, was simply beautiful.  Lush greens and other vegetation, old bridges, and little development made me feel I was enjoying a unique place.

Trancura, Pucon, Chile, river, nature, outdoors

Scenes from the Trancura Valley

old bridge, Pucón, Chile, Villarica, Trancura

We were not certain our minivan could cross this bridge. We all got out & left only the one driving stay in it!

Trancura, river, Chile, tourism

The fearless group (minus the photographer!)

When I returned to Chile in 2010, I wanted to return to Pucón but there was so much of Chile I had not seen yet that those places (the Atacama desert, Patagonia, etc.) took precedence and my time there ended without returning to Pucón.  But, oh, I shall return!



  1. Pucon sounds amazing, I’ll try and check it out if I’m in the area.
    Katie Featherstone recently posted..Seven big Italian cities, three weeks and an almost non-existant budget.My Profile

  2. Great “vintage” photos.. I love the idea of swooshing down a volcano.

  3. It does look like quite an interesting place – and I hope you get to return
    @mrsoaroundworld recently posted..5 things that make travel easierMy Profile

  4. I can’t imagine even attempting to drive the minivan across that bridge.
    Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted..Weekend Review: Atlanta NBA Road TripMy Profile

  5. Aren’t you lucky you weren’t the one driving that mini-van! You’ll have to go back and ski the volcano!

    • I was very lucky indeed!! 🙂 I am dying to go back and it was a shame I couldn’t pull away one weekend from Santiago when I worked there in 2010 (but I did go to a few other places I had never been!).

  6. I can’t wait to explore Chile, mainly for the wine, but the fact that it’s beautiful is an added bonus. Consider this post bookmarked, unless you’re looking for a return visit.
    Leah recently posted..Making French Macarons in ParisMy Profile

  7. Pucón looks gorgeous. Snow covered volcanoes and waterfalls never go out of style, but the shorts that guy is wearing on the bridge sure does 🙂 At least there is no fanny pack sightings.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..Canoeing with manatees on the Crystal RiverMy Profile

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