When you arrive Villarrica first thing you notice is (aside the lake) the tiny bump that breaks horizon and stands alone and smokey at the sky: The Villarrica Volcano.
Second thing you notice when you arrive Villarrica is that the volcano tour costs about 30.000 pesos chilenos (each), third thing you notice at Villarrica is the pisco sour you get in order to forget that.
When you travel, sightseeing is pretty much it. When you live traveling things are the same.
Villarrica and its amazing volcano
A nice day after some lots of pisco sours we decided to go to Pucón to see what was like and we went inside the tourism office to get some pamphlets and to listen to recommendations of what to do there, to our surprise, the lady there was so nice she gave us 3 maps of the area, 4 papers with spas and hot springs schedule and prices and another 2 with schedules and prices of the Huerquehue buses and also a pair of brazaletes with 30% discount at restaurants with promotions. Oh! Also told us we couldn’t go to the volcano because it was closed.
Fun fact: At Pucón Tourism Office isn’t like google, it works more like a weather channel (this we realized when going to Huerquehue, day before we passed by the office again to ask some things and they told us the park was closed due to snow. At the end that was wrong as you can see here), this means that information may not be completely accurate so you better get to the place where you want to go. Or ask for information to any local.
The volcano is found at a national park that has other stuff in it, so the access to the park shouldn’t be completely closed. Then we heard that in winter people use to go there to ski and snowboard (yup, to do snowboarding on top of an active volcano that erupted the month before it’s a little bit more exciting than just go to a snowy mountain, I guess).
The weekend before leaving Villarrica we decided go and taste luck on climbing to the volcano to do some recognition, at the tourism office we were told there wasn’t transport to the volcano, but that by hitchhiking it’s an easy go. Also there are just 7 km from where public transport can leave you to the entry.
And we thought: Oh ok, 7km is an easy walk and we can do it, we’ll go just for a while.
Volcano route, you can take beautiful pics if you’ve been unlucky hitchhiking.
Thank God and to my ability to be on shape, at 3 minutes of our walking we decided go hitchhikers and a mister and his wife pick us up on his truck; The couple lived nearby, but “to us not get a bad picture of chilean people” they decided to give us a ride to the very top… AND THANK GOODNESS. Because those “7km” at the end they were 16km and uphill and the last 2km with snow. And not Huerquehue snow, but really SNOW.
And: The access to the volcano was open, people go to the snow to get a family sunday very nice, they get to ski station and be there with snow, some ski others do snowboards, families play with snowballs and do snowmans… It is all a familiar park at the foot of a lonely mountain with an sleeped dragon inside.
So over thanked with mr. David and his wife for taking us so close to smaug; they decided to turn around and go back almost at the end of the road full of snow because they feared the truck will stuck there (to me that fear begun when we started the snow, to them it came a few miles after, Ha), really there are no words to describe the chilean amiability at this point of the road. They are almost like our family.
And we’re back to snow, this time I wasn’t a newborn bambi and I could walk a few meters before slip and fall on my back again, I could get to a ski station that was a bit upper hill and it was close and abandoned. That made it beautiful.
When we arrived the volcano was covered by a little cloud on top of the mountain and it looked like someone would just wanted to erase a spot on top and he’d spread all the ink but after a couple of pics the cloud was gone and we could appreciate the oreo mc flurry that supposed to be the Villarrica Volcano.
Mr. David’s truck getting away, prove of our success hitchhiking
Closer it is better looking
Mr. David while we were on his truck nicely told us that the volcano was named like that because it first was founded Villarrica before Pucón, but they have an idea to write on the side of the mountain and with very big letters Pucón’s name to see if tourists start to hit with the location of it. We found the idea not bad so we’re seriously planning to open a Kickstarter.
In a few words I can say the volcano is spectacular, snow there is whiter than Huerquehue and I could throw snowballs to Der.
After falling again (and get hit hard), to get down to the other ski station and say goodbye to the volcano, we walked the fake 7km downhill and when we got to the street we started to hitchhike again (with 0 luck this time). It wasn’t until we got to a mapuche restaurant on the road that a cyclist boy saw us and decided to give us a lift to Pucón.
At Pucón, it was getting late and we purchased our ticket to Villarrica, a bit tired of the trip and watching we still got half an hour to the bus my gorgeous boyfriend decided to invite me to a coffee and a sweet treat, so we went to a coffee shop near the terminal to fulfill our 20 minutes romantic date, which 2 I spend em at the bathroom, 8 waiting the coffee and the rest getting my tongue burn and watching this face of “love… you have 5 minutes left”.
“love… you have 5 minutes left”
Then the bus went to Villarrica with us and a coffee and a half on our stomachs and yes, when getting to Villarrica I still got to do the 5km walk to the top like the return from Huerquehue, this time was a bit less hideous but still. D:
Total expenses each 1000 pesos chilenos (2 Dollars)
This is quite simple, being at Villarrica we must get close to the Jac terminal where we can get a ticket to Pucón for 500 pesos chilenos, buses start to depart since 7:50 am and end the service at 9:30 pm, at summer the schedule extends a bit more, and for this occasion we recommend to take one before 11 am to enjoy of the macizo.
On the road is nice, or better you must do, tell the driver you wish to get down at the interception to get to the volcano. He’ll be nice to stop and tell you where to go, so be aware of his signs.
For some reason the guides at Pucón will tell you that this is a 7km route, but actually from the moment you get off the bus to the ski center on foot of the volcano there is about 15km, so I recommend just one thing, if you want to save a lot of money, because easily you can get a taxi or you can hitchhike, there is people constantly getting uphill for 2 reasons or they live there or they’re going to go to the volcano because it is a fairly familiar place, tourism house recommends hitchhike.
When you have enjoyed yourself enough, played with snow, and maybe invested a bit skiing is time to go home, which is very simple, is simply do the same upside down, you begin to descend by the same route you came walking and start to hitchhike until you get a nice soul that gets you a lift, if by the next 15 km nobody stops, I congratulate you you came to the principal way by walking, then you have to wait for a bus that goes to Villarrica on that very street and you’ll conclude your visit.