Pucón is one of my favorite places in the world. I love it, because, even being a little city, there is practically nothing you cannot do there! I am not afraid at all of keeping your hopes high since I am sure everyone would find something amazing about it. It is located in the shore of Lake Villarrica in the Araucanía Region, 780 km from Santiago (the capital of Chile). It is known for being near the Villarrica volcano, and being the center of adventure tourism in Chile.
The City The city is small, but it lacks nothing. There, you can find supermarkets that close late, all kinds of restaurants, coffee houses and bars, drugstores, and many travel agencies to find the perfect activity for you at the best price. The architecture is different from other cities in Chile, because of the German merchants and immigrant families who came into the city after it was created. Hence, touring the city is the perfect way to begin a journey in Pucón. If you reach the end of O’Higgins Avenue, you will also find the ‘La Poza’ pier, beautifully designed, with an astonishing view to the Villarrica volcano.
Lodging Since this is a highly touristic place, there are many lodging options; beautiful (and expensive) hotels, numerous hostels and interesting shelters. As I mentioned in the Puerto Varas article, I prefer to stay in hostels, because they usually make me feel at home. In Pucón I’ve stayed in three, and all of them have been great! Also, they are close to the main street. The first two were Hostal Irma and Hostal Lucía, hosted by their respective owners. These women are extremely kind, I enjoyed staying in both places very much. You can get a personal room, with shared bathroom, and have free access to the kitchen. They are located in Fresia street. The third place I’ve stayed in is My house is your house, whose hostess is as kind as the previous ones. This hostel is in O’Higgins Avenue. In terms of beauty, this is the one I liked the most! It has a nicely decorated living room illuminated by huge windows. Prices vary from CLP 16,000 (USD 24) to CLP 30,000 (USD 45) depending on the hostel and season. If you are looking for something cheaper, shelters and camping are good options.
Activities As I said before, Pucón offers many activities, particularly for adventurers. Among these, sightseeing, boat trips, trekking, and extreme sports can be found.
Ojos del Caburgua (Eyes of the Caburgua)
This the first place I recommend because it has a fascinating vibe, plus, it is quick to tour (approx. 30 minutes) and near to the city (20 km). Paths to walk through the woods allow seeing three little but dazzling waterfalls, that fall into deep blue waters. In the corner of Uruguay and Palguin streets (in FRONT of the JAC bus-terminal), there is the Buses Caburgua terminal, from which buses leave to Ojos del Caburgua (CLP 800 – USD 1.2). The entrance fee for people on foot is CLP 1,000 (USD 1.5), and CLP 1,500 (USD 2.5) if you go by car. The bus stop is named “El Cristo”, and it is recognizable by a statue of Christ by the side of the road, and you can also tell the bus driver to let you know when you have arrived. It is important to keep in mind that this trip will be more enjoyable with nice weather, otherwise, things will get… muddy. Considering this is a short trip, in the same place where you got off, you can take the same bus, to Playa Blanca (White Beach), where you can relax in front of a spectacular view.
Huerquehue National Park
This can be either a one day trip or a longer stay. It depends on what pathways you choose to trek, and on whether you are staying somewhere near it or not. I highly recommend visiting this park, because it is amazingly beautiful. You can go by bus, from the same bus-terminal mentioned above.
It is a biological reserve in the Patagonian Rainforest. There you can find many waterfalls, deer and wild boars, and fascinating views. It is a bit distant from Pucón, but there are tours that take visitors there. Many travel agencies have this tour, even though it is a little expensive, but I would not miss it if I were you!
This activity is extremely demanded in Pucón. Almost all of the travel agencies in the city have a rafting package, where they drive you to the Trancura River, lend you proper clothing, teach you what you need to learn and then accompany the whole team in the adventure. There higher Trancura is for people who have already done it before. For people who have not and families with children, there is the lower Trancura. Rates vary from CLP 10,000 (USD 15) p/p and CLP 30,000 (USD 45) p/p. I personally recommend the Trancura travel agency, due to the amiability of the staff and convenient rates.
This kind of trekking is most expensive than rafting. Rates vary from CLP 40,000 (USD 60) to CLP 100,000 (USD 149) because you need professional tour guides and all the equipment suited for such an activity. In order to do it, you certainly need the full day and make sure you have a good physical condition. In return, though, you might have the most amazing experience.
A common destiny for tourist in Pucón. The most popular is ‘Termas Geométricas’, but also the most expensive one. If you look for something relaxing but cheaper, I recommend ‘Montevivo’ hot springs. Canopy, horse riding, bird watching, paintball, and more activities are available in Pucón, you just have to look for them and look for the best rates, comparing different travel agencies. I would try them all!
Food Pucón has numerous excellent restaurants and coffee houses for all pockets. The most popular ones are ‘Bovinos’, a meat specialist restaurant, and ‘Café de la P’, where you can find delicious chocolates, both located in Bernardo O’Higgins Avenue. If you are looking for something cheaper and familiar though, I recommend ‘La Revancha Del Chino Lee-Chong’, where chorrillanas are abundant and tasty. Looking for a fair price lunch? ‘Balganez’, located in Fresia street, is a certainly good option, and if you are vegetarian or vegan, ‘Sundar Vegetariano’ is your restaurant, located in Ansorena street. Last but not least, a weakness for beer and burgers? ‘BeerHouse’, in General Urrutia street, will give you the best experience as far as this products concern. As soon as you get there, you will realize Pucón is a special place that will remain in your memory, and surely want to visit again.