It was my last two weeks in Chile and while I was excited to get home. I was also keen to make the most of it. With a little money left and some energy, I booked my bus trip to Pucón- a city I had learned loads about from friends and was curious to visit.
In preparation for the trip, I headed to the local shopping centre to find the best deal on buses. As it was over 35 degrees outside (in December), I was keen to take an overnight bus trip. And so, I booked it to head off that night! The bus was due to leave at 23.00 and so, I set off (in usual style) an hour early to the bus station. With a few random turns and wanderings down dodgy streets, I found my way to the station and set up shop right next to where my bus was due to depart. Cue ten past eleven and it turned out, my bus had left without me.
Sad and with a huge backpack at my feet, I approached the information desk and pleaded for another bus. Only to find out that well, many other people wanted a seat to Pucón too. Sadly, there were none available.
As it turns out, being a lost Irish girl in a big city had its positives. A man approached me with a big smile and said he’d give me his seat. He not only carried my bag and helped me settle in, he gave me a blanket and snacks to relax me. Never underestimate the kindness of strangers.
Santiago central to Pucón is a 9.5 hour journey. This is another reason I recommend the overnight bus journey. No surprisingly, upon arriving there, it is necessary to stretch your legs which is a perfect chance to explore the town. As it’s further South, the temperature is lower and so, wrapping up warmer is recommended.
The town of Pucón is right next to the mountains which makes it super picturesque. There are snow-capped mountains and so, the amount of outdoor excursions is plentiful. Some activities I did were cycling (you can rent a bike for as little as 3euro per day), hiking in the forest and sledding down a volcano. These are all accessible and can easily be signed up for at hostels or by searching online.
For me, I couch-surfed for the first night so the hike I went on happened by chance. The guy I stayed with ran hikes each morning and so, he said I could come along. These were based in El Cañi and the hike we did lasted for over 7 hours! This area is easily accessible with a bus from the town to the countryside which costs no more than two euro.
As I moved into the town on the second night, I signed up for activities at my hostel. The hostel I stayed in was La Bicicleta and it comprised of a private room for 35euro per night. This was a bit pricey for hostel however it is more expensive in Pucón and I wanted to pay for quality as it was my last trip.
Finally, the trip up the volcano was the highlight for me and something I highly recommend! The journey comprises of a car trip to Villarica, one of three (active) volcanos in the region. The beauty is that you can get a lift some way up the mountain or you can hike the whole way up. It’s not an adventure for the faint-hearted as it is super steep and covered in snow. Cramp-ons are needed with a full training beforehand. The intense journey up-mountain is followed by sledding down the mountain to the bottom (highly recommend!).
This region in Chile has a high percentage of German influence as so many Germans settled there over hundreds of years. This is reflected in the beers (with Germanic names) and the blonder looking appearance of the locals.
Traveling alone has its perks (as featured here) and this trip was no exception. Doing this adventure with a friend or group would be equally exciting.
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