Pucon and The Lake District

Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
Trip End Dec 29, 2008

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Flag of Chile  , Lake District,
Tuesday, October 7, 2008

We arrived in Pucon in around 8.00pm, our longest bus journey so far (they were to get an awful lot longer!).  We walked to our hostel, Le Teterea, only to find that our previous hostel (same owners as Case Cheucu) had once again screwed up, and had booked us in for yesterday (so much for the legendary German efficiency!).  By this time, we are very tired and more than a tad irritable, fortunately the (Swiss) manager, recognises this and finds us a room (now the Swiss really are efficient!).

lies at the foot of the Villarrica Volcano, 2,847-meter-high active volcano a in the foothills of the Andes.  It is located on the southern shores of Lake Villarrica, one of the first links of a long chain of lakes in southern Chile. 
Villarrica volcano is one of the ten most active volcanos in the world, which has smoke permanently emanating from the top.  Apart from skiing, the big thing to do here, is to climb to the top of the volcano (and slide part way down on your backside!).   Rather than try either of these  (Clive was still feeling the effects of the 8hrs on horseback),  we have a chat with the hostel manager and decide to hire a couple of bikes and ride out to see some of the very beautiful countryside for which this region is deservedly famous.

The bike ride route led us out around the volcano on dirt and gravel roads to "Ojos de Caburga" a waterfall some 20 kilometres out of town and then back along the main tarmac road. We ride through woods and along lakes and rivers, although not as we expected along the flat and "some small slopes",  but mostly uphill! We make it to the waterfall and are totally shattered, but the waterfalls are worth it.  The trip back to Pucon is along a tarmac road but is into the wind and so is not quite the easy ride we were hoping for! Never mind, the views of the volcano (sometimes smoking) and the picture postcard scenery, make it worthwhile.

That night, we treat ourselves to dinner at a Uruguayan restaurant and are served two of the most enormous portions of steak and salmon we have ever seen!  The food in Chile is definitely a major improvement on Peru.

We have some decisions to make as we want to spend a large proportion of our time in South America in Argentina.  We chat with the hostel manager and decide against going further south to take the five lakes route (by boat and bus) into Argentina and instead get the bus direct from Pucon to San Martin de Los Andes and from there drive the seven lakes route to Bariloche once we are in Argentina.

Yet another visit to the bus station to by a ticket and off we go...
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