Pucon, land of volcanos and more lakes
Trip Start Jan 03, 2007
53Trip End Nov 03, 2007
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So, after Bariloche I crossed the mighty Andes. To be honest it wasnt quite as awesome as id expected, but still really cool. I was travelling with a couple of Aussie guys, but we soon went our separate ways once weŽd arrived. I went for a hostel out of my lonely planet book which said it was a great place to meet people, and really great to hang out. Sadly for me, it must have been a bad week as I didnt meet too many nice people, the bed was a whopping 8 quid a night, and it was all a bit pretentious. Nevertheless, I stayed in Pucon for 5 days, during which time i:
Climbed the Worlds most active volcano
Sunbathed by and swam in a lake.
Went white water rafting.
Watched the ending of some kind of important cycle race.
Out of these, climbing Volcan Villarica was the most awesome thing I had seen or done so far. The day started at 7am, a group of 6 of us (plus a guide ) took a car to half way up, then took a chair lift a bit further, then began a painful 4 hour uphill struggle. It began on loose rocks and gravel, but before long had moved onto the glacier. They had provided us with decent overalls, an ice axe, and the most uncomfortable and heavy boots ive ever seen (i might as well have been wearing waders). So we zig zagged our way up, above the clouds, to the summit which was about 2800m (not massively high by Andean standards, but enough for me).
When we got to the top, very breathless, I took in a lungfull of volcanic fumes (reminiscent of sulphuric acid when i was at school). This almost sent me rolling back down the hill, but i managed to stay put, and was treated to the amazing sight of a huge crater in front of me, and an astounding panoramic view on the other side.
Somewhat surprisingly, there was no protective barrier (probably because firstly this is S America, and secondly because every time they build something p there, it erupts and destroys it), and i had to be pretty careful not to slip over the edge where i would surely have suffocated
That was a saturday, and i was hoping for a big night out, but come 9pm i was already fast asleep! I couldnt walk the next day...
The rafting was also good fun, apparently it was a Grade 4 river, but i thought it was pretty tame. There are photos online at
The cycling photos arent so much of the cyclists, more of the... well, you can see for yourselves!