We were not sure whether to go to Pucon or Villarica, but in the end we chose the first because we figured, since it wasn’t exactly peak season, there’d be more options there than in the smaller Villarrica. We got on another night bus that was going to take 12hrs to Pucon. We were equally surprised and touched when the bus driver came up to where we had our semi-cama (semi-bed) seats and said there were some free cama (bed) seats downstairs and we could go there at no extra charge. A true delight to meet such people on our way, we felt…:).
We reached Pucon on Sunday morning and we loved it from the moment we got off the bus! The air was fresh, the mountains around created a beautiful scenery, and the little cute houses and few people walking around gave the place a lovely rustic feel. We immediately found the perfect guest house, and also immediately came across a helpful French guy who told us that climbing the Vilarrica volcano was the thing to do over there. It was definitely not a cheap endeavor for a backpacker (65 USD) and we knew absolutely nothing about it, but we felt instantly drawn to the idea.
We were staying in an awesome place, a sort of a duplex where we had a 2 room house all to ourselves, with kitchen and bathroom and all. It had a terrace with a table and a swinging chair for those mornings when the weather was kind enough to allow us to enjoy our coffee outdoors. The price was great as well, 6000 a night, and the owners were kind and helpful, taking care of everything we needed on the spot and telling us about all that could be seen and done around.
We were told that climbing the volcano was subject to the whether conditions. The day we arrived was no good, but they suspected the next one would be. We did not want to miss out on that chance, as we didn’t know how the weather was going to develop, so we made sure we got ourselves a seat on a tour the next day. The cheapest option turned out to be the agency exactly below our little ‘house’, and we definitely recommed those guys.
In the evening we went for a walk to the lake (we totally recommend Pucon if you want to chill for a few days in the middle of beautiful nature and fantastic people) and were blown away by the view of the volcano from ‘ground level’. We were excited about having the reverse view the next day – ‘What would the world look like from up there?’ we wondered.
To get ready for next day’s adventure we went for some night time swimming in the thermal waters around Pucon. We left at 8pm and got back at midnight, and it was a full moon too! There were 5 pools there with various temperatures, and the experience turned out to be something along these lines: a swim in the 40C hot pool followed by a dip in the freezing cold river flowing nearby, then another swim in the 30C hot pool followed by a cold shower, then the 40C hot pool again, etc etc. It was good for our immune systems to stress our bodies that way, Silviu said, so we just did what had to be done:). It was quite fun too!! The highlight for me was the watsu session Silviu gave Boca and me – left us completely relaxed and prepared for the next day (or so we thought). 🙂