Journey to the Adventure Capital of Chile; Pucón

Madalyn Wiefering
June 27, 2018

Are you the person that craves that adrenaline rush when your stomach flips at the very top of a roller coaster? Do you love the fight-or-flight response that's triggered from some bumpy, white-water rafting? For those of you searching for the perfect adventurous vacation, look no further than Pucón, Chile. This touristy, but somewhat hidden city in the south of Chile has everything from hiking beautiful volcanoes to horseback riding to the gorgeous hot springs and waterfalls. 

My first tip for people traveling anywhere is to skip the overpriced tourist businesses and instead, meet some locals and offer to pay them to show you around. This option will usually be your cheapest bet and you will make friends and learn even more about the culture. For my trip in Pucón, our local, unofficial tourist just so happened to be our Uber driver and his girlfriend. They were our official taxi for the entire trip, and they showed us all of the best spots.

One of Pucón's most notable attractions, Volcán Villarrica, is also one of Chile's most active volcanoes. But don't be alarmed, it is perfectly safe to visit and hike. If you're brave enough to hike all the way to the top, you can see the hot lava. But don't forget a bag of marshmallows to toast some s'mores!

If you'd rather take a different hiking path that means less snow and more bikini time, take a hike to one of the many waterfalls during the summer or to a hot spring during the winter. Because May to July is Chile's winter, I took my bikini to the Geometricas Termas which directly translates to geometric hot springs. This place is like it came right off of a Pinterest board. The luscious greenery and natural waterfalls are the perfect backdrop for the gorgeous red wood lined hot springs. This is a must visit attraction in Pucón.

The still lake that is situated right below volcán Villarrica is rightly named Lago Villarrica (Lake Villarrica). Río Trancura is a river that flows into the lake and is the perfect place for white water rafting. Whether you come in the winter and have to wear a full bodysuit, like my friends in the picture below, or in the summer when the water will cool you off from the blazing sun, white water rafting is the perfect adventure for any tourist group. If you are with your family, grade III rapids are in the lower part of the river and aren't as rough as grade VI rapids in the upper parts of the river for you and your adrenaline junkie friends. 

If I hadn't already gone horseback riding in Cajon de Maipo, I definitely would have gone in Pucón. Just like I mentioned before, tourist businesses are expensive so go find some local cowboys and offer to pay them to give you a tour on horseback! This is exactly what we did in Cajon de Maipo, and it was the most incredible experience. Although, I can assure you that taking a tour of Pucón on horseback would have been just as beautiful, if not more!

The final adventure I have been dying to do is to ski. Even if you have never been skiing before, why not try for the first time on one of the most beautiful volcanoes in the world! Because it is winter here, it is the perfect time to strap on some skis and hit the slopes. Look below you to see the glimmering lake but look up and you can witness the gentle smoke billowing from the volcano crater. 

Whether you're coming during Chile's warm months (September-April), or during the off-season (May-August), Pucón is the most well-rounded spot for all your adventures. 


The activities in this post were undertaken during the student’s free time and were not sponsored by IES Abroad.

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Madalyn Wiefering

<p>My name is Madalyn and I am 20 years old. I was born and raised in Kentucky, attend the University of Kentucky, and will be studying abroad in Santiago, Chile. I want to use my blog to inspire and be a positive role model for girls and young women interested in the STEM field. I can't wait to share all the adventures I will take and knowledge I will gain while studying medicine in the Spanish language.</p>

2018 Summer 1, 2018 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Kentucky
Fort Thomas, KY
Biological Sciences
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