A Last Visit (we think) to Pucon
We visited Pucon the second weekend we were in Temuco, and we visited again when Sarah’s family came to visit. It’s less than 2 hours away from us in Temuco and has so many options for outdoor enthusiasts. Even after visiting it twice, there was much more that we wanted to do, so Sarah and I planned another weekend getaway in which we just tried to knock off as many things on the list as possible.
Hot springs are really popular in Pucon. We’ve been to a couple, but there was one that Sarah really wanted to go to. It’s called Termas Geometricas, and it’s about 400 meters of hot springs down a long winding Japanese-inspired path. We went during the day so we could see everything around it. It was really awesome. The place was fairly crowded, but we found a spot in a pool with a couple other adults that kept to themselves. We packed some food/drink and just relaxed in the waters. We jumped around from pool to pool, and walked the entire 400 meters to see all the pools and waterfalls. The termas were about 2 hours outside of Pucon, so it was a bit of a hike to get there (we went with a tour that provided transportation – we wanted to give Lemmy a break), and while it was far to get to, it was worth it.
Side note: on our way there, we made a pit-stop at a small beach to stretch our legs and look out over the water. There was a pupper out there that was excited to see a bus full of tourists. So excited that he hopped onto the bus and didn’t want to leave. The driver kept picking the dog up and setting him outside, only to then dart back onto the bus. He, like all dogs, was very good.
White Water Rafting on the Alto Route
Since our first visit to Pucon, I really wanted to go white water rafting. I’ve been a couple times before and have always enjoyed it. There were many tour companies that did two different routes (Alto & Bajo) in Pucon. We tried to talk Sarah’s family into it, but there was enough hesitance that we decided to do it on our own when we returned to Pucon. We found a tour group and signed up for the Alto route (as it has bigger rapids) and were ready to go. They drove us about 30 minutes to a spot up the river in which we’d get into wet suits and all our other gear. We got separated into different boats, and we were sorted into a group of five with one guide. Our boat that we were in was a bit of an XL boat if you asked me, so I felt like we’d be pretty safe and sturdy throughout. We got onto the river and it was awesome. The water was freezing, but the wetsuits did the trick. The sun was shining and the views from the water were fantastic. Half way through, we encountered a rapid that apparently was too unsafe for tourists, and therefore, they had us hop onto shore and then walk up a little bit. Unbeknown to us, they had us walk over to a 20-ft cliff that we had to jump off of to get back to our boats haha. I wasn’t looking forward to jumping into the freezing cold water, but when there is a line of people, and they just quickly count down from 3, you just have to jump.
The rest of the tour was pretty straight forward, with some great rapids and great views. We were nearing the end of the tour when our guide has us turn the boat around and paddle fairly quickly. Welp, he purposefully rammed us right into a rock that no one saw and ended up flipping two people out of the boat (not Sarah or me). It was pretty funny as the guide just laughed asking them all what happened. The tour finished up, we went back and changed clothes and then were shuttled back into town. This was Sarah’s first white water rafting experience and I know she really enjoyed it.
Hiking Los Lagos Trail in Huerquehue National Park
Even though we’ve been to Pucon twice, we’ve yet to explore the parks around it for some hiking. There are many options, but we opted for the Los Lagos Trail within Huerquehue National Park, as reviews told us this was the most popular and had many scenic spots around the lakes that you hike to. There were a couple other options, but they relied on a clear day in which you see the vast landscape from the top of the mountains. Given it was cloudy, we took the safer route. The trail was well marked and easy to navigate. Unfortunately, since it’s rainy season, the trail was quite muddy, so we did have to spend more time looking down to ensure proper footing then we would have liked. Also, the trail was a bit more crowded than I wanted, but that happens – we did pick the “popular” trail after all. Once we got near the lakes, the weather got cooler (we were higher in elevation), and there was actually snow on the ground. At times, the sun would peek through the clouds and make the snow on the trees melt so it felt like it was raining. It was a pretty cool environment to be in. Once at the top, we took some shorter trails to a couple different lakes. The views were great as there were full grown trees right at the base of the lake and the hills and then there were snow-covered mountains in the background. Very scenic. We found a decent spot for a quick lunch and then made our way back down. The hike lasted a little over 5 hours, but was a good workout with some rewarding views.
Prior to heading back to Pucon, we wanted to play 9-holes at the Peninsula Course (that I played at back in February). However, as we arrived, we found out that you needed an off-season pass to play, and that the rental clubs weren’t available. Therefore, we googled the nearest course and found one another 45 minutes away that was on our way back to Pucon. We opted for 9-holes there, and had some pretty great views of the volcano in the background. There was no one else on the course, so it was nice to just relax and play some golf (oh, how I miss it).
We thought the excitement of the weekend was done, but on our way back, we witnessed quite the car accident. We were on a two-lane highway, and Lemmy was the middle car, with an SUV in front of us, and a car behind us. All three cars were headed the same direction. The SUV in front of us started to slow down and had it’s left-turn signal on. We saw a long driveway that this SUV was clearly getting ready to turn into. Well, the car behind us, was a bit impatient and as they noticed that our car was slowing down, he must not have seen the SUV in front of us because he tried to pass us on the left. Well, the combination of a car turning left with another car speeding into that same lane, led to a T-bone between the two cars, with the SUV actually getting rolled over. I saw it all happen over my shoulder. We quickly pulled over and ran to the cars to see if everyone was alright (which they were, a miracle honestly). Once we knew everyone was okay, and after a brief attempt to clear some of the debris, we went on our way. Apparently, since no one was injured, there was no need to share a story of who was at fault as the insurance in Chile works a little different for property damage. Just to reiterate, we’re fine and Lemmy was untouched!
And…that was about it for our time in Pucon!