Pucon, the adventure place

The last time I came to Pucon, I had such a blast that I ratef this place really high. In a matter of fact, climbing the Villareca volcano and sledging my way down was the best thing I did during the whole South American trip. So it wasn’t with any regrets that I decided to join Jenni and Jemma here and slightly changed my initial plans. After staying a few days in Santiago, we finally made it to Pucon on Monday 7th January. The idea was now simple, travel with the girls in south Chile and Argentina so we could all visit Patagonia together.

On our arrival, the sky was overcast but we could see the sun wasn’t too far from breaking out. By the time to check-in, drop our bags and take a well-deserved shower, the sun was already out, chasing those grey clouds away. The temperature was really nice, warmer than expected as we could continue to wear T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops. In the hostel, the owner gave us a brief on the activities available in Pucon. It was already 11am and most activities already have started by then. So we decided that we would visit around a lake located not too far. We met Jarred and Evelyn who decided to join us. The plan was to go by bus to Caburga lake, trekk around the lake then make our way to the waterfalls. A short bus ride later we arrived at our destination: playa blanca. The view was really nice, it reminded me of Annecy, south of France. The sand was burning and the water cool so we went to dip our toes (not having swim wears with us, not expecting the water to be so nice). Then we slowly walk around the lake towards the other end: playa negra. The beach wasn’t so great there so we didn’t stop for long. Got something to eat and continued straight away towards the Ojos de Caburga waterfalls. Along the way we had the beautiful Villareca volcano rising in front of us. Few kilometers later, we turned right and took a path towards the waterfalls. The walk seemed longer than expected but we eventually got to it. The waterfall was so pretty. The colours displayed a variety of blue and green colours. It was definitely worth coming. We stayed there contemplating the waterfalls for a while. It is somehow very relaxing to watch the fury of the water rushing downwards in a clear and quiet pound. The colours were stunning and that what really made us stay there longer. We then slowly made our way back to town, managing to getting a lift for part of the return trip. To finish the day beautifully we got some drinks and snacks at the supermarket and enjoyed a lovely sunset by the pier.
On day two, the girls decided to climb the volcano, a unique experience that I recommend everyone to do if you are in Pucon. Having done it few years ago I decided not to join them in the adventure. Instead I just took the day to relax. I also took the opportunity to shop around to different companies to compare prices to do Canyoning. It was a gorgeous sunny day, no clouds over the volcano which was offering this postcard-like view from the city. The day went on and the girls came back late afternoon. When I saw them, Jemma was resting, totally exhausted from her day and red face down on the bed. Indeed the sun is so strong due to the reflexion on the snow that if you don’t put sunscreen regularly you get burnt. So did Jemma and Jenni. After a nap and a good dinner at a very nice pizza place, we headed towards the Hot springs. We got there between eight and eleven o’clock. The water was warm but not too hot. There wasn’t too many people either which made the whole experience really enjoyable. The sunset was coming late, so by the end of it we were under a clear dark sky full of stars, resting in hot springs. We couldn’t ask for more. An hour drive later we took a shower and passed out in bed, while the rest of the hostel guests were finishing to eat and drink as there was a massive BBQ organised.

Posing at playa blanca

Ojos de Caburga

The girls contemplating the waterfall

On Wednesday we had morning free so we slept in then had a big breakfast at our favourite restaurant. The plan for the day was to rest a bit from the previous big walking day (for the girls) and later on do Canyoning. This was planned for three o’clock. Prior to that, we booked our bus ticket the next day to head to Bariloche, Argentina. The trip would take roughly the whole day as we’d need to stop in San Martin first and wait there few hours before getting the second bus to Bariloche. The girls were told to buy their reciprocal fees prior to the trip as they were travelling with Australian passport. The tickets were bought and later, we got to the agency on time and join the rest of the crew in the minivan. All together we were around fifteen people: a group of five Israeli girls, a couple of Argentina, a bunch of friends from Chile and us. Our two guides were from Spain and had plenty of experience. On our way there we firstly stopped to get our gears (wetsuit, shoes, helmet and harness) and then we got dropped to the start of the walk. Everyone then put on their gears, sunscreen and off we went. The beginning of the walk was flat and easy, for a good fifteen minutes. Later we started with a small drop where we did abseiling. The level of everyone was quite different. The Israeli girls were the less experienced and struggled to go down. So it took a while to go over this little waterfall. Later on, because we spent so much time doing the easy part, the guides split in two groups not to waste too much time. I got the chance to be the first one going down a waterfall inside a cave, showing the others where to go. That was a really cool spot. After everyone went down, we continued walking in this kind of cave/gorge. It was really wet and green all around. We had plenty of fun. We continued seeing splendid landscape as we went down. On the last waterfall the guides made us a zip line which was even more fun. Eventually we got to the end and everyone had the biggest smile on their face. Just another great adventure in a superb landscape. The evening was chilled, just getting organised for tomorrow’s trip and planning to take out US dollars in Chile as we’ve been told.

Getting our gears

Ready for a fun afternoon

Jemma going down the slide

What a scenery

Abseiling in the cave

Wooooot!

So on Thursday morning, we woke up early, had breakfast, withdrew money and rushes to the bus station. We got there right on time as the bus was leaving. The weather was overcast and it wasn’t long before it started raining. The dramatic event broke not too long after we left Pucon. The bus driver assistant went through the bus to check passengers’ tickets and passport. When he arrived at Jenni and Jemma he asked them to confirm they were Australian then asked to see the print out of the reciprocal fee they had to get online. That’s when Jenni told me she didn’t pay the fee yet and was planning to do that in San Martin (which turned out to be not in Chile but in Argentina which mean after the border). The bus driver assistant right away say he cannot let them travel in the bus any longer if they don’t have pay for the fee and printed it out. He was adamant on leaving them right there on the side of the street. Eventually the bus stop and the girls went down the bus, absolutely shocked of not being able to continue the normal trip. As I was using my French passport they told me to keep going and they’d try to join the second bus in San Martin (as there was a four hours stop over). So it’s under the rain with a very nervous laugh that I saw the girls getting off the bus, in the middle of nowhere and they now had to manage to go back to Pucon, get their stuff sorted and hope there will be a bus leaving for the same direction later. It turns out there wasn’t any so after getting their fees paid and printed and trying hard to get to Saint Martin they had to give up and lose both bus fares. They’d join me the next day in Bariloche. So the adventure in Argentina started on my own.

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