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Friday, May 22, 2009

Pucón

We changed our mind, right before leaving Santiago and decided to hop off the bus in Pucón for an extra 500 pesos.

Rafting brought us to Pucón, since it is extremely cheap and has some great rivers to do it. In the end, we didn't do any rafting, but climbed a vocano, an active one.

So after a night spent in the bus (the most confortable bus I've ever been in, but still sleeping on a bus is not for me...) we arrived in town, took a ride from Germano to his hostel, Hostel German and decided to check in there. It's a nice place not so far from the center and almost new. After checking in it was time to hunt for the best price for climbing the volcano and doing some rafting. From the first place where we asked prices (the hostel), to one of the last, we were able to lower the price 50% for the rafting and 1/3 for the volcano climbing. We decided to do only one activity and chose the volcano. Sierra Nevada was the agency we chose, mostly for the price (30000 pesos). We spent the rest of the day doing some shopping and relaxing at the hostel. There were quite a lot of nice people at the hostel, but Andrés, a Chilean Medicine student doing a 1 month internship in Pucón was the nicest one. We spent a lot of time speaking in the evenings after he came back from work.

I kind of missed the alarm clock, or I forgot to turn it on, I don't, but instead of waking up slowly, having a nice breakfast and then checking in at the agency at 6.30, we got up at 6.45 and ran to the agency... Fortunately, we were there right on time and after dressing up the gear we proceeded to the Villarrica Volcano. It's almost a 1h drive to get there. After we got there, the guides ask if we want to go back due to the weather conditions (it's cloudy and there's a high chance of snow or rain, which will force us to turn back without refund) but no one wants to go back! We begin the climbing. It's not easy. It's cold, slippery and climbing on the snow demands a lot more effort than what I'm used to. Nevertheless, I manage to keep the guide's pace and stay with the front group. This made me reach the top, because 150m from the top it started to snow, but my group was above the cloud and it was possible to see the top of the volcano, so we didn't turn back. All the other groups had to turn back, because they had no visibility. I had some gear problems with the gramps (that's what happens when you choose the cheapest company...), but one of the guides was able to fix them (they broke 4 times in the steepest part of the glacier...) and I was the last to reach the crater. Due to this, I only had time to take some pictures, have some water and then had to begin descending, without resting... But it felt great to be at the top. I know that the risks of eruption are minimal, there are only some active fumaroles right now, but standing there on the crater and seing the smoke coming out of it is impressive. The last eruption was in the 80s, the last big eruption was in the 70s. The worst part, as usual, was going downhill. My knees started hurting as usual. We met the other groups that had to turn back at the top of the ski lift, where we stoped to have something to eat and where I could finally rest! Then it was another 30 min to the parking lot, but due to the snow, our van couldn't make it all the way up, so we had to walk another 20 min downhill...

I was really happy to arrive in Pucón because it meant getting rid of those unconfortable boots and I could go to the hostel and take a warm shower! I was feeling extremelly cold. Then it was time to relax. I reached the top and was extremely happy for that :)

Just one last thing, never choose the cheapest company, or if you do so, ask to check the equipment before you decide going with them. Nothing went wrong in the end, but I still wonder how I would have gonne down if they hadn't been able fix my gramps.

1 comment:

Samual James said...

I am currently planning a trip for 3 or 4 nights to Pucon for next year. I would like to know if someone can tell me about the Hotel Antumalal and the Green Park Hotel. We can't decide which hotel would be preferable to stay at.Hosteria en pucon