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Hiking the Villarrica Volcano

Volcan Villarrica

From Valparaiso we went south to Pucon with one purpose: hiking the Villarrica Volcano! Pucon has that mountain town feeling, very clean, rustic wood cabins everywhere, offering many outdoor activities with gorgeous views to the Villarrica volcano and the Vilarrica lake. We had heard comments that the excursions to the volcano can depend on the weather so we went to a guide agency right away to make sure we could go the next day.  They also recommended us a cozy hostel/house ran by a sweet Chilean lady named Lucia.

Views from Pucon to the volcano

The next day we had an early start enjoying dawn’s first rays of light reflecting off the volcano that was ahead of us. After a quick thirty minute drive we arrived to the bottom of Villarrica to start our adventure. Feeling motivated by the amazing views we started our hike up!

Let’s go!

An old ski lift destroyed by the last eruption

Views from half way up, another volcano in the distance

Half way up we stopped to prepare for the snow and ice. To walk on the ice with crampons was a very strange feeling. I started to gain confidence after a while, but I must confess I was a little nervous trusting them. I guess it’s normal when you have never done it before, or at least I like to tell myself that. Adam was of course a natural. We made rest stops every so often on the way to the top and almost five hours later we finally arrived!

Standing at the top of a volcano looking into the crater was truly unbelievable. Also, the views from the top were amazing, 360 degrees looking at other volcanos and the incredible Andes. We walked around to the other side of the volcano trying to get closer to the edge of the crater. The sulfur gases and smoke were tough to handle, but as we were standing near the edge we were able to see lava erupting from below!!! Words can’t describe the feeling of seeing lava up close in person, you’ll just have to do it yourself one day.

The crater

Lava!

On the top of a volcano!

Coming down was much faster and loads of fun. We got to slide down chutes in the snow and ice! All together this was an amazing experience…we hiked a freaking volcano!

Sliding down the volcano

Explaining the volcanic alert system

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