Volcán Villarrica

Volcán Villarrica, Pucón, Chile, November

Volcán Villarica : Prints Available

Volcán Villarrica, above Pucón, Chile - November. 

The last several days we’ve been in the town of Pucón, at the northern end of the Lakes District of Chile. The beautiful Mt-Fuji-esque Volcán Villarrica rises behind the town, which is situated on the shore of Lago Villarica. Although totally different geographically, Pucón reminds us of San Pedro de Atamaca, in that it’s super touristy, yet has a great relaxed vibe, lots of delicious food, and heaps of activities to do in the surrounding area.

I visited this town in the winter 10 years ago, and am shocked at how much it has changed and grown since then – I can hardly recognize anything about it. I vaguely remember back then one main strip with a few main dusty dirt roads branching off; now it’s a bustling tourist town with a complete network of paved roads, and probably ten times the size. But it still has a great atmosphere, perhaps better than ever.

Hiking Volcan Villarrica, Pucon, Chile

Of course once I saw the snow-smothered volcano, I knew that if we were going to climb it, I’d definitely have to snowboard down! So, I rented a board again and we figured out how to get up there without having to use guide services like most people are obligated to do (just a matter of showing our crampons and ice axes, along with a printed proof of membership in a mountain club – in my case an old email from the Colorado Mountain Club).

Smoking crater of Volcan Villarrica, Pucón, Chile

From the bottom of the little ski area to the 2840m (9317 ft) summit was about a 1500m (5000 ft) climb, all on snow. But this was a cakewalk compared to the grueling tour of Volcán Nevado last week! Another difference was that while we were all alone on the mountain last week, this time we were accompanied by about 100 or so other people, mostly in big guided groups.

Volcán Villarica is an active volcano, and from the summit we were able to peer down into the gaping smoking crater! Pretty amazing!

Snowboarding Volcán Villarrica, Pucón, Chile

There’s me dropping down from the summit.

Snowboarding Volcán Villarrica, Pucón, Chile

It had snowed several days earlier, and the cold nights and sunny days since had transformed the new snow into smooth fresh spring corn snow! Perfect for the long, mellow, cruisey descent. Claudia brought a plastic trash bag and had a blast sliding down the whole way.

Sunset on Volcán Villarrica, from Pucón, Chile

We were stoked to have scored such a perfect day on the volcano! Now we’re still in Pucón, trying to figure out where we’re going next tomorrow. But first, a dip in the nearby hot springs this evening!

6 thoughts on “Volcán Villarrica

    1. Yeah, but they all had plastic butt sleds and seemed to be having a ball sliding down the whole way! There were a few other skiers and snowboarders too… Anyhow, I was certainly glad to have the board!

  1. Great pics! Hey Jack we are in Buenous Aires today and were going to travel to Pucon to hike the volcano but have been hearing that ash is everywhere and now are thinking to head somewhere else for treking. So we have been hearing mixed info.

    So judging by your post that right now it is still good to hike this volcano?

    Any advice would help. Thanks!

    1. Ah Bariloche, land of ccoohlate and steep lines through beautiful granite towers. Have you checked out Cerro Plomo 5000m+ acessible from Valle Nevado ski area near Santiago? Keep it up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *