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The Ultimate Pucón, Chile Travel Guide

9.2723° S, 71.9776° W

Sunset colors on a lake and volcano in Pucon, Chile.

PUCON IS OFTEN TOUTED AS THE ADVENTURE CAPITAL OF CHILE DUE TO ITS NUMEROUS OUTDOOR ADVENTURE OPPORTUNITIES. BELOW YOU WILL FIND OUR IN-DEPTH TRAVEL GUIDE FOR PUCON AS WELL AS THE TOP 6 ADVENTURES.

 



Often touted as one of the adventure capitals of Chile (and sometimes even known as THE Adventure Capital), the small town of Pucón should be high on every adventurer's must-see travel list.


Located in the central part of the country and roughly two-thirds the way down from Santiago to Puerto Montt, the town of Pucón is very well-located for numerous outdoor pursuits; including, hiking and trekking, rafting, kayaking, canyoneering, climbing and mountain biking.


We decided to spend over a month living in the town, mainly in the hopes of exploring as many mountains as possible and working on our Spanish (as you would expect, one of those came a bit more easily to us).


While we were a bit surprised at the cost of living in Pucón (it is HIGH) we still greatly enjoyed our time there. And honestly, how could you not? The town is an outdoor adventurer's dream: from the dozens of adventure options to the plethora of stores selling any and all gear you would need (there is a Patagonia and a North Face in town), to just the overall feel that the town is full of energy (it also doesn't hurt that vegetarian foods are served widely and plastic bags are pretty much banned).


After a couple of weeks, we were seriously considering rerouting our lives and just putting down roots in the area - it was that good.


In this in-depth Pucón, Chile travel guide you will find information on (almost) all of the best adventures to be had in and around Pucón (there is a lot). As always, if you have any questions please reach out - we are always here to help!




THE BEST TIME TO VISIT PUCON

Pucón experiences 4 relatively clear seasons: summer (between December - February), fall (March - May), winter (June - August) and spring (September - November). The summer season is dry, hot and sunny, while the winters can be cold, cloudy and rainy or snowy (depending on your altitude). In fact, Pucón even has its own small ski resort nearby.


We would say the best time to visit Pucón is in November and December when the weather is super nice - sunny and warm with a few days of rain - and the massive summer crowds haven't arrived just (January and February can be absolutely crazy because of the high number of tourists). Plus, during this time you can still find affordable lodging, book fun tours the day of, and get a more authentic feel for the town.




HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO TRAVEL TO PUCON

Overall, Pucón is a pretty expensive town - especially when it comes to lodging and food. We would say that you can expect to spend around $60 - $80 per person per day in Pucón during the busy season (this includes lodging, food, and tours).


If you are looking to live on the cheap, then definitely plan well in advance so you have more lodging options available and/or try to visit during the off-season (December - though still in the beautiful summer time - is much cheaper than January).


💬 INSIDER TIP: while Pucón overall is pretty pricy, there were still a few things we found to be quite a bit cheaper than other places (especially the USA); including, wine (you can easily find a good bottle or box of wine for less than $3), most fruits and vegetables - especially if purchasing them from the local fruterias, and rental cars (we paid roughly $32 a day for a decent rental car).


💱 Exchange rate (2023): $1 USD = 863 CLP (Chilean pesos)










 

TOP 6 ADVENTURES IN PUCON, CHILE

 







1 | Go for a Hike


Pucón is known to be one of the top adventure hubs in all of Chile - which is really saying something when you consider just the sheer number of adventure possibilities within the narrow South American country.


While rafting might be one of the more popular outdoor pursuits (see more on this below), it is not the only option for outdoor adventure lovers. In fact, we would say that the hiking options are absolutely top notch and should be high on everyone's Pucón travel itinerary.


Below are some of the best hiking areas and trails in and around Pucón:



EL CANI

Located only a short bus ride away from downtown Pucón, El Cani Sanctuary is a great place to go if you want to check out the famous Araucaria trees (also known as Monkey Puzzle trees), get some amazing views of the nearby volcanoes, and visit a few mountain lakes.


This privately owned sanctuary - the first in all of Chile - has one major trail to explore: the Laguna Negra Trail. It measures just over 14.5 kilometers (9 miles) and ends at either a large mountain lake or a stunning mirador. The reserve offers maps with directions and points of interest to all visitors, so you have no chance of getting lost.



DETAILS

COST: it costs 4,000 CLP ($4.60 USD) per person to enter the sanctuary; you will also need to make a reservation beforehand (do it here).

LOCATION: El Cani Sanctuary is located around 30 minutes by bus from Pucón. Find the exact location here.



► Find our full El Cani hiking adventure guide here.





Green forest and mountain lake in Chile





SENDERO LAGOS ANDINOS

If you have your own private car and are looking to check out a much more off the beaten path hiking destination in Pucón, then add the Lagos Andinos hiking trail to your list.


This 9.3 mile out and back trail is actually located in Villarrica National Park - though it is so far from Pucón that you will likely have most of the trail to yourself (especially if you visit on a weekday). The main draw of this route is the opportunity to check out 3 lakes - including the fairly large Huinfiuca Lake. Expect to spend between 4 and 7 hours on the trail.


💬 INSIDER TIP: the sun can be intense out on the trail - especially when you get out of the trees. Make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, water and sun-protective clothing.



DETAILS

COST: depending on the day you visit (and the time you arrive) you may need to pay to enter the national park. It costs 7,200 CLP per person for a foreigner and 3,600 CLP per person for a Chilean ($8.30 and $4.10 USD).

LOCATION: the trailhead for Sendero Lagos Andinos is located quite close to the Chile-Argentina border. From Pucón it takes roughly an hour to drive to the trailhead. Find the exact location here.




EL CLARO WATERFALL

Now if you aren't looking for a long drive and instead want a hike that is close to town so that you can do it in half a day (or less), then consider checking out Salto El Claro. Located just on the outskirts of Pucón, this large, single drop waterfall lies in a stunning green gorge with beautiful flowers and easy access.


The hike itself is quite short - maybe 2 kilometers at most, but it does include a decent amount of elevation loss and gain due to the fact that the trail drops from the rim of the waterfall all the way to the base and the flowing river below.



DETAILS

COST: it costs 2,000 CLP ($2.30 USD) per person to enter the waterfall (though the ticket booth is not always manned).

LOCATION: the waterfall is so close to Pucón that if you don't feel like driving to it you can just spend an hour or two and walk to it instead (its roughly 9 kilometers from downtown Pucón). Find the exact location of El Claro Waterfall here.






2 | Hit the River


There are a ton of tour operators and options available if you are looking to explore the rivers in and around Pucón. A few of the top ways to check out the crystal clear mountain rivers - almost all of which are created from melting glaciers nearby - is to head out on a rafting, kayak or canyoneering tour.



GO RAFTING

If you are looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush, then consider booking a rafting tour along the nearby Turbio River. For the most part, you can plan to spend a couple of hours on a rafting trip. This includes the bus ride to the start/entry point, the actual rafting part and then the drive back to Pucón.


When we went out on the river, it took our group about 15 minutes to get to the entry point on the river, 1 hour rafting on the river and then another 15 minutes to get back to town. So all together we were on the tour for about 1.5 hours.


The river itself is very nice: clear water, great scenery, with a few really run rapids thrown in. And depending on the time of year you are visiting (and your overall comfort level), you can choose to ride Class III or IV rapids on the Turbio (Class V or 5 is the hardest).



DETAILS

COST: between 25,000 and 40,000 CLP per person ($29 and $46 USD). The price seems to depend on the level of rapids, the put in and exit points (some people have private points on the river) and whether photos and videos are included.

TOUR: we booked our rafting tour through Kayak Pucón, which has a shop located right off of O'Higgins. This locally owned shop was a lot of fun - plus they had private entrances and exits on the river, making it super fast to get in and out. Check them out.



❔GOOD TO KNOW: looking for something even more intense? Then consider booking a hydrospeed tour at one of the many operators in Pucón. Hydrospeed is basically swimming in fast whitewater with the help of a floating board (which looks like a tiny boat with the back cut off) and flippers. Like rafting, hydrospeed is a popular activity so you should have no problem finding an outfitter.




Two rafts on the bank in Pucon, Chile





GO KAYAKING

Now if you want to explore the clear rivers near Pucón but you aren't looking to get your heart rate up, then maybe think about heading out on a much calmer kayak trip along the Pucón/Minetue River. This incredibly clear and slightly turquoise river affords kayakers the opportunity to see various plants and animals - most notably birds - take in a nice view of the stunning Villarrica Volcano and spend a few hours soaking up some sunshine.


A kayak tour tends to last a couple of hours, with around 2 hours spent on the river itself. Depending on who you go with, you can expect a short kayak tutorial at the beginning, a quick trip up to a waterfall and maybe the chance to cliff jump at the end of the float.



DETAILS

COST: 20,000 CLP ($23 USD) per person, this includes the float, transportation, all necessary safety gear and a small snack at the end.

TOUR: we highly recommend checking out Aborigenturismo, a locally run operator that is a whole lot of fun (they'll even find you a spot to go cliff jumping if you want). The guides provide helmets and life jackets, transportation to and from the river, and a small victory snack at the end. Reach out to them via Instagram.




Group of kayakers on a blue river in Chile

Kayakers on a river near Pucon, Chile





GO CANYONEERING

If rafting or kayaking isn’t your thing but you still want to head out and explore a bit of the wetter side of Pucón, then we suggest booking a canyoneering tour with one of the guides in town. We went on a 5-hour canyoneering (or canyoning) trip with Aventur, an operator located right off of O'Higgins near the Pucón Tourism Office.


The whole tour was absolutely amazing - from the actual rappels to the opportunity to explore a beautiful river and canyon to just the guides themselves (they were not only very knowledgeable and fun, but they also brought hot tea for us during the really cold parts).



A few key things to know about canyoneering in Pucón:


| You will need to wear good shoes that can be worn in the water. Make sure they have a strong grip and are comfortable enough to walk around on both a trail and in the riverbed itself. We both wore simple running shoes and they worked really great.


❔GOOD TO KNOW: we have heard that some canyoneering tours also offer booties. If that is the case (check first), then you won't have to worry about wearing proper footwear after all.


| Bring extra clothes to change into after the tour is done. We got back and immediately changed into a pair of dry clothes since we were still pretty wet from walking in the river. Also, if you can, bring another pair of shoes - like sandals (because wearing wet shoes for long periods of time kind of sucks).


| You will not be able to bring your phone, GoPro, or camera into the canyon due to the strong current and stronger waterfalls that you will be rappelling down. So just leave them all at home so you don't have to worry about it.


| Plan to face your fears if you haven’t ever rappelled before. Luckily, the tour guides we went with were super focused on safety and making everyone feel comfortable. Understand what you are getting yourself into and push through your fear threshold (you got this!).



DETAILS

COST: it costs 35,000 CLP ($40.50 USD) per person for the 5-hour tour. This includes the wetsuit, neoprene socks, harness and transportation to and from the canyon (plus photos and videos for a bit more).

TOUR: we booked our tour the day of, though we would recommend booking a couple of days before during the really busy season (January - February).



► Want to learn more about canyoneering? Check out our Canyoneering 101 guide.






3 | Explore The Nearby Volcanoes


The Chile Lake District - where Pucón is located - is home to many volcanoes, some of which are still highly active. While Villarrica Volcano is by far the most famous and most regulated volcano in the area (and maybe the whole country) it is not the only option if you are an adventurer looking to summit your own volcano during your stay in Pucón.


Below we outline some of the options, divided into hikes you need to (or at least should do) with a guide and others that are perfectly fine to do by yourself.


❔GOOD TO KNOW: you should only attempt to solo hike a big mountain, like some of the volcanoes listed below, if you are 100% prepared. This means you have the right gear, fitness level and knowledge to safely climb up and back down (the latter is often the sketchiest part). Never put yourself into a dangerous situation if you can help it.




Snowy Villarrica Volcano above Pucon, Chile





WITH A GUIDE

Villarrica is the main attraction when it comes to hiking and trekking in the Pucón area. But it isn’t the only volcano around - in fact, there are many options when it comes to summiting a volcano; including, Lanin Volcano near the Argentina-Chile border, Llaima Volcano farther north, and Mocho Volcano farther southwest near/in Huilo-Huilo.


For the most part, you will need a guide to summit the bigger volcanoes - including Villarrica (unless you can prove you have prior mountaineering, glacier travel, and volcano experience). In Pucón, it is very easy to find a tour agency that does summits of Villarrica (just walk down O’Higgins until you find one that strikes your fancy).


For the other ones - namely, Lanin and Llaima - you might need to reach out to some mountain guides themselves and see if they would help guide you up to the top. This shouldn’t be too hard, and we are sure that if you walk into an adventure shop in town someone will have a contact (or be a guide themselves).





Cloudy Villarrica Volcano in Pucon, Chile





WITHOUT A GUIDE

Now if you are hoping to hike up a volcano but don’t want to go with a guide, then consider doing one of the smaller, less dangerous volcanoes that can also be found all around Pucón.


Do know that you will need some basic experience hiking up larger mountains, as well as a bit of knowledge on how to handle scree fields, hiking in deep sand and rock, crossing snowfields (NOT icefields or glaciers), and what to do if something does go wrong.


Below are two of the best options if you are looking to hike a volcano without a guide:



QUETRUPILLAN VOLCANO

This is a great hike to do if you want to check out the surrounding area of Pucón, spend a full day outside adventuring, and see some other nearby volcanoes (or volcans). To begin the hike, you will need to drive out of town as if you are heading to the Argentina-Chile border. After about 20 kilometers of driving on Road 199, you will turn right onto S-941 (there will be signs for Salto China and Paguin Hot Springs/Termales Paguin).


Drive up this dirt road for another 17 or so kilometers. There will be a turn on the left onto a dirt road that looks a bit sketchy (don’t worry it isn’t that bad). Drive this smaller dirt road until it eventually ends at a gate and a farm. You will need to pay 3000 CLP ($3.50 USD) per person to park and use the owner's facilities (water and bathrooms).


💬 INSIDER TIP: we highly recommend having an offline map with you for the driving part. The roads back there are well-marked, but are still a bit maze-like.


Once parked, you will start the hike up to the top of Quetrupillan Volcano - which you can now clearly see from below.


The hike takes between 4 and 5 hours to get up and about half that time to come back down. Altogether it is about 10 miles round trip and a little over 3,000 feet (915 meters) of elevation gain. There is a very clear trail almost the whole way up; though, once you get within 500 meters of the summit you will need to maneuver up a sandy scree field to reach the rim (this is definitely the most physically challenging part).


But man the views from the top are 100% worth it! From the edge of the caldera (which is now completely filled in with ice and snow), you will be able to see Villarrica Volcano, Lanin Volcano, Mocho and Choshuenco Volcanoes, Llaima Volcano and if the clouds are not too thick, Sollipulli, another dormant, ice-filled volcano.


Once you get your fill of the views, make your way back down the same way that you came up.



DETAILS

COST: 3,000 CLP ($3.50 USD) per person for parking at the trailhead.

DIFFICULTY: moderate to challenging depending on your fitness level.

DISTANCE & TIME: the trail is roughly 10 miles long (round-trip) and should take you a full day, including the 1 hour to drive to the trailhead, ~7 hours on the mountain and another hour to get back to Pucón.

LOCATION: the trailhead is located right on the outskirts of Villarrica National Park. To reach it, you will need to drive just over an hour from Pucón. The route there is 1/2 paved and 1/2 dirt. You will need to take private transportation as no buses go that way. Find the exact location of the Quetrupillan trailhead (we do suggest having an offline map handy when driving to the trailhead. We used maps.me and had no issues).



Check out the Alltrails guide for more hiking information.





Snowy ridgeline on Quetrupillan Volcano in Pucon, Chile





NEVADOS DE SOLLIPULLI

Another awesome volcanic adventure near Pucón is this dormant caldera that is completely filled with a 600 meter deep sheet of ice.


To reach Sollipulli, you will need to drive a fair distance north of Pucón. The drive takes just under 2.5 hours and is about 2/3 on paved highway and 1/3 on dirt (the last bit of dirt road is quite rugged and steep so you may actually need to park farther down from the trailhead and walk a bit more).


The trailhead for Sollipulli is located in the Villarrica Reserve, which is different than Villarrica National Park (the park closest to Pucón). The reserve is a bit smaller - though no less beautiful. Along the trail up to the Sollipulli caldera you will pass through large forests of Araucaria trees, mossy covered pines, and many colorful wildflowers before popping out into an open lava-rock strewn valley, where, if it is a clear day, you will be able to the see snow covered and stoic Llaima volcano behind you.


It took us roughly 3 hours to reach the rim of the caldera and then just over an hour to get back down to the trailhead. We would rate this hike as moderate to difficult mainly due to the rather high elevation gain over a short distance: 1,060 meters in ~6.4 kilometers (or 3,480 feet over ~4 miles).



DETAILS

COST: free to enter the reserve; though you will need to sign in before starting your hike.

DISTANCE & TIME: the trail is 7.8 miles (12.5 kilometers) round-trip and should take about 4-5 hours total; add on 5 hours of driving to and from the trailhead and you have a full day of adventure.

DIFFICULTY: we would rate this hike as moderate to difficult depending on your fitness level.

LOCATION: the trailhead is located near the town of Melipueco. It should take about 2.5 hours to reach the start of the trail from downtown Pucón. You will need your own private vehicle as we saw no buses running the route. Find the exact location of the trailhead.



➳ Check out the Alltrails guide for more information on the hike up to the top of Sollipulli.




GEAR TO HAVE WITH YOU WHEN HIKING A VOLCANO

Below is some of the key gear you should bring with you when attempting to hike your own volcano sans a guide.


| Sun Protection: including a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and lightweight clothing that can help protect you from the sun (long sleeves, pants, etc.).


| Boots that can handle dirt, sand, rocks, and snow: you will cross a lot of different terrains so make sure to wear shoes that can handle all kinds of situations. This pair from Asolo would work great.


| A warm jacket and a windbreaker: while it will likely be quite hot while hiking up to the volcanoes, once at the top you can expect some pretty cold wind - especially on the top of Sollipulli (that sheet of ice is coooold). Come prepared so you aren’t freezing at the top. We especially like this jacket from Columbia due to its double water-resistant fabric and stuffability.






4 | Swim in Villarrica Lake


Definitely one of the top things you need to do if visiting Pucón during the hot summer months (namely December - February) is to jump into the very refreshing Villarrica Lake (Lago Villarrica). There are two main access points in town: one large beach at the far northern end of town known as Playa Grande, and one closer to downtown known locally as the “pool” or La Poza (this is where the boat dock and small marina are).


In the afternoon and evening (especially on weekends) both beaches can be absolutely packed with people. But if you visit during the morning or early afternoon you should have the black sand beaches to yourself.


The lake water itself is very clear and the perfect temperature - not too warm and not too cold. It is simply refreshing.




Clear morning on Villarrica Lake in Pucon, Chile





WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU TO THE LAKE


| Sun hat and sunglasses: you may have gathered by now that the sun in Pucón can be intense. If you are planning to spend some time out in the sun - especially on the black sand beaches - definitely come prepared with ample sun protection.


| Shoes you can walk in on sand: the black sand gets very hot during the middle of the day so make sure to wear shoes that will keep your feet comfortable (we personally like Tevas).


| Some water, snacks, and a bit of money to purchase drinks and other food at the nearby cafes and restaurants.


| A swimsuit! Don't skimp on swimming in the lake (it is sooooo nice). Modest dressing isn't a big deal, so don't worry about wearing that bikini that is a bit thin on the coverage 😊






5 | Take in a Sunset


Pucón can have some truly magical sunsets - especially on evenings when the clouds are just right so you get bright, vibrant colors and a fluorescent glow on the snowy side of Villarrica Volcano. There are a few top ways to see the sunset in town. Below are two of our favorites.




BOAT RIDE ON THE LAKE

If you want to see the sunset in a more special way, then consider booking a ticket on one of the catamaran boats that head out onto Villarrica Lake for an hour-long sunset ride. It costs 5000 CLP ($5.80) per person for the ride. You can purchase your tickets ahead of time or right at the boat dock on La Poza beach on the west side of town.


💬 INSIDER TIP: on a windy day, the waves can crash into the front of the boat and sometimes soak your feet and the people sitting in the front row. If you don’t feel like getting wet, try to sit farther back.




Sunset colors on the mountains behind Pucon, Chile





OTHER TOP LOCATIONS FOR SUNSET

Some other great spots to see the sunset colors in Pucón are simply along the same beach that the boats leave from, on the far right side of Playa Grande (the bigger beach in town), from the Plaza de Armas and from any rooftop restaurant.


💬 INSIDER TIP: if you have the energy and you are visiting at a good time, you may also be able to see the glow of the Villarrica Volcano once it gets totally dark out. We found that some of the best spots for seeing the red glow are from the La Poza/the pool and the middle of Plaza de Armas.


Likewise, if you are looking for an extra special treat for sunset, consider popping into one of the numerous bars in Pucón for a local beer or a pisco sour (a Chilean specialty) before the colors really begin.


Some of the best bars in Pucón are:


| Mamas and Tapas: a popular late night spot that is a bit more upscale (and therefore pricy), dancing often starts after midnight.


| Beerhouse Pucón: this laid-back bar offers lots of beers and cocktails as well as some tasty burgers and fries. If you want something a bit more chill, come here.


| El Camino: the closest thing to a dive bar in Pucón, this hopping spot has lots of beverage options as well as tasty fries (we recommend the vegetarian one with caramelized onions and peppers).


| Selina: this super hip hostel/coliving spot located near the Plaza de Armas offers up some delicious pisco sours. We recommend ordering the one with ginger and passion fruit.






6 | Visit the Nearby National Parks


Pucón is pretty much surrounded on all sides by protected land. This includes two amazing national parks: Villarrica and Huerquehue. Below is a basic outline of what you can expect in either park (don't worry - both are definitely worth visiting).




VILLARRICA NATIONAL PARK

This is definitely one of the most popular places to explore in Pucón - especially if you are looking to hike a volcano. There are a number of trails available, including the multi-day Villarrica Traverse (total distance: 92 kilometers), and the opportunity to check out the local ski hill (and even ride a chairlift).


The main entrance to the park is just outside of Pucón and can easily be accessed via a personal car. From that entrance you can hike up and around the volcano, check out some caves and just take in the majestic view of snowy Villarrica.


Some of the best hikes in Villarrica National Park are Los Crateres Viewpoint (4.9 miles), Cuevas Volcanicas (1.9 miles) - this loop is to some natural caves - and Glacier Voipir (7.3 miles) - this out and back trail is actually located on the much quieter western side of the park. If you want awesome views of Villarrica without the crowds come here (though you will need a private vehicle with 4x4 though).




HUERQUEHUE NATIONAL PARK

A bit farther away from Pucón, but no less beautiful, Huerquehue National Park is another amazing destination for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. This national park is home to numerous mountain lakes, large and impressive Araucaria forests and some great viewpoints. While there are no big peaks like you can find in Villarrica National Park (or in Conguillio - another park a bit farther north), you can definitely still have a great day in the mountains of Huerquehue.


The most popular adventure is to hike the Huerquehue Lakes Trail, a 13-kilometer (8 mile) long trail that climbs up from Trinquilo Lake and then loops around numerous clear mountain lakes or lagunas before heading back down the route you climbed up. Expect to spend a couple of hours on the trail - especially if you want to visit all of the lakes.



► You can find our full in-depth guide on exploring Huerquehue National Park here.





Araucaria trees and lake in Huerquehue National Park





\\ Other Fun Things to Do in Pucón, Chile


The six aforementioned adventures are definitely some of the top things to do in Pucón, Chile - but as you would expect from a place that is often touted as the adventure capital of Chile - there is a lot on offer. This includes rock climbing, visiting hot springs (termales), mountain biking, horseback riding and jet skiing.


We will only cover two of the above activities, but if you are curious to learn more about the other options, we highly recommend checking out the Pucón Tourism Office, which is located off of O'Higgins.




GO ROCK CLIMBING

If you are looking for a truly off the beaten path adventure and you happen to have some climbing gear with you, then consider spending a day or two out at one of the rock climbing spots near Pucón. Our favorite is El Cerduo, a large rock wall on private property that is less than 20 minutes from downtown Pucón.


The routes at El Cerduo are mostly rated as 5.9 to 5.11, though there are a few easier options if you are not quite at that level yet or if you just want to ease yourself into it. To reach the rock, you will need a private vehicle (maybe even one with 4-wheel drive) and an offline map to guide you there (it is well signed but not easily found on Google Maps).


► Find some of the climbing routes on Mountain Project.




EXPLORE THE HOT SPRINGS

Maybe it was because we visited during the middle of the summer or because we just didn't feel like spending over $15 USD to visit a no longer natural hot spring, but during our whole month living in Pucón we never once booked a hot springs tour.


But, with that being said, we definitely get the appeal of exploring some of the hot springs in the Pucón area - especially if you are visiting during the winter or fall season when the weather is much cooler and rainier.


Some of the most popular hot springs in and around Pucón are:


| Termas Geometricas: this is definitely the most famous hot spring in the Pucón area. Similar in style to a Japanese onsen, this termas is located about 2 hours south of Pucón close to the town of Coñaripe. The hot spring consists of numerous pools and costs 44,000 - 48,000 CLP per person ($51 - $56 USD). This is a popular day trip from Pucón and many agencies offer a package. Find more information here.


| Montevivo: this more laid back hot spring is located along the International Road (the one that heads towards Argentina). It is open Wednesday to Sunday and in three three-hour increments (11AM - 2PM, 2PM - 5PM and 5PM - 8PM). It costs 25,000 CLP ($29 USD) per adult and 12,000 CLP ($14 USD) for a child.


| Menetúe: another somewhat popular hot spring is this picturesque and relaxed resort that includes 5 different pools. Located close to Montevivo and roughly 45 minutes from Pucón, this is a great spot to head to if you want to relax in the hot springs and spend a few nights out of town (cabins are available to rent). Prices depend on whether you want lunch or not, but expect to pay between 25,000 and 35,000 CLP per person ($29 - $41 USD). Find more information here.




Hot spring resort in Pucon, Chile.
Termas Geometricas. PC ArchDaily.






 

TRAVELING TO PUCON, CHILE | IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW

 






HOW TO GET TO PUCON, CHILE


BY BUS

Due to Pucón's popularity, it is quite easy to reach the town via bus. Depending on where you are starting from, you will likely need to first head through the larger town of Villarrica and then on to Pucón. Below are a few of the most common bus routes (with average time and prices) to Pucón:


SANTIAGO --> PUCON: 10 hours, ~$31-36 USD

PUERTO MONTT --> PUCON: 5 hours, ~$7-10 USD

VALPARAISO --> PUCON: 13 hours, ~$17-79 USD



You can book all of your Chile bus tickets at BusBud.




BY PLANE

The closest major airport to Pucón is in the town of Temuco, located approximately 1.5 hours away. You can take a direct shuttle from the airport to Pucón, which lasts roughly 2 hours and costs 15000 CLP ($17.50 USD) per person. It is possible to both reserve your seat on the shuttle bus ahead of time or just buy your ticket once you land at the airport. The shuttle service is easily picked up right outside the terminal doors. The main company that runs the route is TransAraucania (check out their website).


❔GOOD TO KNOW: the Temuco Airport or Araucanía Airport is very small but modern and clean. There are a few cafes that sell coffee and snacks, some rental car services, and even an airport lounge. But from what we gathered there was NO ATM and it was hard to find drinking water. If you are planning to use cash once you land in Temuco, make sure to pull it out in Santiago before you fly.




BY CAR

It is also possible to rent a car directly at the airport terminal in Temuco and then drive to Pucón. We didn’t look at prices too much, but we do know that the going rate for a car rental in the Pucón area is between $30 and $50 USD so we would guess that would be the case at the airport as well.


If you have a car and are coming from other towns in Chile or Argentina, you can usually find free (or very cheap) parking on many of the larger streets in town. Some of the basic driving distances to Pucón are:


| FROM SANTIAGO: 8 hours

| FROM PUERTO MONTT: 3 hours and 45 minutes

| FROM VALPARAISO: just over 9 hours

| FROM PUNTA ARENAS (via Argentina): 26 hours

| FROM SAN MARTIN DE LOS ANDES, ARGENTINA: just under 3 hours



➳ You can find the cheapest car rentals in Chile, and many other countries around the world, at Rentalcars.com.




Sunny day in Pucon, Chile





HOW TO GET AROUND PUCON, CHILE



WALK AROUND

Pucón is not a very large town. In fact, if you are only sticking to the more touristy areas, the town is only 7x4 blocks wide.


Walking from one side of town to the other should take you 10 or so minutes. Along the way you can stop in at numerous cafes, restaurants, tour agencies, grocery stores and clothing stores. Unless you are planning to head out of town on your own (maybe to explore some of the mountains, other lakes, waterfalls or hot springs) you shouldn’t have to worry about renting a mode of transportation like a bike or car.




RENT A CAR

Now with that being said, if you are someone who wants a bit more freedom - mainly the ability to go explore those more off-the-beaten-path places in and around Pucón - then you may want to look into renting a car for a few days.


We ended up renting a car for nearly a month (since we were living in Pucón for 30+ days) and honestly, it was a game changer. Because we had our own set of wheels we were able to drive out and explore some truly amazing places without the headache of figuring out the bus schedule (that does get exhausting after a while) or booking tours.


It cost us around $32 USD per day to rent a small, but highly fuel-efficient car that could seat 4 (small) people. We rented our car from Pucón Rent a Car, which is a locally owned shop located on the corner of Pedro de Valdivia and Arauco (exact location).




RENT A BIKE

If a car is a bit much, but you still want to be able to head out a bit farther from Pucón then renting a bike may be the way to go. Many of the guiding shops have bikes to rent - from smaller gravel grinder bikes to full-on, super fancy mountain bikes. Walk around town until you find a spot with the bike you like.


It seems like the going rate for a full-day bike rental in Pucón is between $15 and $20 USD. Though we would suspect that you might be able to get a deal if you are planning to rent a bike for a longer amount of time (say a week). We found that Pucón Chile Rafting, a travel outfitter on O'Higgins, had some of the nicest bikes at fair rental prices.




 



Pucón has a whole lot to offer the adventurous traveler - from rafting along the Turbio River to summiting a snowy volcano to exploring ancient forests of Araucaria trees. Seriously, it is no wonder that this small central Chilean town has claimed the title of the adventure capital of Chile.