As I wrote in my article about Pucón, this city has many beautiful places to enjoy nature. Here, I will tell you about the ones I like the most.
If you want to live the whole Pucón experience, it would be convenient that you stayed in the city and just make one-day trips to wherever you want to go. In this case, if like me, you like hostels, I recommend My house is your house, which is in the main street ‘O’Higgins Avenue’. The hosts are extremely kind and I felt really comfortable there. As I mentioned in the previous article, the living room is absolutely homy and well illuminated, plus they give you complete freedom. Besides, this is an incredibly cheap lodging to be so well managed. If you want to know about more lodging options, click here.
Huerquehue National Park
Huerquehue National Park is the place I love the most in Pucón. It is full of Araucaria trees of all sizes, lakes with clear water, and astounding vegetation. The first time I went there, I sat on a rock, watching at the Lake El Toro and the impressive mountains behind it. I even saw a rainbow trout jumping out of the water. It was a bewitching scene.
There are five pathways for touring the park, but take into account that they have different difficulty levels and lengths, it is necessary to decide previously which one you want to take. In the corner of Uruguay and Palguin streets (in FRONT of the JAC bus-terminal), there is the Buses Caburgua bus-terminal, where you should take the one that says ‘Huerquehue’. This bus only leaves a few times a day though:
From Pucón: 08:30, 13:00, 16:00
From Huerquehue: 09:30, 14:10, 17:10
In January and February, the bus also leaves Pucón at 18:20 and comes back at 19:30.
The paths in of Huerquehue National Park
‘Ñirrico’ path is a short walk (about 30 minutes) from which you can get to the official entrance of the park. It is a better option than walking through the car road, because the sun will not hit you directly and it is actually a beautiful path, with a viewpoint to contemplate the Tinquilco Lake.
‘Los Lagos’ path has medium difficulty and it is uphill. It takes about 3 hours to go up, but the return is easily made in 1 or 2 hours tops.
‘San Sebastián’ path has high difficulty, so only choose this one if you are well-trained. Going up takes about 4 hours, but it allows you to observe the snow-covered hills and the Tinquilco Lake from above.
There is also the ‘Los Huerquenes’ path. It is a 2-day trekking (without the return), and you have to go through the ‘Los Lagos’ path before you get there. ‘Renahue’ is the name of the area where you can camp.
If you go to the park by bus, I recommend taking the first one at 08:30 (remember to be on the bus at 08:00 so you can get a seat and assure your travel), and if it is not high season, make sure to be back on the CONAF bus stop at 17:00. I also recommend buying the roundtrip ticket (CLP 3,600 – USD 5.5), instead of the one-way ticket (CLP 2,000 – USD 3).
In the case of Huerquehue National Park, if that is your final destination and prefer to stay there instead of the one-day trip, there are campings outside the park you can book earlier. I have stayed in Camping Olga, which has a beautiful beach in the Tinquilco lake, and tent sites surrounded by trees. There is a nice outdoor space to meet other campers at night and have a warm drink under the stars. Also, they offer the possibility to book a trip to hot springs. I think it is a really good option if you don’t like to be in a rush and really want to enjoy the park.
Huilo Huilo is a huge biological reserve, where everything looks magical. Forests, lakes, and waterfalls will definitely amaze you while touring those paths. It is located approx.120 km from Pucón, and you can go by car or on a guided tour.
If you decide to stay in Huilo Huilo, you have the option of booking a package that includes some of the paths and other services and activities inside the reserve. The most impressive place to stay is the hotel Montaña Mágica, that actually looks like a mountain covered by vines. It is an astounding place, but it is expensive. For more options inside Huilo Huilo click here.
Most of the travel agencies offer a one-day trip to Huilo Huilo. The package uses to include the entrance fee to all the paths they cover, but it does not cover snacks or lunch. They usually stop in Panguipulli and Puerto Fuy, where you can tour for a short time, and in other places in the road where there are viewpoints. The cost of the tour goes from CLP 38,000 (USD 58) to CLP 45,000 (USD 69). Remember that the prices mentioned below do not apply if the attractions are included in a tour.
Some of the highlights in Huilo Huilo
Salto Huilo Huilo (Huilo Huilo waterfall): this is a spectacular spot you cannot miss. The entrance fee is about CLP 3,000 (USD 4.60), but it is free if you are staying inside Huilo Huilo.
La Leona path: this path is also free if you stay inside the reserve, but if not, the cost is about CLP $2,500 (USD 4). Touring this path you will walk through the magnificent native flora, and then meet the beautiful waterfall ‘La Leona’.
Piedras Magnéticas (magnetic stones) path: this one is a little bit longer to tour (3 hours), and it has to be done with a guide. There you can feel the energy of the magnetic stones and if you are lucky, you could also see a little Darwin’s Frog! The price is about CLP 15.000 (USD 23), and keep in mind that this path is usually not included in tours from Pucón.
Bosque De Los Ciervos (Deer Forest): this area of Huilo Huilo takes special care of huemul (buck) and wild boars for preservation since they (and the Darwin’s Frog mentioned before) are in danger. The tour ends in the Los Volcanes museum, which presents the formation of the Earth from the Big Bang. The exhibit includes objects of all over the world and the different Chilean native cultures. The price is CLP 3,000 (USD 4.60), and this is also an attraction included if you stay in Huilo Huilo.
Last, but not least, for both places it is important to consider that this is an area with cold rainy weather, but in the summer it can actually get really hot (up to 30°C – 86°F). I always prefer to go in autumn, because it is less crowded, a little cold but not too much (10°C – 50°F), and the autumn leaves make everything look more like a fairy tale. In any case, I would recommend going with hiking shoes and take a rain jacket.
If you want to know about more places like this in Chile, a great option is Puerto Varas, where you can also visit natural wonders and do many fun activities! To read about it click here.