A ski resort at the foot of a volcano, the best one day solo trek I’ve ever done, mind blowing coffee and the nicest hostel in south America, voted number 1 on hostel world. Aye, that’ll do.
3 reasons why you CANNOT skip Pucon when travelling. Staying at Chili Kiwi was one of those places I planned 3 nights and stayed a week. It has everything. I can fully appreciate and support why it was voted number 1 in the world. The location does help mind, Pucon is stunning. I felt awesome here just walking around it. Almost enough to bring out a Geordie deep V.
My first port of call was new clothes. I was 4-5 months in and rather mucky, more so than usual to say the least. Five pairs of my boxers were holed. I’d stitched two pairs of shorts and my jeans crotch hole was a nun’s sleeve. Luckily there’s a load of second hand shops lining the the main street. If you’re lucky you can find some decent stuff. I did, or at least my sense of style thought I did. However, many would beg to differ. I stocked up on new jeans, warm fleece shirts for what was to come south, T’s and boxers. Felt pretty as punch flaunting my new second hand gear around in the bar that night.
There were three things in Pucon that blew my mind
1. Climbing Volcan Villarica
It was a 3am start and a gruelling up hill challenge but certainly one of the most rewarding things I’ve done with my tiny life. Chili Kiwi can sort it for you and doing it with people from the hostel ads to the fun.
2. Doing the one day Parque National Huerquehue trek solo
I ventured out on the 6am bus from the local Pucon bus stop, an hour later I was in the park at the beginning of the trail. Up hill it took 4 hours, coming back down 1 hour. Reaching the top left me speechless, which happened since ordering a burger paired with 4 craft beers in Valperasio. I sat up there, alone, for 30 mins and another 20 joined by a German lad from the army tens times fitter than myself. The picture below doesn’t do it justice but your eyes will. At the end I relaxed by the lake and went for a well earned sweaty dip.
3. Hitchhiking to the water falls of El Salto del Claro
With a fellow London lad from Chili Kiwi. Setting off in the morning it was a good few hours’ little adventure, even though the falls are quite close to Pucon itself, to arrive at the scene of Peter Andre’s hit where he’s flaunting his six pack with rock solid gelled hair standing in the shallow waters.
It was a pleasure to cook, booze and party in the hostel, just as much as walking up and down the main strip. A favourite jaunt of mine, much to the disliking of my said fellow London mate. Was walking all the way up to the top end for an absolutely blinding coffee at Patagonia Roast.
- Stay at Chili Kiwi, hands down awesome. Ask for the outdoor cabin dorm as it’s new.
- The Volcan Villrica adventure
- Skydive over the volcano
- Walk to waterfalls
- Do the Parque National Huerquehue trek on your own
- Wander the main strip of Pucon
- Hit up some nights clubs, guarantee you’ll find fun
- Ask for the outdoor cabin dorm if you like space, it’s squashed.
- Stay for less than 5 days to really explore all there is to offer and even that’s tight
I felt like Bear Grylls in this place. Once I conquered the volcano, park trek and waterfalls I was practically getting a He-Man tattoo added to the collection across the chest. If you’re lucky, you’ll stay when the there’s a load of Israelis. The girls in particular love to cook and the food they do is amazing.
I be-friended a small group who cooked me up a storm each breakfast time, although initially they like to stick to their groups. Once you make friends with them they’re the complete opposite of there seemingly high walled selves. Open, friendly and warming. So my fellow traveller, that’s why you cannot skip Pucon when travelling.
Tips for healthy eats
- The main super market on the strip has fruits, veg and meat to cook for yourself at the hostel
- Patagonia roast for epic coffee, I know I mention that word a lot but this coffee is truly epic
- Half way along the street called Miguel Ansorena you’ll stumble upon a Thai shack. It’s cracking and fresh.
- Mamas and Tapas for some awesome tapas, believe it or not
- Tio Pablo for healthy eats
- There’s also a small empanada shack that I found impossible to go past without buying several on the main street. There’s no beaches south so I figured it was time to bulk
How to get meat for that protein hit
- I bought fully cooked chickens from the main super market on the strip that lasted a couple of days, tearing off pieces adding them to a veg stir fry.
- The standard 6 egg veg omelette at breakfast always set me up for the day and the kitchens at Chili Kiwi are a pleasure to cook in.
Where to exercise
There’s a modern gym round the corner from Chili’s where you can pay a weeks gym pass. Or running round any part of the large lake and finding a little spot in peace to hang the TRX from a tree is also a pleasure.
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