Travel Type: Active
Duration: 7 Days
- Tour Description
Arrival at Temuco airport. Get to know Temuco during a city tour, which will introduce you to the colourful life of its traditional markets. Afterwards, a traditional Mapuche round house or ruca is visited, located slightly outside Temuco, where the owner Sra Juanita will be delighted to tell you about the culture and history, as well as about the present situation, of the indigenous Mapuche, who were the original inhabitants of this region. Sra Juanita belongs to a group known as the ‘Casa de la Mujer Mapuche’ (The House of Mapuche Women), who also manage a craftwork shop in Temuco.
After this informative visit, the tour continues to Curacautín, where you will stay the night in the Hotel del Campo, located about 5mi outside town. The name means ‘Country Hotel’ and is very apt, because the house lies in splendid isolation. It has tastefully decorated rooms, as well as holiday houses.
Day 2 – Lonquimay volcano and Navidad crater
A full-day’s hike on the Lonquimay volcano is planned for you today. The ascent begins near Malacahuello, initially leading through dense forests. Individual araucaria trees begin to appear from an elevation of around 900m/2,953ft. With increasing altitude; you walk through natural araucaria forests until the tree line is reached, at around 1,500m/4,921ft, where a wonderful panoramic view opens up. The lunar landscape of Lonquimay’s lava fields presents a stark contrast to the evergreen forest. After the 4-hour ascent, a bus stands ready for you at a small ski centre, from where your journey continues for several miles via a panoramic route, to reach the Navidad crater. The volcano most recently erupted on Christmas Day, 1988, so the crater left behind was therefore christened ‘Navidad’ – the Christmas Crater. An undemanding 1hr-2hrs long hiking route leads through ash fields to the edge of the crater.
The return drive to the overnight accommodation at your hotel is towards evening.
Day 3 – Conguillio National park and Nevados de Sollipulli
On day two of your journey, you traverse the Conguillio National park from north to south and then commence your hike. The active Llaima volcano that towers above all has caused immense lava fields here, and you will see the evidence of the latest eruptions from 2007. Your hike will take you to the Sierra Nevada mountain chain, from where there are superb views of the Llaima volcano, and the surrounding lakes that dot the deeply green indigenous forests with splashes of blue. The umbrella-shaped araucaria trees that give the region their name can also be seen. They have survived almost unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs and are native to Chile, though otherwise they are rare. Towards evening, you depart from the Conguillio National park in a 4×4 vehicle which can manage the steep unmade road up to the Nevados de Sollipulli Ecocamp. Relax in wood hot tubs under the southern hemisphere’s canopy of stars after an exciting day, followed by a hearty supper in the large and comfortable eating tent. Accommodation at the Ecocamp.
Difficulty: Easy, the hike is customizalbe, between 1,5 and 3 hours.
Day 4 – Ascent to the Nevados de Sollipulli volcano
Today you will hike to the giant crater of Nevados de Sollipulli (16 sq km/6sq mi), South America’s largest crater, which is entirely filled by a glacier. The trek leads through araucaria forests as far as the tree line, and from then onwards, across the volcano’s ash and lava fields. Depending on snow conditions during spring, it can sometimes become necessary to use crampons on the higher elevations. Even in this case, however, the hike remains technically simple and suitable for beginners as well. At the summit, there are breath-taking views of several volcanos and the giant glacier in the crater. The descent follows a different route, past several lagoons. On your return, a warm hot tub awaits you for relaxation once more, as well as a delicious supper at the Ecocamp.
This hike takes between 6hrs-7hrs
Day 5 – Sollipulli – Pucón and the Villarrica caves
Today the journey continues from Sollipulli to Pucón, from where you can explore the mighty Villarrica volcano and its fascinating lava caves. The entrance to the ‘underworld’ of the Villarrica volcano is just 12km/7mi from Pucón. The caves are a stone witness to the many erruptions of this very active volcano. The tunnels were created about two million years ago, when the upper layer of the giant lava flow coming out of Villarrica volcano began to solidify in contact with cold air, while the lower layers of the lava flow continued. Today it is possible to penetrate up to 300m/984ft into the caves, and see a lava flow from the inside.The excursion of around one hour is accompanied by an experienced tour guide. Afterwards, you continue to the Rucapillan ski centre in the Villarrica National park, for a stroll, and to enjoy the views from above ground. Afterwars return to your hotel in Pucón.
Day 6 – Hiking in the El Cañi Nature Reserve
Today you have a choice between two hiking tours:
You can take a discovery tour of the El Cañi Nature Reserve, where one of the earth’s most ancient tree species is protected: the araucaria. In addition, endangered animal species, such as the condor, puma, pudu and Darwin’s frog are resident here. The day begins early in the morning, at an elevation of 400m/1,312ft. A beautiful hiking route leads past small lagoons and through ancient forest that regularly includes araucaria trees. The route covers an increase of 1000m/3,281ft in altitude, but the exertions of the hike are rewarded by a breath-taking view of the Villarrica volcano and lake, as well as of the active Llaima volcano and of the Quetrupillán volcano. It is especially nice to enjoy the panoramic views through the branches of the araucaria trees that crowd into view from all sides. After the descent, return drive to the hotel.
Difficulty:middle, 6 hours approx..
Alternatively: Ascent to the Villarrica volcano
Take an early morning drive accompanied by your tour guide to the ski centre of Rucapillan, set at 1,400m/4,593ft in the Villarrica National park. From there, you can either begin the ascent directly, or travel an additional 400m/1,312ft of elevation by chairlift. The ascent to the crater takes around 4hrs-5hrs using the chairlift first, and 5hrs-6hrs without. Several short rest stops are made during the climb. The effort of the ascent is rewarded with spectacular views into the crater at the summit, as well as by views of the many surrounding volcanoes. With a bit of luck, you can even see lava bubbling at the bottom of the crater and observe glowing spurts: a spectacle you don’t see every day! Towards 3pm in the afternoon, you begin the descent, which is rather unusual: kitted out with specially adapted clothing, you slide down the volcano on snow chutes!
Day 7 – Pucón – Temuco
Transfer to Temuco airport
Appropriate equipment for the ascrnto to the villarrica Volcano, such as crampons and ice picks, are provided.