4 Minutes in South America [VIDEO]

Have you ever dreamed of visiting South America and wondered what it’s like? Check out our ‘4 Minutes in South America’ video for a whirlwind trip through Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos islands! Warning, may cause you to travel…

 

Looking for more South America inspiration? Click on the country page links below:


Stunning Sunsets Above The Incredible Valle de la Luna Chile!

After a 12 hour bus journey, crossing the border from Argentina into Chile, we made our way north to San Pedro, in the heart of the Atacama desert! Arriving here was in stark contrast to our time in Antarctica, freezing temperatures, deep blues and whites replaced with sizzling heat, with strong red and orange colours everywhere we looked.

Valle de la luna

Basing ourselves in San Pedro for a few days, our first trip was to the famous Valle de la luna nearby, a stark and barren landscape which is said to resemble, yep you guessed it, the moon. NASA even tested its Mars rover here before sending it to Mars – if it’s good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for us!

Into the Valle de la Luna, Chile

Jumping into our transport for the day, we headed out through the dusty, sandy desert to our first stop, the three Marias. Now, you’re going to have to use your imagination here to see the ‘three Marias’. To me they looked like three salty formations sticking out of the ground. But what do I know?

Valle de la luna

After leaving the three Marias behind, we headed out further into the valley where we did our best impressions of Neil Armstrong in the Lunar Valley. The place was incredible, awe inspiring and felt very other worldly.

Valle de la luna

Valle de la luna

As the sun began to set, we made it the top of the valley ridge, where we could see the incredible lunar landscape for miles.

Valle de la luna

Then, as the sun began to set, the landscape literally changed colour every few minutes, the valley floor reflecting the deep oranges of the sunset against its own dark orange and red rocks. It didn’t look real!

Valle de la luna

Valle de la luna

And then, the final flourish as everyone was watching the sunset, behind us the gigantic volcano turned a deep red colour to cap off a fantastic few hours!

Valle de la luna

The Valle de la Lunar is an incredible place to see, and a for a few hours we felt as though we were on a different planet!

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Trekking in Torres Del Paine National Park!

After our one day bus tour around Torres Del Paine, we were hungry to get a bit closer to the incredible granite towers of Las Torres, so we signed up for a full day trek to the base look out point just below the towers! Unfortunately Barry had to pull out due to his knee injury from a previous climb, but with encouragement from our good friends Lindsay and John, I decided to go along with them and leave my beloved nomad behind.

torres del paine national park

Into Parque Nacional Torres Del Paine

The morning of the climb, we packed our usual supply of sandwiches, chocolate, sunscreen, clothing layers and camera, and set off early on the 2 hour drive to the park with our expert guide. After navigating around herds of cows, sheep and guanacos (Chilean lamas) we safely arrived at the Torres Del Paine national park ready for the trek. Keen to set some expectations, our guide informed us that the trek was a 18km return journey, which was a similar length to our experience of the Tongariro crossing in New Zealand, but much shorter than our multi day Sapa trekking hike in Vietnam and our Rinjani trekking adventure in Indonesia. The hardest section was to be the last 45 minutes, consisting of an almost vertical climb over very rock terrain to reach our summit! Great, something to look forward to! So with walking poles in hand, we set off on our adventure to the massives!

Much of the first section was an uphill climb, broken up nicely by the odd bridge over the valley’s streams and rivers. Around us we could see the many waterfalls gushing down the sides of the huge mountains that surrounded us.

torres del paine national park

Every so often we’d be unexpectedly interrupted by traffic passing through; horses from the local estancia carting supplies up the valley to the refugio half way along the track, the only form of transport along the route.

torres del paine national park

After a couple of hours trekking and working up a sweat, we were relieved to reach our first break at a nice spot next to the river. Suitably refreshed with water and chocolate (well we were burning calories!) we set off once again, this time through the deep forestry section of the trek. Despite the rain kicking in at this point and layering on the waterproofs and hats, we all enjoyed the change in terrain, and managed to increase our pace through this slighter flatter section of the trek. We found ourselves with renewed energy surrounded by lush green forest, beautiful twisting trees, rustic rickety bridge passes and the odd glimpse of stunning waterfalls on the distant mountains.

Then, after around 3 km of jungle trekking, we spotted the opening in the distance that would reveal our final destination. Excited, we practically ran towards the opening in the trees and glanced left to see the towers looming eerily amongst the dark clouds above us. After admiring the towers for a while and photographing the moment, I noticed the final piece of terrain we were about to encounter. Warned about the hard final section at the start by our guide, I should have expected it, but the steep incline and huge boulders loomed ahead of us worried me a little. Only 45 minutes, I whispered to myself – you can do it. Flanked by our quietly supportive guide and with my friends pushing on ahead, I applied my usual tough trekking technique of getting the head down, counting and powering on.

torres del paine national park

After climbing approximately 400 metres of rock and what felt like more than 45 minutes of pain, we finally reached the top of the boulders. We had just one final push to clamber around the side of the mountain, up and over some even larger rocks and boulders to reach the base look out. Ten minutes later we reached our final destination and we were delighted to be greeted by this sign!

torres del paine national park

With a couple of large groups there already, we decided to go a little further to find our own private spot where we could rest and enjoy the towers by ourselves in all their splendour! Just by luck, the rain had stopped before we arrived and the dark clouds we’d seen from the bottom were starting to lift, to reveal many more metres of the three towers. We congratulated each other and found a nice spot to sit and admire the view of the towers and the beautiful turquoise lake lying still beneath them.

torres del paine national park

After re-energising ourselves with our packed lunches and more chocolate (I was burning lots of calories honest), the cold wind at the high altitude started to bite, so we quickly layered up and began our long descent. Helped by our trekking poles, we managed to descend pretty quickly and powered back through the forest towards our half way point where we had a welcome break before our final push back to our starting point that morning. All in all it took us around 4 hours to reach the Torres base summit and 3 hours to return. Exhausted but very satisfied by a fantastic day’s trekking, we hopped into our mini-bus and embarked on our journey back to Puerto Natales where Barry was waiting with pizza and beers to celebrate our trek – result! We would rest up for a couple of days before our journey to the end of the world!

What Do You Think? Have you trekked Torres Del Paine? We’d love to hear your comments and experiences in the comments below!

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Excellent One Day Torres Del Paine Tour, By Bus!

If you’re looking for a Torres del Paine tour (without any trekking), then you’ve come to the right place!

Trekking isn’t for everyone, right? But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to see the best of what Torres del Paine has to offer! In this guide, we’ll show you:

1. Our experience of a Torres del Paine tour, by bus

2. How to pick the right tour company for you

You can also click on any of those headlines to take you directly to that section in the guide.

1. Our experience of a Torres del Paine tour, by bus

After our 4 day trip on a ferry through the Chilean fjords, we arrived at our next destination of Puerto Natales! Being the closest town to Torres del Paine national park, Puerto Natales is a great launchpad for taking a Torres Del Paine tour! We’ve been to some incredible national parks in our time, from our Sapa trekking experience in Vietnam, to our epic volcanic Rinjani trekking adventure in Indonesia, so we were very excited to explore Torres del Paine!

Torres Del Paine tour

Luckily we’d had a few days to recover from our climb up the Villaricca volcano in Pucon. We’d thought about taking on the challenge of the famous ‘W’ trek, or at least part of it, but with a relatively bleak weather forecast and no availability at the ‘refugios’ we resorted to plan B – a one day tour of all the main sites by bus, and a full day’s trek to Torres base lookout, known to the locals as the ‘massives’.

Torres Del Paine Tour, By Bus!

After an early start and 7.30am pick up we began our Torres del Paine tour! First up, after  a couple of hours driving, we caught the first glimpse of the stunning massives of Torres del Paine in the distance!

Torres Del Paine tour

As you can see, the roads were mostly gravel, but we felt comfortable in our bus for the day. As we progressed, our driver provided us with info and commentary on the things we could see, including this group of guanacos that stood between us and the ‘massives’! With some care, we negotiated through this group and made our way towards our next stop.

Torres Del Paine tour

After a while, we reached the beautiful Laguna Amarga, and stood on the shore, marvelling at the towers reflecting in the lagoon. This was a really impressive part of the day, the water was perfectly still, resulting in these wonderful reflections in the water!

Torres Del Paine tour

After Laguna Amarga, we made our way around the mighty towers to Lago Nordenkjold for an alternative, incredible view of the towers nestled between other towering peaks. This was probably our favourite view of the towers, as they poked out deep within the valley in front of us.

Torres Del Paine tour

 After Lago Nordenkjold, we visited the salta grande, a breathtaking emerald green, lake, river and waterfall which was incredible! The noise and colour was absolutely mesmerising! 

Torres Del Paine tour

Torres Del Paine tour

For lunch, we stopped on the shores of Lago Pehoe, a beautiful place to sit and admire on our Torres del Paine tour. As you can see from our photos, we were incredibly lucky with the weather on our tour!

Torres Del Paine tour

Our final stop of the day was the huge Lago Grey. At the end of the lake is a glacier, and we sat and watched as large chunks of ice broke off and floated around the lake, a perfect way to end our Torres del Paine tour!

Torres Del Paine tour

2. How to pick the right tour company for you

Thankfully, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Torres del Paine tours, given the popularity of the national park! And the good news is you can book in advance, online, to guarantee your tour! Our advice would be to check the latest reviews and tour options in Torres del Paine, and book in advance! You can also book when you arrive through your guesthouse, but we personally recommend you do your research in advance!

So that’s it! This Torres del Paine tour was one of the highlights of our time in Chile. It was a relaxing, and rewarding day where we saw some beautiful landscapes in comfort – highly recommended!

Looking for more Chile inspiration? Click here.


Key Tips For Planning A Trip To Ushuaia Argentina!

Arriving in Chile from New Zealand, we only had one thing on our minds: head south to Tierra Del Fuego at the end of the world and catch our boat to Antarctica. We spent a lot of time working out our route south, so check out our route planner from Santiago to Ushuaia!

Part 1: Santiago to Pucon & Puerto Montt

We didn’t hang around long in Santiago, and after a couple of days we jumped on a bus for the 10 hour journey to Pucon. Pucon is a great place to visit, and you could easily spend a few days there, walking through the streets of cafes and parillas (BBQ’s), climbing the Villarica Volcano and white water rafting.  After a few days you can catch a 6 hour bus to Puerto Montt, the gateway to the Chilean Fjords and our cargo ship journey!

ushuaia argentina

Part 2: The Navimag Ferry – Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales

After some serious research, we’d decided to skip the onerous overland journey through Chile and book ourselves onto the Navimag ferry service which would take us on our journey through the Chilean fjords! Although more time intensive with three nights on the ship, if the weather is clear there are beautiful views of the fjords and the southern ice field (with glacier).

And so, after a couple of nights in Puerto Montt, it was time to hit the seas for the first time in Chile, destination Puerto Natales and the gateway to Torres Del Paine.  The journey was stunning, and certainly beat the long bus journeys that were the other options to get down the country.

ushuaia argentina

Part 3: Torres Del Paine

After what turned out to be four nights on the boat after a storm stopped us from entering port, we had reached Puerto Natales, ready for our Torres Del Paine adventure!

The national park has something for everyone, from one day bus tours through Torres del Paine to hiking in the wilderness for days and weeks at a time. Most will fancy the famous W trek, and complete this in between three and five days. We spent a week in Puerto Natales, with one day on a bus tour and a one day trek to the base lookout in Torres Del Paine, and the rest of the time relaxing and planning the rest of our trip.

ushuaia argentina

Part 4: Puerto Natales to Ushuaia

And so, after our journey down through Chile, it was time to head to the end of the world of Tierra Del Fuego, a mere 12 hour bus journey and border crossing with Argentina! The journey is rough along some basic roads, but the scenery is incredible and gives you a great summary of Patagonia.  You also get to take a short 20 minute ferry across the Magellan Strait before crossing the border into Argentina!

ushuaia argentina

And finally, the end of the world and Ushuaia! A lovely town to use as a base to explore Tierra del Fuego and of course Antarctica!

ushuaia argentina

To recap our route from Santiago (Chile) to Ushuaia (Argentina):

  • 2 days in Santiago
  • 5 days in Pucon
  • 2 days in Puerto Montt
  • 4 days cruising the Chilean Fjords
  • 6 days in Puerto Natales
  • 5 days in Ushuaia

Looking For Accommodation In Chile?

If you’re looking for some accommodation options in Chile, we recommend you check out Agoda.com. Whenever we’re making plans for a new destination, we always research the accommodation options first to check what’s available. That’s just our travel style. If you want to get some accommodation ideas in Chile, or anywhere else in South America, click here!

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means if you choose to book somewhere though our link, we receive a small commission. Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost you anything more, and most importantly, we only recommend companies that we use ourselves so you can trust our recommendations!

Looking for more Chile inspiration? Click here.


Sailing The Chilean Fjords On A Navimag Ferry

With our impending 10 day boat journey to Antarctica with Quark expeditions edging ever closer, we decided we needed to get some sea leg training in beforehand! Prior to this adventure, our boat experience amounted to a cruise in Halong Bay, so it seemed wise to have a practice run before we headed to Antarctica!

navimag

Before arriving in Chile, we’d heard about a cargo ship which also took passengers through the Chilean fjords. It would take four days, offered basic accommodation and service, but would also provide the best views of the Chilean coastline and fjords. Deciding between this or countless long bus journeys to make our way south, we signed up for the cargo ship option and prepared our sea legs for action!

After arriving in Santiago and making our way south to Puerto Montt, we picked up the Navimag ferry for our four day journey south through the Chilean fjords. What followed were four days of beautiful scenery, glaciers, whales and storms all of which set us in good stead for our Antarctica trip!

The Navimag Ferry Of Chile

Stepping onto the ship, we navigated the bulbous protruding steel rivets of the ship’s loading area as we ducked between the associated lorries and trucks full of cargo bound for Puerto Natales. In particular an open top truck full of cows caught the eye, well at least we’d be more comfortable than them.

navimag

We brushed past the cargo area of the ship and made our way up two decks to the main accommodation quarters and sought out our room for the next three nights. The Navimag has a number of accommodation options, and we opted for a 4 bed room. After meeting our friendly and normal roommates (phew), we headed up to the deck to watch the thousands that had congregated at the port to wave us off. Well, the two blokes who had been helping with the loading gave us a wave at least.

And we were off! We had no idea what to expect from the next four days, but we were with friends, had plenty of music and books, and the increasingly competitive monopoly deal game. As it turns out, there would be plenty of things to keep us occupied during the journey, especially when Monopoly deal became too intense…

navimag

The Navimag experience exceeded our expectations: the food was basic but tasty and filled us up, there was plenty of fresh water to drink and they even ran lectures during the day on topics about the fjords including the birds and mammals of Patagonia. There was a well stocked bar with comfortable places to sit and read, and if you fancied braving the cold, there was plenty of beautiful scenery to admire.

navimag

A major bonus was accessibility to the captains deck, where we could watch as the captain relayed orders to his first mate, all the time making minor adjustments to our route. We spent a lot of time on the deck, admiring the view and talking with the crew. It was seriously tempting to press one of the brightly lit buttons or flick a switch, I mean whats the worst that could happen?

navimag

The deck was always the best place to go whale or dolphin watching, and many a time on our journey there would be an excited announcement from the captains deck: “Ladies and gentlemen, there are two humpback whales alongside us on the starboard side” or our favourite (whilst we were having dinner) “Ladies and gentlemen, there are five dolphins swimming alongside us on the port side”. I never did get the handle of which side was port and starboard, opting instead to wait a second to see which direction everyone else went in and follow them. Most of the time they were right, not always though.

With three meals a day, time on the captains deck, running around the ship to see whales and dolphins and playing cards, you can see how easily the time would ebb away. In the evenings, a documentary would be shown in the dining room, from March of the Penguins to documentaries on Tierra Del Fuego and butterfly migrations.

On day 3, we were hoping to get a glimpse of the Southern fields glacier. Weather conditions and visibility sometimes restrict the opportunity, but not this time for us!

navimag

We had been used to rolling green and grey hills through the fjords, contrasted against the bleak white sky for a day or so, when in the distance something different came into view. We had reached the glacier, its bright whites and deep blues offering a welcome contrast to the surrounding areas.

navimag

As we got closer, a loud crack rippled through the valley as part of the glacier tore away from itself and into the water, just as we were having our photo taken!navimagWe spent half an hour or so at the glacier admiring it, and then it was time to get going, after all we had some cargo to be delivered! Those poor cows…

Our only other stop on the journey was to visit Puerto Eden, one of only a few remaining local villages home to indigenous groups in the fjords. It was a beautiful place, with the locals coming to pick us up from the ship in their own boats to take us to the mainland.

navimag

We had a couple of hours to walk around the area before making our way back to the ship. Puerto Eden was a welcome break from the ship and a lovely place to spend a couple of hours.

Making it to Puerto Montt in good time, unfortunately we were caught in a storm and couldn’t make it to the port that evening. Another (unexpected) night on the ship then, but another chance to relax in the bar and catch some sleep before our photo bus tour of Torres del Paine and our one day trek in Torres Del Paine!

navimag

We’d highly recommend the Navimag option if you have time and are heading south through Chile anyway. It’s well organised, comfortable and offers fantastic scenery of the Chilean fjords. It is not a cruise, but offers a fantastic opportunity to see parts of Chile you would otherwise miss on an overland trip!

Looking For Accommodation In Puerto Natales?

If you’re looking for some accommodation options in Puerto Natales or elsewhere in Chile, we recommend you check out Agoda. Whenever we’re making plans for a new destination, we always research the accommodation options first to check what’s available. That’s just our travel style. If you want to get some accommodation ideas on Puerto Natales, or anywhere else in Chile, click here!

 Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means if you choose to book somewhere though our link, we receive a small commission. Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost you anything more, and most importantly, we only recommend companies that we use ourselves so you can trust our recommendations!

Looking for more Chile inspiration? Click here.


Conquering Volcan Villarrica In Pucon, Chile

So you’re thinking about climbing the mighty Volcan Villarrica? 

If you read anything about Volcan Villarrica, you’ll know that it’s a climb that should be treated with respect. Despite the difficulty, the lure of climbing an active volcano, covered in snow, was too much for us to resist! In this guide, we’ll show you:

1. Our experience of climbing Volcan Villarrica

2. What to wear on Volcan Villarrica

3. How to choose the right tour company for you

You can also click on any of those headlines to take you directly to that section in the guide.

1. Our experience of climbing Volcan Villarrica

Gluttons for punishment, after only three days in Chile we signed up for another volcano climb! After our volcanic Rinjani trekking adventure in Indonesia, our sapa trekking experience in Vietnam, and our day trekking the Tongariro crossing, our next challenge was Volcan Villarrica near Pucon. You may think we’re obsessed with volcanoes, but it just seems to be that the most interesting climbs happen to be over things that are dangerous!

villarrica volcano

Arriving at the offices early doors, it was time to get our kit on. Yet again on our trip it was time to layer up. The set up was rigorous: waterproof trousers, climbing boots, crampons, waterproof jackets, helmets and a dangerously sharp looking ice axe all checked and verified. We looked like pros, once again we had no idea.

If we weren’t fully awake after our early morning start, the 30 minute journey on a bus with seemingly no suspension (or tyres) got our attention, as we ascended to the volcano base along a rock laden road. We were ready for what was to come, or so we thought. We reached the base of the Volcan Villarrica, and looked up at the challenge ahead: 1 kilometre above us we could see the smouldering summit of the volcano.  Wait…smouldering? Don’t worry, our guide assured us.

Our ascent would be over snow and ice to the crater at the top, no nice little paths to walk along, no steps to use. In fact, there would be no walking on any ground the whole way up (and down). And so came the easiest decision of our trip to date: to take the ski lift for the initial hour walk or not. What would you prefer? An extra hour of journey time scrambling across scree or a 10 minute ski lift to cut the boring rock ladden scree bit out? Some decisions are difficult in life, this wasn’t.

villarrica volcano

With our backpacks strapped to our fronts temporarily, we jumped up onto the platform and waited for our seats to fling around the end of the lift and come back at us. At some speed, the chair swung round, we bent our knees and smack, we were on the lift and already soaring above the base of the volcano. No safety barriers here, just a wooden seat attached to the pulley system, and our heavy backpacks on our front and ice axes in our faces. We relaxed and enjoyed the views as we passed over other much braver souls who had decided to walk the extra hour. Good luck to them!

Challenge number two of the day: getting off the lift with our heavy bags on our fronts. As we approached the platform, two bulky men were waiting in anticipation to yank us from our seats before they swung around and took off back down the mountain. Feet down, a strong arm from each side and we were off.  The rest of the ascent would be all our own work.

villarrica volcano

It was crampon time. We’d first used crampons on the fox glacier in New Zealand, so we were excited to strap them on again and get back on the ice and snow. After strapping in, it was health and safety time.

This was the moment we realised this might not be as easy as we’d imagined. One of our guides explained to us how, in the event of us slipping down the volcano, to use our ice axe to halt the slide. It basically involved slamming the ice axe into the ice ala the film ‘Touching the void’.  After this lesson, we were ready for our ascent.

And so we began our ascent. With its steep sides and icy covering, we had to zig zag slowly up the volcano. Left for 30 metres, right for 30 metres, and again and again. Digging our crampons into the icy slope, and using our ice axe to pull us forward, we were on our way. For 1 hour, we climbed without stopping, not borne out of time constraints but because there was nowhere to stop (we were, of course, on the side of a snow and ice covered volcano!).

After an hour, we reached our first stopping point and got our first chance to look back at the vista. And what a view it was, lush green volcanoes punctuated the landscape, the obvious remnants of previous flows from the volcano spreading like tentacles across the landscape. The occasional cloud drifted below us, but it was a perfect weather day and we could clearly see miles into the distance.

villarrica volcano

After our brief stop, it was time for hour number two and our climb to the ridge where we would have breakfast. Off came the jackets, we strapped our backpacks and helmets on, and we were off again. Instantly this leg of the journey was more difficult. The slope was steeper, the snow and ice looser than the lower slope. It was time to grit our teeth and get our heads down.

For what seemed like an eternity, we criss crossed the side of the volcano, inching ever closer to ‘desayuno’ and a rest. And then we reached the ridge, an incredible moment! We were only halfway up the volcano, but the slope we were climbing up suddenly stopped and formed a sharp ridge which we balanced along as we made our way to an outcrop of rock where we would rest before attempting the second half of our ascent.

villarrica volcano

At this point we were both tired, and quickly wolfed down some jam sandwiches, cereal bars and water to prepare ourselves for the next stage. Again we were treated to incredible views of the landscape, this time we could see further with the vastness of many lakes coming into view. After marvelling at the view, we turned to look at the challenge ahead. This is what we saw.

villarrica volcano

Two further hours followed, scaling the side of the volcano. First it was back along the ridge we came along before snaking left and upwards toward the crater at the summit. We had a much better view of the steam belching out of the crater at the top, and in less than two hours we would be at the top, peering into the heart of the Volcan Villarrica. We had some serious work to do before then.

Beginning the second half of our ascent, it would be another hour before we stopped again. We both kept our heads down, not daring to look up at how far we had to go, not wanting to see how far we’d come. Behind me I could hear Laura utilising her usual trekking strategy of counting 1,2,3 before returning back to 1 and repeating over and over again. I was struggling with a sore right knee and cramp in my left foot. Why were we putting ourselves through this again? Still we kept quiet, and focused on our routine: ice axe into the ice, left foot, right foot, ice axe into the ice, left foot, right foot etc.

villarrica volcano

Occasionally as we switched from climbing to the left to the right, we’d swap our ice axe into the opposite hand and continue onwards and upwards. After another hour, we were exhausted and delighted to sit and rest on the side of the volcano for 15 minutes. Strapping up my knee and knocking back some painkillers, it was time for one final push to the top. 40 minutes more and we’d be there.

The final push was easier than we thought, and we managed it with relative ease. We snaked left and right for a while, and then hit a ridge where we walked in a more direct route to the top. Reaching the top was an incredible feeling, high fives from our guides and fellow group members followed by our first glimpse inside the crater.

villarrica volcano

Standing so close to an active crater on a volcano was an unnerving experience. Peering in, our snow covered side of the crater looked ominously easy to slip and slide down into the crater from where we were. On the opposite side, a mixture of reds, oranges, greys and blacks dominated the inside of the crater, becoming darker and darker the lower we looked down until they slipped away into the magma pools just out of view.

villarrica volcano

We turned around to admire the view back down, and we sat and ate our sandwiches a mere metre from the crater rim. We couldn’t decide where to look! In front of us was the route we’d taken to the top. We were way above the clouds now, and our view was obstructed by these as we looked out over Chile. We sat and enjoyed our fleeting time at the top of Volcan Villarrica, took some photos, and enjoyed the view before it was time to leave.

2. What to wear on Volcan Villarrica

You should be provided with a waterproof outer layer from the tour company you book, but in terms of what you wear underneath that, we recommend:

  • Thick socks
  • Long trekking trousers (not shorts)
  • Layers on top (long sleeve top, a fleece and a jacket)
  • Sunglasses (the glare from the snow is unbearable without them!)
  • A hat or cap (we wore caps to protect from the sun above and reflecting off the snow, but our ears were burnt as they weren’t covered so a hat would have been better)
  • Sunscreen
  • Plenty of food and snacks to keep your energy up (cereal bars, nuts, lunch, water)
  • Money for the ski lift and tips
  • We’d also recommend you rent two poles to help you up the volcano

3. How to choose the right tour company for you

Climbing Volcan Villarrica is not for the faint hearted, people have died climbing it and weather conditions can deteriorate rapidly. That is why we absolutely recommend you use a reputable tour company to get you safely up and down the volcano. A good company will have good guides, good equipment and most importantly know the volcano better than anyone else. They will know when conditions get so bad to turn back. So book a tour company. You can do this when you arrive in Pucon, but we also recommend you check the most recent reviews on here.

Looking for more Chile inspiration? Click here.


White Water Rafting: Pucon, Chile

Pucon is a great place for those who like adventure sports, and after climbing the Villarrica volcano nearby, we set our sights on the river rapids of Pucon! Check out our experience on the rapids below!

And some action shots from our time on the river! The anticipation/fear builds…

white water rafting chile

And then there’s no going back!

white water rafting chile

John and I doing all the work it seems…

white water rafting chile

In the heart of the action…

white water rafting chile

We conquered the category 4 rapids, but if you’re a beginner or just a bit scared of rafting you can also attempt the easier category 3 rapids down river!

Looking for more Chile inspiration? Click here.