Isabella DeSpirito is a student at The Ohio State University, and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Valparaiso, Chile.
This past weekend, I was fortunate to be able to travel to southern Chile to explore more of what this country has to offer. Located 12 hours (by bus) south of Valparaiso, Pucón is a quiet, relaxing yet exciting town nestled in the Andes and close to the border with Argentina. In just 3 short days, I experienced the native culture, nature, and art scene that Pucón has to offer. If you´re thinking about planning a weekend trip to the south, be sure to take advantage of the following opportunities!
- Visit a Ruca Mapuche (traditional Mapuche house)
Located in Quelhue within the town, this Ruca is occupied by a woman and her family who own this traditional hut made of bamboo straw and mud. You’ll be greeted with a rice drink important to the health of the Mapuche people, and be served delicious sopaipillas (fried bread), trigo coffee, and bread with pebre (similar to pico de gallo) all while within the Ruca. Make sure to visit this property if you want to experience a culture indigenous to the Andes!
2. Hike Volcan Villarrica
Yes, you are allowed to hike the active volcano that looms over Pucón! In a small group, take a hike up the volcano, using crampons and ice picks to traverse the snow, and slide down the volcano on a sled! At the top, you’ll feel like you’re literally on top of the world. Seeing the lava spit up from the crater along with sulfuric gas floating into the air is an unforgettable experience–and sledding down the volcano is the cherry on top! Bring out your adventurous side and book a hike with Politur Tours and be able to say you climbed a VOLCANO.
3. Check out the local art scene
After the long hike, take a walk through town and relax a bit while exploring the art scene. Be sure to check out the Feria Artesanal on Ramon Quezada street, and discover how much the indigenous culture carries into the present. From elaborate wooden carvings, to hand-knitted sweaters, to official Mapuche flags, this fair has every ‘recuerdo’ (souvenir) you can dream of to remember your weekend in Pucón.
If you´re thinking of traveling around Chile, make Pucón a must-see to enjoy a weekend of exploration, adventure, and relaxation!
The world awaits…discover it.