Getting on our 10th overnight bus we made it to Pucon, Chile, which is the home of a majestic, gigantic volcano called Volcano Villarrica. The town is an adventure haven because of the rivers that flow around it, activities on Lake Villarrica and its black sand beach and the chance to summit the volcano. We decided not to summit the volcano since it was quite expensive and we had our fill of hiking in snow in Bolivia.
An amazing trek that has better views then the top of the volcano is the San Sebastian trek in Huerquehue National Park. It was 6 hours round trip with some interesting steep climbs in a tunnel of trees whose branches were our saviors. The view was breathtaking of multiple lakes and a 360 view with 8 volcanoes in the distance. Our second day was spent wandering around country roads to find a trail to a waterfall. Our expectation was a little waterfall that we could swim in but instead were stunned by a huge waterfall that could have been a scene in a movie.
Chili Kiwi was the hostel we stayed at and highly recommended. The Kiwi owner, James, is so hospitable and gives great local insight. They hosted a great BBQ one evening and our other dinners were spent at Latitude 39, which is owned by a San Diego couple and know how to cook a mean burger!
Our next stop was El Bolson via Bariloche in Argentina. Our border crossing was relatively painless except for the heafy 160 USD reciprocity tax we were required to pay to enter the country. The bonus is that it is good for 10 years to entice us to come back! After a couple hour stop in San Martin we got to Bariloce, which is in the northern lake district of Argentina. We were trying to coordinate renting a car which is the best way to see the lake district but couldn’t make it work but recommend this for other travelers. Only a quick day and half stop for us was possible but we stayed in a hostel called, Penthouse 1004 which had a balcony on the 10th floor overlooking the lake and a nice big kitchen for Zane to cook Argentinean steaks for dinner!
Then on to El Bolson, the hippie capital of Argentina, which is known for organic farms, trekking and craft micro-brews…..sound familiar Boulder! Because of multiple recommendations we stayed at hostel heaven, a place called La Casona de Odile, located 6km from town. This place had a magical vibe with a large garden with hammocks, yoga in every afternoons, massages and homemade dinners. If we had the time we would have spend a couple weeks here but our 5 days had to do.
There are many multiple day treks around the area where you have a chance to stay at simple refugios but we just did day hikes. One was along the Rio Azul (Blue River), which had the most beautiful turquoise looking water. The water was freezing but of course Zane couldn’t resist the chance to cliff jump into it! We also made our way to the carved forest that we were told was easy to hitchhike to. This ended up being misinformation and we walked up the road for 3 hours up and then down in the heat but the views and carvings done by local artists in the forest were worth it. The last day Katie enjoyed a 2-hour massage in the garden topped of with a yoga session, truly an amazing place.