Chile is becoming increasingly popular as a travel destination and while the top attractions are definitely worth visiting, it is also good to have a few off-the-beaten-path options ready for your trip. I’ve been living in Chile for six months, based out of Santiago, traveling consistently, and I’ve made it my mission to find unique and authentic experiences that are accessible from the main hubs. Following are some trips and travel hacks I’ve found that can help make your trip to Chile cheaper and less crowded.
CURARREHUE – AN ALTERNATIVE TO PUCON
Pucon is an adventure travel hub with excellent hiking, horseback riding, and world-class whitewater rafting. With a landscape reminiscent of Colorado (and apparently parts of rural Germany), Pucon is famous for it’s looming Villarica volcano, which is flanked by sparkling blue lakes. It’s a beautiful area, but unfortunately completely overrun during the high season (December-March), which has ideal weather for outdoor adventures. If you want to avoid inflated prices and crowded trails, the town of Curarrehue is an good alternative, and an easy one hour bus ride from Pucon.
Potential day trips include rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, and some of the area’s best and least populated treks. While the Villarica volcano is hikeable when it’s not erupting, it can be so full of tourists, that you are forced to essentially wait in line as you trudge up the extremely beaten path. Fortunately, Curarrehue has some practically unvisited peaks that offer similarly amazing views and challenging terrain.