Is it safe to visit Pucón after the Villarrica volcano eruption?
The eruption of the Villarrica volcano on March 3 made headlines across the world. The tremendous power behind the lava being shot kilometers into the air left us all in awe. However, by daylight, (the eruption began at 3am and was over by 3.30), the volcano appeared as peaceful as ever and the town was 100% convinced that the spectacle had really happened. See our during and after images here. Hard to believe they were taken within just a few hours of each other.
In fact, at the Lake Lodge, just 15km from the ski centre at the base of the volcano, most of us slept straight through it. Breakfast was served as normal. There was no ash cloud falling on the town, no rivers of lava descending through the streets. Really there was nothing. A quiet calm, mixed with some apprehension of course, reigned over the locals for a couple of days. The international news really made a great job of showcasing our area, but the reality is that the eruption, spectacular as it was, only lasted less than 30 minutes and suddenly life was pretty much back to normal.
3 weeks later many people are asking if it is safe to visit now and in the near future. The reality is that the volcano will always be active, and it always has been. The “risk” of a repetition of March 3 is the same, or less, than it was before that date. The volcano has taken the breath it needed, and we all hope that it has released whatever accumulated pressure it had in its belly.
After the event I read that of the total volcano monitoring activity that goes on across the whole country, 10% is destined to the continual observation of our beloved Villarrica. We all feel well taken care of. In addition, a full eruption simulation took place in December 2014, not because anyone pre-empted the eruption on March 3, simply because the protocols and evacuation procedures must be practised to be effective. The authorities learn how to better manage unforeseen events such as these each time it conducts a simulation, or faces a real situation, involving the force of nature.
So, should you still consider a break to Pucón during the coming months? We all say a resounding yes. And this is not because Pucón is a town built on tourism incomes. It is because the local Puconinos have returned to their normal lives, and that means receiving travelers with whom we all share our passion for the beauty of our local area. Please do continue to visit. All activities are still available apart from the one day ascent of the Villarrica volcano to the crater of course. That option is closed for now, but agencies are offering a perfect one day alternative to ascend the nearby (non active!) Quetrupillán volcano.
Lake Lodge will be open and receiving guests for the July winter holidays so book soon to guarantee a room. Husky dog mushing through snowy terrain, snow shoeing, sledging and of course endless options to visit our hot spring resorts await you!
For reservations and more information contact us here.
©Sarah White2015- Author's rights reserved