Now is a great time to be thinking about planning a summer vacation to Chile. And of course you cannot consider a trip to the long thin country without making a stop in Pucón. Not only is Pucón the tourism adventure capital of the country, but the stunning location of the town set on the edge of Lake Villarrica, with the imposing Villarrica volcano forever on guard, make it one of the most picturesque places on the planet.
Affecting prices and demand across the whole country, the main high summer season runs from Christmas to end February, which is basically when Chilean schools are out for their long vacation. If you are coming from further afield you are probably considering a longer stay that incorporates more of the country, such as Torres del Paine in the far south. Hiking conditions down there are great from end October though to end April so we do urge you to consider visiting outside of the main national tourist season.
Not only does this mean that you can access better prices for hotels, but also you will avoid the hustle, bustle and noise that comes with higher occupation and increased demand for tourist services and infrastructure.
There is so much information available on the internet about what to see, where to go and what to do during a trip to Chile that knowing where to start can be overwhelming.
Here are a few tips to help you plan your perfect summer vacation based on our own experience and travels through Chile.
Fly into Santiago, but head straight out from the airport again!
Most people start their vacations by flying into the international airport in Santiago, so travelers often feel obliged to stay overnight and get to grips with the language, culture and feel for the place. However, given that national flights leave from the same airport as international ones, you can cut down on transfer expenses and head straight off to the much smaller and quieter San Pedro de Atacama in the north to recover from your journey and enjoy some sun!
To reach the driest desert in the world you fly to Calama and take a transfer over to San Pedro. This enchanting town has a lot to offer in regard to other worldly excursions such as the Tatio geysers, star gazing and salt crusted lagoons. Not to mention fine quality dining options and a fantastic museum located right in the middle of town.
Cosmopolitan Santiago immersion time now…
We then suggest you head back down to Santiago and this time stay over for a couple of nights to immerse yourself in the cosmopolitan feel of what has become a really rather European city.
You can also add on a trip out to Valparaiso, just 1,5 hours way on the Pacific coast, where you can visit Pablo Neruda’s houses, enjoy a ride on the rickety “ascensores”, and spend some time at the maritime museum.
Now onto lakes and volcanoes…
With so much vast natural beauty to take in further south, just two to three days in Santiago is enough. Next stop, the lakes and volcanoes region right where Pucón is located. Fly down to Temuco and marvel at the lush green landscape punctuated by snowcapped volcanoes as you enjoy the 1 hour transfer over to Pucón. Four nights at Lake Lodge is the minimum you should consider to be able to fit in all the activities that the town offers to its guests. For more information on how to choose according to your taste, budget and fitness level, check out our previous blog here.
Vast wilderness awaits at the end of the earth…
Then an overland journey via lakes and picture postcard towns will get you to Puerto Montt where you can eat seafood and fresh fish to your hearts content before flying down to Punta Arenas to take on the immense wilderness of Torres del Paine. There you can hike for 7 days in a row, or be amazed by towering glaciers from the comfort of a boat trip. The choices are many but the result will be the same – a desire to return to Patagonia, to spend more time in the wild even at home, and a renewed feeling of perspective in regard to our personal space and place in the world.
As you take off from Punta Arenas on your return flight to Santiago before heading home, spend some time with your head rested against the window looking out at the end of the earth and reflecting on the raw beauty of what Chile has to offer the world. Guaranteed to have a lasting impact on you, Chile delights at every turn.
This year Lake Lodge in Pucón will be open from 01 December to end March so get in touch today to take advantage of the Early Bird 10% discount for summer reservations made before 30 October.
Happy travel planning!
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