Pucón is amazingly photogenic at any time of year, but the Winter season is even more tempting for any budding amateur keen to follow in the footsteps of those who have made beautiful image collection books of images from our region.
The main reasons for this are :
a) the surrounding mountains and national parks all take on a look of Narnia during the winter season b) there are fewer people out and about than there are during the summer months c) we have so many of those perfect crisp cold blue-sky days when the conditions are simply perfect for photography!
So where do we suggest you head to snap some unusual angles that will captivate your Instagram friends? Here goes our firm favorites :
#1. La Poza Right by the side of town this haven is simply blissful. The sun sets over the lake towards the west so the Poza is perfectly situated to receive those sunset hues reflected in the lake itself. You can also get some great shots of the volcano from the far side near the Peninsula and play with reflections of the boats that are harbored there. The many ducks gracing the shallow waters and the Southern Lapwings skittering around on the beach also give perspective to the lake panorama.
Top tip : Get as far out into the water as you can using the jetties along the marina front for a better view of the volcano itself.
#2. Quelhue hanging bridge
Just a couple of km from the center of town the old hanging bridge has been replaced by a new version meaning that you can hang out on the old one without hurrying to make space for traffic. Take your time and wait for one of the white-water rafting crews to make their descent under the bridge of the Trancura river. Play with your camera settings to capture moving white water while you wait - always good practice for the many waterfalls around Pucón too!
Top tip : Look into the shadows at the river edge to see if you can spot a Ringed Kingfisher as they skit along the surface in search of food.
#3. Top of El Cañi reserve
This option does require some hiking but the views from the summit will most definitely reward you! A community run reserve just a few km outside of Pucón on the road to the hot springs, El Cañi was saved from the onslaught of forestry in the early 90's. Now this area is filled with trails, camping huts, hidden lagoons and surprise views of the volcano and surrounding mountains in-between the ancient araucarias.
Top tip : Stay still for a while and listen for the Magellanic Woodpecker. The male can be easily spotted by its bright red head. Perfect for testing out your zoom!
#4. Huinfiuca Lagoon
Huinfiuca is a great option for getting off the beaten track. Past Curarrehue, the Mapuche community just 40 minutes from Pucón, you continue out on the road towards the border with Argentina. Where you find the pretty Quilellhue lagoon on the left-hand side there is also a small car park. Just a bit further up on the right is the entrance to a narrow trail up to Huinfiuca lagoon. The walk is fairly flat and short and opens up to the Huinfiuca lagoon itself where the Lanin volcano offers the perfect panoramic picture postcard shot.
Top tip : On your way back down stop at the Mapuche cultural center by the main square in the town of Curarrehue and take some arty shots of the detail of the weaving, the jars of preserves, and the piles of piñones (the seeds of the sacred Araucaria trees)....
#5. Santa Clara Monastery
The diminutive Monasterio Santa Clara is tucked away above the town. Just a short walk from the centre, the beautiful white stone building reveals a privileged view over Pucón and Lake Villarrica. Starting out from the far south end of Calle Ansorena the entrance path twists and turns through dappled sunlight. Despite the proximity to the town, the silence is encompassing, and you will be surprised when you reach the main courtyard and the view opens up before and below you. There is a small shop to the side of the church where chocolates, cookies and other treats made by the Capuchin nuns can be found for sale. Mass takes place Mon-Sat at 7.15am and at 3pm on a Sunday.
Top Tip: Wait until sunset when you will get some great shots looking west over the lake!
#6. Villarrica volcano hike
Of course, you have heard all about this amazing ascent that starts just 30 minutes from the center of town. Taking your camera along on the hike is an absolute must and gives you the perfect reason to stop, catch your breath and take in the spectacular views along the way up. Take a 360° video at any of the stops, closer to the crater the better, and you will marvel at how you feel part of the clouds for year to come!
Top tip : Ask your guide if you can step inside the "capilla" on the way up. During the winter season there are often icicles hanging from the main entrance which make for an unusual frame of the view back down over the town of Pucón and Lake Villarrica.
So, there you have it. Just a few more reasons to come and visit Pucón and our region with your camera in hand this Winter season.