With its freshwater lakes, temperate rainforests, active volcanoes, and ancient forests of 'monkey puzzle' conifers, La Araucania region is one of Chile's most stunning yet off-the-radar wilderness areas. On this extraordinary adventure, discover central Chile's adventure playground, the scenic town of Pucon, and set out to hike two national parks - Villarrica and Huerquehue - and the private nature reserve of El Cañi. Take time along the way to soak in hot springs, discover enchanting lagoons, walk through old-growth forests, and marvel at jaw-dropping views of Chile's Lake District.
Take in splendid views of serene lakes, active volcanos, and enchanting lagoons
Hike through forests of ancient araucaria, an endangered native evergreen
Trek in two national parks, explore a nature reserve and unwind in natural hot springs
Meet your MT Sobek guides at Temuco airport in La Araucania region of Chile and transfer to the town of Pucon, an adventure playground with a delightful setting right between a volcano and a lake. Check in to the hotel and meet for an initial talk and briefing. Enjoy a welcome dinner together at a local restaurant.
This morning drive to El Cañi, a private 1,500-acre nature reserve east of Pucon. Start the trek from Coilaco, passing araucaria trees, an endangered type of evergreen that can live up to an impressive 2,000 years. Take in an area of high lagoons and arrive to El Mirador viewpoint featuring a 360-degree vista of the region's many lakes and its four volcanoes: Llaima, Villarrica, Quetrupillan, and Lanin. Descend a different way, to Cajon de Huife, and take the transfer back to the hotel.
Depart Pucon to begin the Ruta Pillanes trek through Villarica National Park, from the northern slope of Villarrica volcano, also known as Rukapillan, to the Challupen gorge. Along the way, marvel at araucaria trees, lava fields and lahar, a type of mudflow that drifts down a volcano into valleys. Hike to the Peuco Viejo viewpoint for astounding vistas, and then towards the northwest of the great Lake Villarrica, also known as Mallolafquen.
Today set out for another section of trek, from Challupen gorge lagoons. Along the way pass lava rocks, evidence of volcanic eruptions, and distinctive araucaria trees, and admire the sight of Mocho Choshuenco and Puyehue volcanoes to the south. Arrive at the geometric hot springs, anciently called Cajon Negro. Designed by architect German del Sol, this striking red-wood complex features a footbridge used to visit the ravine, with thermal waters flowing underneath and abundant rainforest surrounding it.
Today set out on a strenuous uphill section of the Villarica Traverse, one of Chile's most spectacular treks that passes beautiful forests of araucaria and lenga trees (a type of southern birch) and features dazzling views of volcanoes, including Quetrupillan, Villarrica, and Lanin. After the uphill section of the trek, walk along a path toward the scenic Laguna Azul in the southeast.
This morning leave Laguna Azul to cross a series of lava flows, taking in the slopes and the crater of Quetrupillan volcano. Climb up to the edge of the crater, along the way seeing ancient craters and panoramic views of forest-covered valleys and astounding volcanoes. Reach Laguna Avutarda in the afternoon. Also known as Laguna los Patos, Avutarda is surrounded by mountains on three sides and has lush shores and marshes where caiquen and canquen geese nest.
Depart Avutarda lagoon this morning to descend toward the Puesco valley. Walk through forests of coihue, a huge tree known as "the lord of the forest," and lenga. Take in outstanding vistas of Colmillo del Diablo volcano (Devil's Fang) and the Puesco River canyon. At the end of the trail, you'll reach the international road where a private van will transfer you back to Pucon.
Today discover Huerquehue, Chile's gorgeous national park that spans 27,500 acres and features striking mountain peaks, crystalline lakes and lagoons, and mesmerizing forests of ancient araucaria trees. Take Los Lagos, the most scenic of the park's many trails, with thick forests where you can hear the delightful sound of Patagonian woodpeckers, and a string of beautiful lakes — Tinquilco, Chico, Verde and Toro.
After breakfast, it's time to depart from Pucon. On the way to Temuco airport, take in the last views of majestic active volcanoes and bid farewell to Chile's Araucania region.
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MT Sobek has been exploring the magnificent wilderness of Chile since the 1970s.
This trip skillfully blends excellent trekking with immersive exploration of Chile's Lake District, from its namesake lakes to stunning volcanoes.
Explore Central Chile's national parks on some of the region's most spectacular off-the-radar treks with expert guides.
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Moderate to strenuous hikes in two national parks with volcanoes, valleys and lakes, and relaxing soaks in natural hot springs.
A comfortable three-star hotel to bookend the trip; on the trek, camps set up in the wild with lagoons, lakes and geothermal features nearby.
Central Chile is sunny and humid in March/April with average day-time temperatures of 60°F and 32°F at night.
Yes, you will need to bring a sleeping bag. We recommend that the sleeping bag's rating be at least 20°F.
Yes, the weight limit is 13 liters.
We can accommodate vegetarian and gluten free on this trip. Please let your Adventure Coordinator know of your restrictions prior to departure.
There will be two toilet tents at each camp ground.
Yes, you can store luggage at the hotel.
Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!
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