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For an unforgettable adventure experience we know you want safety, quality equipment and certified guides. Sol y Nieve offers all of this and more. With a 30 year history in specialist adventure activities look no further for the best option to fully enjoy all the alternatives available in Pucón & the surrounding area.

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Just a quick search for accommodation in Pucón on any booking engine and you will find over 800 options listed! This is an enormous amount given the relatively small size of the town. But it is also testament to what a great all-year round destination Pucón is and just how much there is on offer to do here!

However, on first glimpse the variety of options available can seem just too much.

How do you choose from the many many cabañas, hotels, hostels and lodges on offer?

www.pucon.com can help you! Now under new management and here to stay!

If you are searching for information on Pucón and what to do during your trip, look no further than the portal www.pucon.com Bringing together a wealth of information with news and events on what is happening in Pucón and the region, you can check out accommodation options, restaurant offerings, activity agencies, the best cafés, hot springs resorts, as well as other essential information such as where to get the best empanada in town!

www.pucon.com allows independent business owners to showcase their restaurant, hotel, café, agency or hostel. When you click on any banner you will be taken directly to the business website or Facebook page itself. No hidden commissions, no biased listings. Just plain, old school information.

In addition, to help make this an easier process or you, check out our tips here based on a few essential questions:

#1. Size of your travel group?
This will immediately define if you need a hotel room for two, a larger self-catered apartment or a cabaña for more. It is usually the first filter style question you come across on most websites. Pucón has many cabaña style resorts that focus on the summer season only so you will find many of these available between November and April.

Insider info: Mornings and evenings here in the south can, at times, be fresh even during the summer months so if this is important to you then do check on heating options. Most hotels have good heating but not all cabañas do!

#2. Will you be travelling by car or intend to rent a car?
If you plan on travelling with a car this does extend your options as you can stay out of town and still move freely without relying on transfers or taxis.

Insider info: Parking spots in central Pucón can be hard to find during the summer months so get into town early to secure your spot.

1 rent a car pucon sol y nieve travel adventure

#3. Do you have small kids?
A handful of places don't take kids in Pucón but most do. Some of the larger cabaña resorts are set up with kids play areas and have green spaces where they can get rid of some of that energy!

Insider info: It is fairly normal that kids stay free up to a certain age (between 3 and 6 years) if they don't require an extra bed, but if you do, even for a child under the "free" age bracket, there will probably be an additional fee.

1 travel children sol y nieve travel adventure pucon

#4. Are you looking for a hotel to beach style holiday or more active, adventure-filled days?
This doesn't really influence so much on the type of accommodation you choose as you can fill your days with whatever you like regardless of your lodging, but some locations are closer to the beach while others require that you drive in.

Insider info: If you are interested in adventure activities do contact your chosen hotel/cabañas in advance as they may have a link with one of the local agencies and can maybe get you a better deal.

#5. How important is it to you to be able to walk to restaurants from your hotel?
Pucón has many accommodation options in the center of town which means you can walk out of your door and find restaurants at every corner. The downside is that parking can be hard if the hotel doesn't have its own, and some places can be noisy until fairly late in mid-summer.

Insider info: Taxis are easy to get and fairly cheap so staying anywhere within 3-5 km from the center is a good option if you prefer a bit more tranquility.

#6. Do you want to have breakfast included or want to be able to cook your own meals?
Most hotels include breakfast but cabañas usually don't, or they charge an additional price per person if you book in advance. Some hotels have self-catering options onsite with small functional kitchenettes that serve their purpose for simple food preparation.

Insider info: Breakfast is usually served between 7.30 and 10.30 so if you plan on lazy long morning lie ins maybe your best option is to go for something self-catered where you can prepare your own breakfast at whatever time you choose!

1 breakfast included sol y nieve travel adventure pucon

#7. Do you want an onsite pool?
This is a perfect additional alternative, especially if you have kids. The black sand beach in Pucón is fantastic but can get very busy in the summer so having the choice could turn out to be crucial.

Insider info: If water temperature is important to you then do check when booking if the pool is heated as cool nights, even in summer, means the water can take a fair while to heat up naturally during the day!

Every couple/family has their own "must haves". Defining what "value added" means is highly subjective because it of course depends on what you truly, well, value! Is it that stunning view over the lake that is worth paying more for to you, or is a stocked mini bar essential? Do you want to be able to walk home from the late night bars or do you prefer to be out of town and away from the hustle and bustle? Do you really need wifi or do you want to completely disconnect?

By answering these questions honestly you can find something that fits your needs as Pucón really does have everything!

Sol y Nieve Travel Adventurecan help you organize your activities and www.pucon.com your accommodation. Don't waste any more time browsing the net. Get in touch heretoday!

www.pucon.com
Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure

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hydrospeed [hʌɪdrə(ʊ)spiːd] noun
a sport or leisure activity that involves jumping into fast-flowing white water and being carried along at high speed while buoyed up by a float.

Sounds pretty exciting right?
Alongside the dozens of other adventure activities available in Pucón, hydrospeed is the perfect addition to your list. Only for those who don't shudder at the thought of immersing their whole body in fast moving river water, hydrospeeding brings many laughs, a definite adrenaline rush and just a handful of bruises!

The options in Pucón take advantage of the Liucura or Trancura rivers, depending on the season and the water level. The Liucura offers a 12 km descent of mainly Class III rapids, while the Trancura is a 14 km route with some Class III+ rapids thrown into the mix. To be honest, from an amateur point of view, the difference between a Class III and a Class III+ is hard to define when you are actually on the river holding dearly onto your body board style float. Don't try to choose between either of the rivers, go with the safest option according to the time of year and get on with enjoying this crazy adrenaline water sport.

hydrospeed Pucon 1

Hydrospeed is the European name for this out of the ordinary water based option. Also known as riverboarding (USA) or white water sledging (New Zealand), the concept is to lie flat over your foam body board using the fins on your feet for propulsion and steering. The high-flotation style board is designed for optimum buoyancy and is much thicker than a traditional ocean use body board. It also has two handles cut into the front of the board allowing you to easily hold on, even with cold fingers!

Hydrospeeding is believed to have originated in France in the late 1970s where rafting guides looked for additional buoyancy aids to help them safely pass through rapids that their rafts could not descend. Using old mail sacks made from burlap (a type of coarse canvas) stuffed into their life jackets; the guides found that this added buoyancy improving the safety of their descent. During the 80s a guy named Robert Carlson started running rivers using a traditional style ocean body board. Inspired by the quality of his descent, he created his own bigger and thicker version of the board with handles incorporated into the design. Hydrospeed as we know it today was born.

Today there are many operators across the world running commercial hydrospeed trips. As with all excursions involving that certain element of risk, each descent starts with an explanation of the route, what to expect and safety instructions in white waters. The whole trip is around 3 hours in total including the transfer in/out and the descent itself. You will spend approx. 1 hr 15 minutes on the water from where you will enjoy not only the thrill of the rapids and their waves, but also that spectacular scenery unique to Pucón of perfect cone shaped volcanoes peeking through the endemic trees that line the river edge.

panorama Pucon

The activity includes return transport, professional bilingual kayak guide, flippers and full body wetsuit, helmet and the hydrospeed body board itself. You just need to take along a towel, a camera, sun cream, your sense of humor and a good dose of stamina too. You do have to be able to swim to be able to participate and the minimum age is 8 years. In addition, most operators in Pucón have a 2-person minimum for the trip to go ahead.

Sol y Nieve can incorporate this activity into your stay along with other options according to interest and budget. If horse-riding with a scrumptious Chilean bbq is more up your street, check out our previous blog here! Or if you are in Pucón to do THE Villarrica volcano ascent, then read on here to see if you really could make it to the crater. Contact us here today!

Happy planning!
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Drum roll, drum roll, drum roll! For the first time EVER, Chile was selected as the WORLD'S LEADING ADVENTURE TOURISM DESTINATION at the end of 2017! This recognition was bestowed at the 23rd version of the World Travel Awards, considered the "Oscars" of tourism. That means that Chile was voted the best by people around the world making their choices online.

In 2016 and 2017, Chile was voted the regional Leading Adventure Tourism Destination in South America, but this time we took on the world and we conquered! Competing against strikingly beautiful countries such as Australia, Canada, Ecuador, Japan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the United States, Chile shone and was awarded the prestigious award.
Among the natural landscapes that Chile has to offer, several stand out as particularly unique such as locations with undiscovered routes or Torres del Paine National Park, which was selected as the 8th Wonder of the World with some of the best hiking in Patagonia.

San Pedro de Atacama is one of the most popular destinations among foreign tourists, an oasis of life in the midst of the barren desert. The surroundings reveal the area's extraordinary geography with smooth plains ending in a chain of mountains and volcanoes that tower over 6,000 meters above sea level and contrast with white salt flats.

San Pedro de Atacama Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon

The Austral Highway has been chosen several times as one of the most photogenic routes in the Americas. At over one thousand kilometers long, it traverses a large part of Northern Patagonia in the Region of Aysén. Here, one can access attractive destinations such as Queulat National Park, San Rafael Glacier and the spectacular Marble Cathedrals in General Carrera Lake, the largest in Chilean territory.

Marbel Caves Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon

Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) is an ideal place for scuba diving and snorkeling. Its crystal clear, unpolluted waters offer some of the best visibility in the world at approximately 50 meters. Thanks to its volcanic origin, the underwater topography is striking and distinguishes the island from other such locations around the world.

Easter Island Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon

And of course we cannot forget our very own Volcano and Lake District, a place where volcanoes stand proud at every turn, pristine lakes shimmer, winding rivers meander, temperate rainforests home to unique wildlife, with German architecture and food the Alpine mid-south is a must.

Huerquehue National Park Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon

Pucón has long been dubbed the adventure tourism capital of Chile and it just happens to be located right in the middle of the Volcano and Lake District. This means that by default, it is the most perfect place to begin your trip. Why not start off in style by tackling our full day non-technical ascent of Villarrica volcano?!

Here are our top eight reasons why you should do the Villarrica volcano ascent today with Sol y Nieve:

#1. Anyone can give the day trek a go! As long as you are not on crutches, have recently had back surgery or are really really really scared of heights, then there is no reasonable reason why you cannot get yourself up to the summit! There is no denying that it is not a walk in the park, and yes, you do need to be in relatively good shape, but a positive attitude is way more important, oh, and trust in your guide! If you still need more convincing check out our previous "Do you think I can make it?" blog here.

#2. Our guides are fully qualified, totally competent cheery fellows who have been up to that summit many more times than you could believe! It will actually harder to believe that they do that for a living after you have summited yourself and are reflecting on your day over a cold beer thinking "wow, what a once in a lifetime experience"!

#3. Our equipment is well maintained, clean and cared for, and it is renewed whenever it begins to show signs of unacceptable wear and tear. You will be asked to wear a helmet, carry an ice axe and crampons, and will be handed a wind jacket and over trousers too for the descent. The amount of stuff you have to take with you looks quite a lot at first sight, but it is all essential gear and without it you are simply not allowed to ascend.

#4. You will be able to peak into the crater and (maybe!) see the lava lake, usually! No other words necessary! That is simply really very cool! We must add that we cannot guarantee you see lava when you are at the summit, some days there is too much vapor, some days the lava is deeper in the crater than others. There is definitely more chance of seeing it there though than if you stay downtown wondering whether you could have actually gotten yourself to the peak!

#5. You also get to slide down on your bottom on a manmade snow toboggan run. That is more than cool (literally!) and is often quoted as the best part of the day by our clients!

5 sliding down villarrica volcano sol y nieve pucon

#6. You get to see views like this from the crater.

6 Views from Volcan Villarrica sol y nieve pucon

#7. This will never EVER have tasted so good!

7 beer after ascent villarrica volcano sol y nieve pucon

#8. And while you are enjoying it you will marvel that you were standing right there not too many hours ago!

8 peak from Pucon after ascent villarrica volcano sol y nieve pucon

If you are fit, healthy and have a spirit of adventure there really is no reason why the full day ascent of one of the world's most active volcanoes would not be at the top of your bucket list!

For more detail of our other exciting adventure excursions such as white water rafting, hydrospeed, horseriding, canyoning, as well as the Villarrica volcano ascent, please contact Sol y Nieve heretoday!

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

©SW2018-Author's rights reserved

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Due to sustained economic stability and a high standard of living, Chile is an attractive country to consider moving to for many foreigners. Some arrive on short term work contracts and decide to stay; others choose to retire to the natural beauty of places such as Pucón here in the south. Alternatively, you may be living in Santiago already and are looking for an investment property outside of the capital.

As everywhere, property prices vary depending on what you are looking for. Prices for a two-bed apartment can start from around US$ 240.000. On the other hand, houses with 4+ bedrooms, huge gardens and lake and volcano views can go for over 1 million dollars! It all depends on your budget and what you intend to do with the place you buy.

Of course, investing in property in an overseas country is not the easiest thing to do given the paperwork necessary to purchase. This is where a company with many years of experience is crucial to success, and at the same time goes a long way to removing the pain of all that bureaucracy that we so often complain about. Tere Irarrazaval Propiedadesis based in Pucón and has 26 years' experience selling in and around the Pucón area. With a range of options for sale, Tere is commited to helping you make your way through the murky waters of red tape and necessary documentation to be able to complete on your dream property.

Buy property pucon chile Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon 4

And if you are looking to try life out in Pucón first then Tere Irarrazavalalso offers house and apartment rentals.... Food for thought!

So, here go our 5 reasons to consider investing in Pucón:

#1. Location.
In such a long and thin country, your choices are varied we do admit. But in terms of accessibility from Santiago, Pucón is just 780km (approx. 8 hours driving with stops), or a 1hr 15 minute flight to Temuco and then a 1 hour overland transfer. There is an airport in Pucón itself, but it only functions during January and February and the costs of direct flights are inflated in comparison to those to nearby Temuco (ZCO).

Buy property pucon chile Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon 2

#2. Access to natural beauty.
Amid national parks, imposing volcanoes, crystalline lakes and white-water rivers, in terms of adventure activity and exposure to the outdoors, there really isn't anything missing from Pucón. Due to the volcanic activity in the area, the town even offers many many hot spring resorts which are a reason in themselves to come visit, relax and reconnect.

2-Santuario El Cañi Pucon vistas

#3. International community.
The annual Thanksgiving event which takes place at Sol y Nieve'squincho (country barn) is the biggest showdown of the year for the integrated international community. Many Chilean-foreign couples attend, as well as longtime residents and newer additions to the town. Last year the head count was over 120... and some people couldn't make it! It is easy to make friends in Pucón, it does of course take time to settle in and meet people on your wavelength, but given the diverse backgrounds of foreign residents, it won't be an eternity before you feel like you have been here forever!

#4. Access to English language.
An important factor for those who still haven't mastered the delights of Chilean Spanish! Given the large international community that has resided in Pucón for many years now, access to English speaking future friends, and also people who speak English in places where you will do business and shop, is more readily available than in some other parts of the country. From waiters to bank tellers, everyone is accustomed to conversing with foreign residents and tourists alike so you should find no real problem in getting by...

#5. Return on Investment.
Of course, there is no guarantee on this one, but what we can tell you is that prices have been experiencing a steady rise for the last few years and that the construction boom continues in Pucón. Property investment is and always will be a gamble but there should always be some great saleable value in a place that attracts tourism all year round.

There you have it! 5 great reasons, plus the ideal property management company contact to get searching for that perfect property you have always dreamt of in our natural wonderland down here in southern Chile.

Buy property pucon chile Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon 5

Contact Tere Irarrazaval Propiedades heretoday– you won't find a better option!
Happy searching!

©SW2018-Author's rights reserved

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Imagine flying above the active Villarrica volcano and looking down into the lava crater without the exertion of attempting the one day ascent on foot!

This brand new option in Pucón is available today from Sol y Nieve! There is not just one, but five routes available to choose from. Here is our low down on where each one goes and what it includes:

#1. Huerquehue National Park Route
Flying time: 25 minutes

From the aerodrome in Pucón you will fly over the crystalline waters of the Liucura river before heading over to the five waterfalls that make up the magnificent Ojos de Caburgua. After landing in Huerquehue National Park you can visit the Andean lagoons and enjoy a short trek before flying back to Pucón. The return journey goes over the Trancura river where you may be lucky enough to see the rafting groups tackling the famous white waters!

Helicopter ride 1 Huerquehue Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon

#2. Geometric Hot Springs Route
Flying time: 35 minutes

Taking off from Pucón aerodrome you will fly over the town itself from where you will have panoramic views of both Villarrica and Calafquen lakes. Soon you enter into the valley where the Geometric Hot Springs is located flying over a series of marvelous waterfalls. We will land close to the hot springs from where you can take time to enjoy the soothing hot waters. Your return flight will find you totally relaxed and in awe once again of the spectacular scenery in our area.

Optional extra: Traditional Chilean BBQ in Sol y Nieve's private quincho(rustic style mountain barn) in Sierra Madre
Located in the picture postcard area of Los Nevados, the quincho will be for your own exclusive use and has spectacular views of the Villarrica and Llaima volcanoes. The bbq includes Pisco Sour, choripanes, meat, chicken, pork, salad buffet bar, dessert selection, teas and coffees. Of course, a Chilean bbq would not be complete without fine Chilean wine, beers, soft drinks and national liquors. A perfect way to while away an afternoon with family or friends!

Helicopter ride 2 Termas Geometricas Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon

#3. Lake Villarrica Route
Flying time: 25 minutes

Taking off from the aerodrome we will fly over the mouth of the Trancura river as it flows into Lake Villarrica. Your flight will continue along the whole lake edge from where you will view the beautiful beaches and the sparkling shades of the deep waters. The flight will continue over Villarrica before heading back to Pucón along the southern shore where you will have a spectacular view of the Villarrica volcano all along the way.

Helicopter ride 3 Lake Villarrica Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon

#4. Villarrica Volcano Route
Flying time: 40 minutes

Taking off from the Pucón aerodrome this magical flight will slowly ascend towards the imposing Villarrica volcano, in the local Mapudungun language, Rucapillán. The views will encompass valleys, lakes and the Andean range itself. Once we reach the altitude of 10,000 feet (3,300m) we will be able to observe the volcanic crater where, if we are lucky, we will see small eruptions from the lava lake seated within the crater itself. After marveling at these views for some time we will return to the aerodrome with a renewed feeling of perspective of our place in this larger, greater, marvelous natural world that we inhabit.

Helicopter ride 4 Villarrica volcano Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon

#5. Five Lakes Route
Flying time: 1 hour 45 minutes

This longer route is designed to showcase as many natural marvels of the area as possible! Beginning from the eastern skirts of Villarrica volcano you will have views of the active crater of Villarrica on one side, and the inactive Quetrupillan volcano to the left. We will fly over ancient native araucaria forests before heading down towards the private Pellaifa lake where the surround scenery cannot fail to transport you to prehistoric times! We continue to cross over beautiful valleys from where you will observe the Choshuenco volcano, called Mocho in the Mapudungun language. From there we reach the eastern shores of Panguipulli lake before flying over Riñihue lake from where we begin our return route towards Pucón. On the return leg of the journey we will fly over the towns of Panguipulli, Lican Ray and Villarrica and as we come closer to Pucón the imposing Villarrica volcano crater will appear in the background. Not quite finished yet... the journey heads over Pucón to Caburgua lake with its crystalline waters and white sandy beaches before finally returning to the aerodrome and landing once again on terra firme.

Helicopter ride 6 Lake Villarrica Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon

So, there you have it! What a wonderful way to see the area! Each flight goes with a minimum of 3 passengers, whose combined weight must not exceed 220 kilos. Prior reservation only with departure and arrivals from the Pucón aerodrome only.

For more information and reservations contact Sol y Nieve Travel Adventuretoday to get your helicopter experience booked right now! We highly recommend the optional extra of the Chilean BBQ at Sol y Nieve's private and secret location! Contact us herefor more details.

Happy flying!

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With so many adventure activities available in Pucón it can be hard to choose! The hardcore take on the one day ascent of the Villarrica volcano. Others prefer a more tranquil Mapuche culture experience day. Some are keen to see the foothills of the Andes on horseback, others want to get lost in the forests with a half day canopy trip. What cannot be omitted by anyone as it is an activity appropriate and open to all is a half day white water rafting trip!

Yes, you can river raft in other parts of the world, but the added bonus in Pucón is that every curve of the river affords glimpses of the omnipresent Villarrica volcano and other surrounding mountains making the whole experience perfectly unique!

White water river rafting is one of the most traditional excursions around Pucón, and Sol y Nieve was the first company to commercialize the activity over 30 years ago. The Trancura and Liucura rivers are home to some of the best white water in the world, and the proximity to the center of Pucón, just 30 minutes away, is another reason why these waters have become a highly sought after rafting and kayaking destination on the planet.

Rafting Pucon

Why chose Sol y Nieve for your river rating experience? The sheer passion of the Sol y Nieve guides. Their love of the water is evident; you can see it in the shine in their eyes. And when they begin handing out equipment and giving instructions, they do it with a joke and a smile that is simply contagious. They seem to live for the river and they just love sharing that passion with you. Read on for other reasons to choose white water rafting in Pucón.

There are a couple of river options which are dependent on the time of year. The Trancura Alto (Upper Trancura), the high river, is a high adrenaline Class IV+ option available between October/November to May/June usually. During the season when the water rushes down from the mountains, the Alto becomes a torrent of rapids which turn it into true white water and therefore it is even off limits for those with heaps of experience. During those months, the Liucura, or Trancura Bajo (Lower Trancura) offers a year-round option with rapids which range between Class 2 and Class 3.

The lower river is also a great option for families as you don't need any prior experience. The only restrictions are a minimum age of 14 years old, and you also must be able to swim to participate. Each descent will run with a minimum of 4 and maximum of 6 people per raft.

Rafting Rio Trancura - Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure 5

Regardless of which option you choose, you will spend around an hour on the water itself, paddling your way through sections of rapids, drops and curves. The guides shout out instructions as you descend the river so that everyone knows when to paddle, when to rest, which side to jump to etc, always with raft stability and client safety of paramount importance.

An added extra on these excursions is the presence of various bird species that feed from the river and nest in the trees on the banks. The surprisingly large Ring-Necked Kingfisher can often be seen gliding gracefully across the surface of the river in search of a fresh catch.

Ring Necked Kingfisher

Rafting these rivers provides a fast, furious and action fueled experience. The noise of the approaching rapids mixed with the adrenaline rush you feel will surprise you when you are on the river and stay with you afterwards in your memory.

Included in the activity is return transport, a wetsuit, neoprene boots, life jacket, helmet, paddle, bilingual guide, insurance, coffee and snacks at the end of the trip. All you need is a change of clothes, swim gear, sun protection and a towel.

So, when you are wondering what to do during your stay, first check out our "How to make the best of 3 days in Pucón" blog, then drop us a mail here and let Sol y Nieve help work out how to fit in your white water experience according to your interests, budget and of course the season of your visit.

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The Mapuche culture is alive and strong in southern Chile and offers a great alternative for cultural tourism when experienced with a knowledgeable guide and a well-organized itinerary. Sol y Nieveoffers just the right balance of history and first-hand insight with their Mapuche Cultural tour.

First however, a bit of background...

The word Mapuche is made up of two words; "Mapu" meaning land, and "che" meaning people and refers collectively to different groups of peoples, from the North the Picunche, from the South the Huilliche and the Moluche and the Nguluche from the Araucanía region. Their ancestors moved to the region now known as Chile 12,000 years ago. They are the only indigenous group that withstood the attacks of the Inca and were never conquered by them.

Mapudungun words

Archaeological remains found date back to 600-500 BC but it wasn´t until Spanish contact in the early 16th century with what is now known as Latin America that great transformations to the society as the Mapuche knew it began to take place. Among the most beneficial were the adoption of Old World crops and animals, and a trade exchange between the Spanish and the indigenous population that lasted for decades. The traditional economy of the Mapuche has always been based on agriculture and they are also known for the beautiful and complex woven textiles which were an important part of trade for centuries, even before the European encounter.

The Mapuche continued to maintain their own societal culture and were never completely subjugated by the Spanish empire. By spreading eastwards into the Pampas and the Patagonian plains during the 18th & 19th century, the Mapuche groups controlled a substantial area, and therefore trade, in this geographical area.

Many altercations took place between the Spanish and the Mapuche involving spilt blood and spreading disease. Needless to say, many lives were lost over the years. After independence from Spain and the birth of the Chilean Republic, lands were bought and the area controlled by the Mapuche was significantly reduced to roughly the surface area that today is known as the region of the Araucanía. Temuco remains the regional capital and Pucón is located to the south east of the region flanked by the Andean foothills.

Currently the Mapuche population is around 1.5 million in Chile, and 200,000 in Argentina. According to the 2012 census, 37.4% of the Chilean Mapuche population lives in Santiago and the rest in the south between the 8th and the 10th regions.

Their language, Mapudungun, was first written down by missionaries using adaptations of European language orthographic systems. The writings that have survived often use different spellings and even different alphabets. Today, Mapudungun is taught in schools and is experiencing a revival. Signs in municipal buildings in the Araucanía region for example are printed bilingual in both Spanish and Mapudungun.

Ok, history lesson over and now it is time for you to reserve your excursion to find out more for yourself. The Mapuche Cultural Experience takes place in the Quelhue community just 2 kilometers from the center of town. Starting out at the Sol y Nieve office, you will be taken along the northern shore of the Trancura River where you will cross the new bridge, stopping to take photos of the old hanging bridge and the river below.

quelhue

We will spend our time in the community on Doña Rosario's property that features two "Ruka's" – traditional houses of the Mapuche. You will enjoy a talk which will impart details of the culture, lifestyle, gastronomy and typical games of this ancestral race. The tour includes a typical food tasting, and you can also add on a Chilean bbq with prior reservation.

Mapuche 3

This half day excursion allows time to maximize your day by adding on one of the many other half day excursions offered by Sol y Nievesuch as rafting, hydrospeed, horse riding, canopy or the unique-to-Pucón Villarrica volcano ascent.

We look forward to hearing from you soon! For more information and reservations drop us a line here.

©SW2017-Author's rights reserved

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This is a common dilemma for travelers anywhere in the world and it is no different when you are considering Chile and South America. Are you a backpacker stalwart or a wheeled bag convert? Or are you looking for something in the middle?

backpackers Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon Chilewheeled bag Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon Chile

Personal preference, duration of trip, previous backpacking experiences, choice of accommodation and transport type will all influence in your decision. Chile, and South America in general, is a huge geographical space to travel around and offers plenty of both backpacker style and more luxury travel options. Some airports are small and local, some huge and international. Bus stations are close to town or on the very outskirts. It is wise to do your research and consider where, and how, you want to travel. The traditional travel styles that used to dictate that backpackers didn't frequent hotels or carry laptops, or that luxury hotels are only for the over 50s with matching hard-shell suitcases, no longer exist, in fact they are pretty much obsolete. Today anything goes!

Here are our thoughts on the pros and cons of backpacks or wheeled bags for you to throw into the mix. We hope they help you make the correct decision!

Pros of the Traditional Backpack

Hands-Free – this is the biggest pro for traveling with a backpack! It makes buying bus tickets, flagging down a ride, filling in check in forms, anything that require hands infinitely easier. Note: this only applies if you are not laden down with a day pack and three extra bags hanging from your arms too!

Easily Navigate Stairs, Streets, Subways etc – this is definitely true, as long as you are happy to walk up and down those stairs with a heavy backpack!

Comfortable – if you pay good money a decent backpack that has been tightened to your body shape should feel great, like an extension of your own body. The weight should fall on your hips and not on your shoulders. Avoid cheap options!

Easy to Store – if you are going to stay in hostels then the space available for storage does tend to be fairly reduced. Visualize a 6-bed dorm with just two people with large wheelie bags or hard-shell cases opened up on the floor and you can imagine the predicament! You can also store your backpack closer to you on a train as they usually fit in the overhead sections.

backpack storage Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon Chile

Perfect for multiple day hiking/camping trips – they fit in all your stuff, you don't care if it gets dirty and they have loads of pockets for rain jackets, snacks and water bottles.

Great for really rough terrain – there are plenty of places in Chile where the terrain underfoot is dusty and uneven. Wheeled luggage is not the best option if you definitely plan to move on foot from A to B.

Cons of the Traditional Backpack

Airline Travel – most baggage handlers don't care at all if your backpack was new and shiny when you checked it in. It will get thrown around and the contents dented. Be warned!

Packing Light – the larger the backpack the more stuff you can fit in it! Great! But that also means it will be heavier than you imagined. Especially after that "short" walk from the bus station turned into a 3-kilometer hike!

Accessibility of Your Stuff – even if you cleverly pack anticipating what you will next need, there will be something that gets left in the bottom! Always.

Cost – decent back packs are not cheap, at all. Shop wisely. See point on Comfort above.

Back Pain – it will happen at some point on a long trip with a backpack. There will be some days when you simply will not want to put that bear in your back at all. It is usually at that point when travelers begin coveting their neighbors' wheelie bag!

backpack bear on back very heavy Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon Chile

Pros of the Wheeled Bag

Not Having to Carry a Bag – this is pretty awesome when you are at the airport, in queues, checking in at hostels/hotels etc.

Ease of Packing/Organization – packing into something rectangular is infinitely easier than packing into a stand-up backpack. Always. It also means that you can find something quicker when you need it.

Airline Safe – no hanging down straps to get caught in carrousels and no external pockets from where things can get lost.

Able to Pack More – of course this depends on the size of the backpack we are comparing it with, but as a rule you can fit more into a rectangular wheeled bag that opens up almost completely, but of course that makes it heavier when you do have to pick it up!

Cons of the Wheeled Bag

Stairs – standing at the bottom of a long steep staircase with a heavy bag is a travelers nightmare! It is true that most places have lifts that you can take, but there will always be somewhere that won't. And it will probably be on the hottest day of the year too ☹

lots of stairs wheeled luggage Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon Chile

Broken Wheels – buy wisely and invest good money because a broken wheel is enough to destroy a trip... and may mean that you have to fork out for a new one half way through.

Train Travel Storage – almost all trains have storage for cases at the ends of each carriage but they fill up very fast so you may not have eyes on your luggage from your seat.

Harder to Store in Hostels – lockers are not really made for wheelie bags or cases, and the bed may not be high enough to shove it underneath. This is even more of a dilemma if you are on the top bunk.

Hands Full – if you have tickets in hand, plus a day pack, a jacket and a camera, you don't have free hands to pull you wheelie bag too. That is when a backpack really makes sense!

If you are still stuck there is an interesting alternative that many people go for when they can't decide: the Wheeled Bag with Backpack Straps.

wheeled backpack Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon Chilewheeled backpack  1 Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon Chile

However, (this is quite a big however!), it is common to hear that people never use the zip-away backpack straps. Ever. It is curious as one would imagine this would be the perfect alternative. The main reason seems to be that removing the straps and tucking them tidily back in again is not actually a very easy thing to do. It takes time and is often just not worth the hassle. If you can't wheel it for whatever reason, you can always carry it using the top and the side handles, so the hidden away straps do actually seem quite redundant and just add to the bulk of the bag unnecessarily.

So there you go! At the end of the day it is down to personal preference.

In summary: For long trips including multiple day hikes, hostel style lodging and bus or train travel, a backpack does make a lot of sense. For shorter trips (one month or under), with day excursions only, hotel or lodge style accommodation, and mainly plane (or hire car / fly drive) travel, a wheelie bag is just perfect.

Do bear in mind that a good day pack is an essential addition to both options and should be chosen with care. Don't choose one too big that ends up getting so stuffed with anything and everything that it ends up weighing over 15 kilos! And not so small that you can't fit in the day essentials such a camera, water, snacks, packed lunch, spare socks, wind jackets, extra layer and wallet. Good padded shoulder straps and side pockets for bottles are great extras. So are those that offer lots of pockets, but avoid those that have too many as the backpack can end up bulked out and square in size which tips your weight backwards and affects your center of gravity.

packable day pack Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon Chile

When you come to Pucón and take on the full day ascent of Villarrica volcano, you will get a day pack included with the equipment that is provided by Sol y Nieve. These packs are the perfect size for everything you need and will stop yours from getting scraped on the very wonderful toboggan style slide through the snow from the summit!

5 sliding down villarrica volcano sol y nieve pucon

Happy luggage shopping! For more information on activity options in Pucón contact Sol y Nieve here today. We look forward to welcoming backpackers or wheelie bag carriers alike!

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The preparations officially start in August when the supermarkets across Chile are filled with mountains of national flags and an impressive array of paper napkins, plates, tablecloths and aprons all in red, white and blue. The section selling bbq tools, charcoal, and the grills themselves have suddenly tripled in size.

"Dieciocho" (18) fever grips Chile every September and is possibly the most popular national holidays. If the 18th falls on a Wednesday for example, the holiday lasts for the whole week starting on the Friday before and finishing (unwillingly) the following Sunday.

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Officially the holiday dates are September 18 and 19. The history dates back to 1810 when Chileans took advantage of the weakest period during the Napoleonic Wars on the Iberian Peninsula to launch an attack that eventually led to independence. The 18th is not actually the date when independence was officially proclaimed however; instead it commemorates the proclamation of autonomy by the First Assembly of the newly created Government. In reality Chilean Independence day is February 12 1818, but, just like in the supermarkets today, celebrations started early and since 1811 the "dieciocho" has become the annual event.

Many years later, September 19 was named "Glorious Army Day", or "Day of the Glories of the Army", in remembrance of the successful achievements of the Chilean military against the Spanish forces. Formal military and naval parades are held throughout the country on the 19th with tributes made to Bernardo O´Higgins, the liberator who led the fight for independence.

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Pucón is a great place to base yourself for the celebrations given that there is so much to do in the town. Even though everything pretty much stops workwise during the week of the dieciocho, tourist activities will be on overtime! We do suggest though that you book transport and accommodation in advance though as seats and beds sell out quickly.

By basing yourself in Pucón, Sol y Nieve can organise your activities and excursions around the most important dieciocho events that you should not miss out on. This definitely includes the "fonda". Held in public parks across the country, the fonda translates more or less as a community festival with food, drinking, traditional games and dancing.

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First on the list to try is a "choripan" (chorizo sausage served in crunchy French style bread). These are closely followed by "empanadas" (Cornish style pasties), and most definitely "pebre" as it goes with almost everything. Pebre is the epitomy of yumminess: finely chopped tomatoes, onions, coriander, spicy green chilli pepper, seasoning and olive oil. It can be used to dip into or to pour over, whichever you prefer it is irresistible, and will be available in huge quantities throughout the fiesta period.

18 2 Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon choripan18 4 Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon empanadas

Local beers and Chilean wines will also be free flowing, as will Chicha – a fermented drink tasting deceivingly like non-alcoholic apple juice. It is not until you have been convinced that dancing the "cueca" (Chilean National Dance) is a good idea that you realise the "juice" is really quite strong!

If you prefer the harder stuff, there will be plenty of national Pisco up for grabs. Also watch out for "Melón con vino", yes, it is what it translates as, white wine served in half a melon. If you are feeling brave you could opt for a "Terremoto", (an earthquake), which is a mix of sweet fermented wine with a drop of Fernet, plus a generous scoop of pineapple icecream. Watch out if someone invites you for a "Replica", (an aftershock), as that is often served in a much larger glass!

After trying any combination of the above, dancing the cueca will suddenly seem like a great idea. Despite the fact that the dance is really quite a fine art that takes professionals years to master, all you need is a (willing!?) partner, a white handkerchief and the ability to laugh at yourself before you take this one on as a novice. It involves stomping your way around your partner in half circles whilst waving your white handkerchief around in a certain direction. Be prepared for the sudden change of direction "vueltas" and smile, a lot. It is most definitely something you have to try if you really want to feel the dieciocho spirit.

18 3 Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon cueca

A slightly less participatory activity is the rodeo which takes place in a semi-circled arena where "huasos" – Chilean cowboys – show impressive horse riding skills in the ring. You will also find a multitude of kites for sale in the national colours, and may even be offered a chance to participate in "rayuela" – a traditional game which involves throwing round discs towards a chalked line or onto a suspended cord. The idea is to hit the line or the cord allowing for points to be accumulated. It sounds simple but it is serious stuff, there are over 500 clubs throughout the country and rayuela was declared a national sport by government decree in 1948.

If you make it through the fonda with its long night of eating, drinking, dancing and playing, there will be the military parade to enjoy the next day. If after the parade you need some peace and quiet to recover, there are plenty of spots along the beach or at the marina to while away some time and reminisce on your experience. With the Villarrica volcano backdrop watching over the town, Pucón is the perfect place to enjoy the celebrations in the midst of nature.

Drop Sol y Nievea mail herefor more information and reservations, and you can also ask us about organising your own private fonda at Sol y Nieve's very own bbq quinchosporting double volcano views, horseback riding and a games area perfect for the more traditional options right through to good old football!

Happy dieciocho!

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Those crisp cool winter days can often be some of the best for enjoying Pucón. August sees better days then June and July with less rain and more bright blue skies punctuated with fluffy white clouds. They are those kind of winter days that take slightly aback by that first breath of cold air on stepping out of your hotel or hostel. However, dressed up with a thick scarf, good gloves and some decent winter gear, you can fully enjoy the outdoors during this month.

Your choice of what to do in Pucón will of course depend on your interests, budget, people in your group and physical condition among others. Also, you may be happy taking in the views of the snow-capped mountains from the comfort and warmth of a downtown café, or you may prefer to get out there and immerse yourself in nature.

Ascenso al Volcan Villarrica - Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure 1

Pucón is surrounded by vast natural beauty that not only captivates in a visual sense, but can also allow you that feeling of freedom that we so often forget to make time for in our busy lives. There are various options for getting out into the wild. Our favorites are detailed here:

WINTER NARNIA IN HUERQUEHUE NATIONAL PARK
This national park, a firm favorite during the summer months when it is filled with tourists picnicking and hoping to get a glimpse of a Magellanic woodpecker in-between the trees. However, the panorama changes during the winter when the trails are covered with snow and the panoramas are crisper than ever. At times, even the two waterfalls along the trails can freeze offering an amazing spectacle for those who dare to venture to discover them!

Views of Villarrica volcano

You don't have to complete the full trail to enjoy this winter wonderland. And also you may be lucky to spot fauna such as foxes and the elusive pudú as it is much easier to see their coats against the snowy backdrop. Sol y Nieve offer a full day guided trek guaranteed to allow you to optimize your day, not to mention leading you to the best photo stops en route.

DOG SLED ADVENTURES OVER THE SNOW
Another activity not too far removed from images of Narnia and the white witch is a dog sledding adventure just 40 minutes from Pucón. An amazing experience to share in couples or as a family. After arriving at the dog ranch and meeting the dogs and your guide, you will learn the basic commands necessary to control your huskies when out on the sled. As well as feeding and harnessing the pups, you will experience a real ride over snow and through native forest which is guaranteed to stay with your forever. The day includes lunch, snacks and all transport and is a real must for those who are seeking something different.

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HOT SPRINGS
As detailed here in our previous blog, a half or full day visit to the hot springs is simply not to be missed! You can choose between various resorts that range from rustic pools to fully equipped Spas and massage centers. Click here to read more detail of our personal favorites.

hot springs in winter

Sol y Nieve's options for adventure activities doesn't stop there! Even on a winter day you can head out to take on the summit of the Villarrica volcano, or enjoy a full day horse ride finished off with a Chilean bbq. You can even tackle the white water rapids on the local rivers by opting for a rafting trip! Anything is possible in Pucón, and despite August being mid-winter you can make it happen with Sol y Nieve. Contact us here today to find out more.

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Over the next couple of months Pucón will host thousands of visitors who will be donning their ski suits and rushing up to the pistes to enjoy some quality powder time!

We have never denied that there are plenty of other locations in the world where you can take to the slopes and enjoy some great scenery as well as some entertaining après-ski. However, where else in the world can you find fresh powder pistes on live volcanoes? Our lake region of southern Chile has become a firm favorite for ski lovers from the northern hemisphere. Even during their sun filled summers, thousands of "northerners" migrate south of the Equator in search of that fresh powder fix! Add live volcanoes into the equation and you have a perfect mix.

Here in our region we don't just have one, but two, top class resorts to choose from. Read on to find out more!

Ski Pucón resort is just 25 minutes from the center of Pucón itself. With 6 ski lifts connecting 17 pistes, plus a 200m long x 50m wide mini snow park for ski and snowboard games, events, action & acrobatics, there is plenty to fill your winter days. The 17 pistes are distributed as follows: 4 easy (green); 6 intermediate (red); 5 difficult (blue) and 2 very hard (black). Of course there are also classes on offer, personal or group, plus daily activities for your skiing bambinos!

Ski Pucón

From the pistes the views are simply amazing. On a clear day you can see 5 volcanoes including the Osorno volcano near Puerto Montt. Not to mention Andean lakes tucked in-between ancient forests. Also, as a perfect end to your skiing day, you can choose from one of the main thermal hot spring resortslocated around Pucón and the surrounding valleys. Check out our latest blogfor more information on local hot spring options.

If you are still not convinced, throughout the winter season there are also two internationally renowned events that take place on the Villarrica volcano ski slopes: the free style Big Bang Pucón uniting some of the best skiers and snowboarders from across the country; and the Avalancha en el Volcán (Volcano Avalanche) competition which, due to the immense off piste space, lends itself perfectly for this free ride competition that starts at the crater of the volcano and finishes at the ski center at the base. For more information on the 2016 Avalancha en el Volcán event click here.

For more information on seasons, prices, equipment hire, as well as for daily weather and piste reports contact Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure here.

The other main ski attraction in our region is the Las Araucarias resort located 82 km north east of Temuco on the flanks of the Llaima volcano. This magical ski resort is located within the stunning Conguillio National Park where you find yourself surrounded by ancient araucaria trees and turquoise glacial lakes.

With 1 chairlift and 3 ski lifts, Las Araucarias is smaller than the Ski Centre Pucón, though it does offer 350 hectares of skiable surface area. The main pistes are punctuated by perfect examples of araucaria trees that seem to revel in the spectacle of dozens of winter skiers enjoying their domain.

Ski Las Araucarias 2 mapa

The journey up to Las Araucarias is an experience in its own right passing through forests of endemic trees and narrow snow ploughed tracks. Do check that you have the right chains for your hire car or truck though as it is usually obligatory to carry them. Sol y Nievecan organize transfers if you prefer to sit back and enjoy the scenery!

So, what are you going to go for in 2017? Skiing on a boring old slope or on fresh powder on the flanks of live volcanoes? No competition! For details on how to arrive, transfers in and out, ski rental and other local information, drop Sol y Nieve a mail hereand let us do the organizing for you.

Ski Las Araucarias 1

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Many people arrive to Pucón and head straight out to Huerquehue National Parkto get in their fix of hiking. However,Sol y Nievehas an insider tip which we are prepared to share with our loyal readers!

Just outside of Pucón at the base of Villarrica volcano there is a section of the national park that is home to some pretty fantastic craters. You can get up close to them on a short hike which will also allow you some great views over the town of Pucón, Villarrica lake, surrounding valleys and of course of the neighbouring volcanoes.

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This little known excursion is called the Parasitic Crater Trail, or Los Cráteres Parásitos, in Spanish. Located within the temperate Andean forest at the foot of Villarrica volcano this family friendly trek allows you can get close to these mini volcanic craters. Both the mini craters and the lava field they lie within were created during eruptions which took place many decades ago.

6 Crateres parasitos parasitic caves Pucon Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Chile

Just 30 minutes outside of Pucón the trek begins on a volcanic lahar which was produced by the 1971 eruption. This section is now almost completely covered over by vegetation interspersed by small lenga forests. After a short while you will cross a dried river bed before entering into a dense coigue forest where the path begins to ascend. As you get deeper into the forest you will cross various vegetation-filled crevasses where you can enjoy local flora and fauna such as the bright red flowers of the Chilean firebush and small, brilliantly colored lizards.

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5 Crateres parasitos parasitic caves Pucon Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Chile

As you continue, the forest of coigue gives way to lenga and a view of the Villarrica volcano and the surrounding valleys lies before you. In the distance on a clear day you will be able to see Caburgua and Huilipilún lakes, Llaima volcano and even the snowy caps (los nevados) of Sollipulli.

As the hike continues you will begin to observe the first vestiges of lava from the most recent eruptions. Due to the uneven terrain the path becomes slightly more difficult to follow but our guide will expertly show you through. After one and a half hours the destination is revealed: a series of parasitic craters ranging from 5 to 10 meters in diameter from which lava once flowed in both directions. Some craters are slightly eroded, while others are much more recognizable.

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The whole trek takes around 4 hours including plenty of time for stops for snacks, photos and exploration. The walk begins at 1175 masl and ascends a total of 280m to the maximum altitude of 1430 masl. It is perfect for people who have little trekking experience, but also for those who have limited time in Pucón and want to combine two half day excursions.

You can wear normal trainers during the summer months, but during the autumn months we recommend hiking boots and walking poles. As winter advances, there is also the option to explore the same area with snow shoes (raquetas de nieve).

Contact Sol y Nievefor more information on this and alternative treks. Pucón is not just about that famous, and really rather challenging, one day ascent to the crater of Villarrica volcano, so help us spread the word. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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As you can see from the many blogs Sol y Nievehave published over the years, there are many, many reason to visit Pucón during the whole year. One staple on everyone's itinerary, regardless of sun or rain, is a visit to one of the many hot spring resorts around the town.

These pockets of peace and serenity really come into their own during fall and winter. There is simply nothing better than basking in 38 degree water while rain, or even snow, falls around you.

Some are built into narrow valleys offering glimpses of cloud laden skies punctuated by the rounded tips of Araucaria trees perched on cliff top peaks. Others are located on flat plateaus allowing for wider, more panoramic lush forest views. Some are rustic in style with minimal infrastructure and fewer services. Others are fully fledged resorts with fine dining restaurants and modern Spas offering massage and alternative therapies. Whichever you opt for, the experience is well worth that brief chilly moment when you have just changed into your swim gear but are not yet immersed in the warm healing waters!

Hot springs occur naturally when bodies of water found in the inner earth are heated by magma (molten rock). Due to changes in the earth's pressure, this water rises to the surface forming a hot spring. Chile's location on the Pacific Rim of Fire is well known for its intense volcanic activity, and the many natural hot spring resorts close to the town are testament to the ready source of heat below the surface.

The minerals found in these natural waters here in the south are renowned for their beneficial properties. Rich in sulfates they are known to soothe dermatological problems, can improve digestive complaints, and are also recommended for gastric, liver and vesicular conditions.

Sol y Nieveoffer return transfers to many of the local hot spring options. Here are just some of our favorites to get you started:

Los Pozones Hot Springs

Termas Los Pozones - Los Pozones Hot Springs - Pucon
Located 37 km from Pucón, Los Pozones features six natural stone pools with varying temperatures and is one of the most popular hot spring resorts around Pucón. Located alongside the Liucura river, the views of the surrounding valley are impressive. Changing areas are rustic and there are no other facilities such as a café or seating area. Take water, towel, flip flops and just the cash you need for the entrance fee.

Huife Hot Springs

Termas Huife - Huife Hot Springs - Pucon

A more developed resort including a Spa and restaurant located 33 km from Pucón. The ceramic tiled pools offer a more upmarket sojourn. There is a main pool flanked with sun loungers; another with a roof for particularly rainy days, and yet another cooler pool close to the edge of the Liucura river perfect for stimulating and toning the skin. Changing rooms, lockers and hot thermal showers are all available and the Spa has an interesting range of massages and therapies on offer.

Peumayen Lodge and Hot Springs

Termas Peumayen - Peumayen Hot Springs - Pucon

Peumayen, "A Dreamed-of Place", is located on the same road as Huife and Los Pozones at Km 28. Right on the edge of the Liucura river past the accommodation area, 2 small thermal pools have great views up- and down-river allowing for full immersion into nature. There is also an indoor pool close to the main reception and restaurant. If you plan to use both, take flip flops and something warm to wear while moving between the pools as the main changing area is located by the indoor pool. An award winning restaurant specializing in local cuisine with a French twist completes your day.

Quimey-Co Hot Springs

Termas Quimey-Co - Quimey-Co Hot Springs - Pucon

At Km 30 on the same road as the options mentioned above, Quimey-Co has indoor and outdoor pools, a restaurant and café, Spa services and also various paths through the local forest leading to viewpoints over the Liucura river perfect for whiling away some time before or after your dip in the thermal waters. Take your walking shoes and a good book as the park is perfect for spending a good few hours before heading back into town.

Menetué Hot Springs

Termas Menetué - Menetué Hot Springs - Pucon

This Thermal Park has two indoor and one outdoor pools, an convenient changing area as well as a beautifully crafted Spa offering a range of alternative therapies using mud, honey, chocolate and wine! The excellent restaurant is well worth checking out after your dip. Menetué is located 30 km from Pucón off the international highway towards Argentina so can be combined with your onward journey across the Andes if time permits.

Geometric Hot Springs

Termas Geometricas - Geometric Hot Springs - Pucon

An impressive architectural masterpiece, "Las Geométricas" is made up of 17 pools tiled with natural slate and connected by deep red wooden platforms. The location in a lush deep green canyon is awe inspiring. Two waterfalls and three cold plunge pools offer the chance to cool off in-between hot water dips. A café heated by an outdoor oven serves delicious but simple dishes and fresh coffee. Not the closest option to Pucón, these hot springs are located approx. 90 km away and require a minimum of 1,5 hours to arrive. The last 16 km are unpaved so if you take your own vehicle take care on the blind curves.

So there you go! Sol y Nieveoffers some great combos too such as National Park Hiking+ Canyoning+ Hot springs; or Villarrica Volcano Ascent+ Hot springs + Chilean Bbqare among our best sellers. Drop us a line here so we can help you organize your time in Pucón so you max out on the best things to do during the Fall season. Get in touch heretoday!

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Around and about Pucón there are many national parks and reserves where you can enjoy a full day trekking, or even follow a circuit and camp overnight. Huerquehue National Park, Villarrica National Park, El Cañi Reserve are in all the guidebooks and will never fail to delight.

However, there exists a little-known wilderness on the road towards Argentina where you can enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and Araucaria forests, as well as spotting wildlife that is curious to take a look at those who dare to step off the beaten track.

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This area, called Puesco, is actually part of the Villarrica National Park, though it is far from the main entrance located close to Pucón from where you can access the full day Villarrica volcano hike. Officially known as the Andean Lake Circuit, to reach the area you leave Pucón towards Curarrehue, the centre of the local Mapuche community. After around 40 minutes the mountains seem ever closer and you can begin to appreciate the spectacular rock formations called Las Peinatas (The Haircombs) and Colmillo del Diablo (Devil's Molar).

A Sol y Nieve day tour to do the Andean Lake Trek will stop at the Conaf information center to take a look at the small flora and fauna museum before continuing on to the Momolluco waterfalls and Quillelhue Lagoon. Both have viewpoints where you will stop for photos and also to fully absorb the magnificence of the mountains and rock formations.

By this point of the day you will be really close to the border with Argentina and are at the very bottom of the imposing Lanin volcano. A short walk will take you to the physical Argentine-Chilean border where we will see a Christ Redeemer statue that is testimony to the close relations between these two Andean countries.

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From there you will continue onto the Huinfiuca Lagoon trail which is relatively short and appropriate for all ages and fitness levels. At what seems like a private beach on the shores of the lagoon you will enjoy our picnic lunch with the Lanin volcano overlooking the well-deserved sojourn.

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After some time to enjoy the peace and the silence of Huinfiuca, you will leave the majestic mountains behind but will stop in Curarrehue at the cultural center and handicraft market to learn more about the traditions of this ancestral community before returning to Pucón.

This full day excursion that unites culture and nature allows both an insight into the local community as well as offering optimum chances to spot local fauna such as the Magellanic Woodpecker.

Well worth factoring into your stay in Pucón! To book in advance contact Sol y Nieve here. We look forward to welcoming you to showing you the lost wilderness away from the crowds!

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The Color Run has become a standard of our summer events here in Pucón after another successful series during the summer of 2016. Once again events have been scheduled across the country to coincide with the extremely busy vacation season. 2017 saw Puerto Varas integrate as new host of The Color Run fun. Sunday 22 January saw the launch of the race in the southern lakeside resort. Hundreds of runners participated in the "Happiest 5km Race on the Planet"! A series of 3 more events are scheduled for La Serena on Sunday 5 Feb, our very own Pucón on Sunday 12 Feb, and Concón just north of Viña del Mar on Sunday 19 Feb.

Gold, silver and rainbow color powders will be thrown around the skies and streets of these lucky destinations as the participants make their way along their 5km route. The first Color Run took place in the United States in 2011 and was inspired by international events such as Disney's World of Color, Mud Runs and Hindu festivals such as Holi. The concept behind the race is celebrate sport, joy and fun, and ultimately to reduce the focus on competition and encourage smiles and family fun while keeping everyone fit and healthy too. Sounds simple? It is! Sounds like fun? It most definitely is!!!

color run pucon 2016

Color Run staff are in charge of launching color powder at you as you run along the route. You can even do the race with small kids in a stroller if you choose to. Any child under 1,2 m tall goes free when accompanied with an adult and registered with the paying adult in advance. The idea is that you all complete the 5km route which terminates in a party field where all your powder sachets will be thrown at once to celebrate the achievement of the day! To see how it all happened last year at previous events click here.

You must register online with advance sales fees set at $ 10.000 per person, increasing up to $ 12.000 closer to the event. Each paying participant will receive a pack including a Color Run t-shirt, a sachet of Color Run powder and a wrist band which must be worn on the day of the contest. Then the fun begins!

Details to bear in mind:

- You must pay in advance online or at one of the designated sales points (puntos de venta) and collect your kit from one of these sales points up to and including the day before the programmed race.
- You can show a preference for t-shirt size when you register but Color Run does not guarantee that you will receive that size when you collect your kit.
- It is your responsibility to check that the wrist band is in your kit when you receive it and it must be worn from that moment onwards during the day.
- In case of inclement weather (rain, hail, wind, even if it is too hot!), the race will not be suspended.
- The color powder is made from natural components and is 100% non-toxic but could result in stains on clothing and hair. Please take precautions to wear appropriate clothing as Color Run will not be held responsible.
- Eye protection is not necessary but some runners choose to wear sunglasses.
- You can use cameras during the race but it is advisable to place them in a zip lock bag for example.
- If you suffer from asthma and or skin allergies please remember that participation is at your own risk and Color Run will not be held responsible for any ensuing problems.

There are limited spaces for each event so if you plan to be in Pucón then get online today and guarantee your space. For more information on last years' Pucón event, go to this link. And while you are online, make the most of your trip and reserve some super adventure activities with Sol y Nieve too to keep that spirit of fun alive for longer than just the day of the Color Run. Get in touch here today!

We look forward to giving you a fun Color Run welcome in Pucón!

color run 2017 sol y nieve pucon

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It is almost triathlon time again in Pucón! In just over two weeks the streets of the city will be cordoned off and the sidewalks lined with spectators who arrive early to marvel at the physical stamina and tenacious determination of the participants of the famous Ironman triathlon.

Held as part of an internationally renowned series of triatlons, the Pucón competition has been named "the most beautiful race on earth" by several independent sporting magazines. This world famous swim-cycle-run combo challenge leads the winners a step closer to the Ironman World final which, in 2017, will be held in Hawaii. Two dozen countries host qualifying rounds including around 130.000 competitors, all hoping to get through to that ultimate world final where they will have a stab at lifting the world title.

Ironman Pucón 2017

start swim Ironman Pucón

2016 saw the Mapuche community of Curarrehue incorporated into the 90 kilometer cycle route for the first time. This cycle route remains the same for 2017. This year the major addition is the inclusion of designated "transition zones". These are specific areas where equipment and bikes are picked up and dropped off during the changes from swim to cycle and from cycle to run. They are designed to make the competition friendlier to the local environment as well as offering competitors tidier and easier transitions between the three sporting elements included in the competition.

With returning champions already registered for the competition, it is once again set to be a fiery race with a close finish no doubt. Here is more detail of how the route looks for 2017...

Swim: The 1900m swim in Villarrica Lake is a point-to-point "M" shaped course where athletes will be required to exit and re-enter the water to complete the second half of the swim.

swim route
Bike 1: The single out-and-back 90 km bike course is between O'Higgins and Curarrehue. Entrance is by the new transition by Ansorena. The first part of the course will have athletes riding in town before heading out towards the rural roads.

b bike course 1

Bike 2: The single out-and-back 90 km bike course is between O'Higgins and Curarrehue. Entrance to the transition area is by Ansorena.

c bike course 2

Run: The challenging 21 km run consists of three (3) loops of 7 km's.

d run course

For further information click here.

As ever, for the more sedate among us, we suggest you arrive early as the front row track side seats in cafés and restaurants fill up fast. It is both perfectly viable, not to mention acceptable!, to install yourself at a table with a view of the race track where you can have breakfast, coffee and cake, lunch and afternoon snacks with beer until late. Even just watching the exertion is exhausting!

end swim Ironman Pucón

If you indulged yourself with zero extertion on Ironman race day we do challenge you to experience a little of your own extreme adventure by allowing Sol y Nieve to help you organize some slightly less challenging, but still adrenaline pumping experiences, for your stay such as the Villarrica volcano hike, horseriding or white water river rafting.

Contact the main office here for further information or click on the links above to get the low down on the options. Happy planning and good luck to all the brave Ironman participants Ironman 2017!

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White water rafting on the Trancura or Liucura rivers has been a stock "must-do" activity in Pucón for decades now! The first commercial descents began waaaaay back in the early 1990's, with Sol y Nieve among the first to offer those rivers to tourists.

As a result, rafting has become one of the most traditional, and best loved, activities around Pucón. The international white water kayak and rafting competitions that are hosted every year attract experienced competitors from across the globe proving how inviting, and challenging! the waters really are.

But of course you can go white water rafting in many other destinations so why choose Pucón?

Here are our 7 top reasons why!

#1. Really close by! Just 30 minutes after leaving your hostel or hotel and you will be at the river edge getting kitted up and ready to begin your river experience!

#2. Experienced Sol y Nieve guides:Their love of the water is evident; you can see it in the shine in their eyes. They seem to live for the river and they just love sharing that passion with you.

Gringo sol y nieve

#3. Amazing volcano views: Every curve of the river affords glimpses of the omnipresent Villarrica volcano and other surrounding mountains making the whole experience perfectly unique.

#4. Year round options: Trancura Alto (Upper Trancura), the high river, is a high adrenaline Class IV+ option usually available between October/November to May/June. During the season when the water rushes down from the mountains, the Alto becomes a torrent of rapids which turn it into true white water and therefore it is even off limits for those with heaps of experience. During those months, the Liucura, or Trancura Bajo (Lower Trancura) offers a year round option with rapids which range between Class 2 and Class 3.

Rafting Rio Trancura - Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure 2

#5. A perfect family experience: because you don't need any prior experience for the lower river it is great option for families. You do however have to be able to swim and be a minimum age of 14.

Rafting Pucon 2

#6. Bird life! An added extra on these excursions is the presence of various bird species that feed from the river and nest in the trees on the banks. The surprisingly large Ring Necked Kingfisher can often be seen gliding gracefully across the surface of the river in search of a fresh catch.

Ring Necked Kingfisher

#7. Well maintained equipment: Sol y Nieve prides itself on the quality of the equipment offered in all excursions. In the case of rafting you will get a wetsuit, neoprene boots, life jacket, helmet and of course the all essential paddle. Also included is return transport to the river edge, your bilingual guide, insurance, coffee and snacks at the end of the trip. All you need to get together is a change of clothes, swim gear, sun protection and a towel.

So there you go! 7 reasons why Pucón's local rivers are a great option for that white water river experience. You will find many operators offering discounts, combos and attractive prices, but do take care to look out for that value added element that is hard to put a price on, good old experience. And Sol y Nieve sure does have a lot of that!

Check out our reviews on Trip Advisor here as well as why we believe our Sol y Nieve guides are the best for making your rafting trip an unforgettable experience!

For reservations and further info please drop Sol y Nieve a line here.
Happy planning!

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For the second year running Chile has recently won the prestigious award of South America's Leading Adventure Tourism Destination!

In a battle to the finish against Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay, Chile came out top once again. This is simply no coincidence! The other countries that were in the running are amazing destinations with unbelievable adventure activities on offer, but after the votes were counted Chile stood tall in first place once again!

We have been shouting about the activities on offer in Chile for quite some time now, so it is fantastic that Chile has received such a significant accolade as it confirms what we all know here on the ground.

Pucón has long been dubbed the adventure tourism capital of Chile, so it is, simply be default, the most perfect place to begin your trip. Why not start off in style by tackling our full day non-technical ascent of Villarrica volcano?!

1 ascent villarrica volcano sol y nieve pucon

Here are our top eight reasons why you should do the Villarrica volcano ascent today with Sol y Nieve:

#1. Anyone can give the day trek a go! As long as you are not on crutches, have recently had back surgery or are really really really scared of heights, then there is no reasonable reason why you cannot get yourself up to the summit! There is no denying that it is not a walk in the park, and yes, you do need to be in relatively good shape, but a positive attitude is way more important, oh, and trust in your guide! If you still need more convincing check out our previous "Do you think I can make it?" blog here.

#2. Our guides are fully qualified, totally competent cheery fellows who have been up to that summit many more times than you could believe! It will actually harder to believe that they do that for a living after you have summited yourself and are reflecting on your day over a cold beer thinking "wow, what a once in a lifetime experience"!

2  sergio guide sol y nieve pucon

#3. Our equipment is well maintained, clean and cared for, and it is renewed whenever it begins to show signs of unacceptable wear and tear. You will be asked to wear a helmet, carry an ice axe and crampons, and will be handed a wind jacket and over trousers too for the descent. The amount of stuff you have to take with you looks quite a lot at first sight, but it is all essential gear and without it you are simply not allowed to ascend.

3 equipment for sol y nieve blog hiking boots gaiters ice axe helmet crampons backpack

#4. You will be able to peak into the crater and (maybe!) see this lava lake, usually! No other words necessary! That is simply really very cool! We must add that we cannot guarantee you see lava when you are at the summit, some days there is too much vapor, some days the lava is deeper in the crater than others. There is definitely more chance of seeing it there though than if you stay downtown wondering whether you could have actually gotten yourself to the peak!

4 lava lake ascent villarrica volcano sol y nieve pucon

#5. You also get to slide down on your bottom on a manmade snow toboggan run. That is more than cool (literally!) and is often quoted as the best part of the day by our clients!

5 sliding down villarrica volcano sol y nieve pucon

#6. You get to see views like this from the crater.

6 Views from Volcan Villarrica sol y nieve pucon

#7. This will never ever have tasted so good!

7 beer after ascent villarrica volcano sol y nieve pucon

#8. And while you are enjoying it you will marvel that you were standing right there not too many hours ago!

8 peak from Pucon after ascent villarrica volcano sol y nieve pucon

If you are fit, healthy and have a spirit of adventure there really is no reason why the full day ascent of one of the world's most active volcanoes would not be at the top of your bucket list!

While we are on the subject of awards, the vote is currently open for Chile to win the WORLD's leading adventure tourism destination! This time on a global scale Chile is up against Australia, Canada, Ecuador, Japan, New Zealand, Thailand and the USA for this even more prestigious award.

You can vote here if you agree that Chile deserves to come out top of this amazing list too!

For more detail of our other exciting adventure excursions such as white water rafting, hydrospeed, horseriding, canyoning, as well as the Villarrica volcano ascent, please contact Sol y Nieve here today!

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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For decades avid cyclists across the planet have taken on all kinds of terrain. Eventually they deplete their closest destinations and they begin to search further afield for new options. Chile falls into this latter category. Hidden away between the Andes, the Pacific and vast ice caps, it is not always the first choice for many as a holiday destination, let alone as a cycling destination.

However, over recent year's cycle tourism has become more and more popular thanks to the favorable conditions in Chile, leading to such great accolades as this:

"Chile leads rankings of best destination in world for cycle tourism"!

Recently published in the international magazine Cycling About, this ranking was created by asking cycling fanatics from diverse countries around the globe to nominate their favorite cycling destination on the planet. Chile was repeated so many times that when the final count was taken, it by far ranked number one beating neighboring Argentina as well as the United States (see full top 10 list here).

1. Chile
2. United States
3. Argentina
4. Tajikistan
5. Kyrgyzstan
6. Australia
7. Turkey
8. Norway
9. China
10. France

So what is it about Chile that lends itself to great cycle tourism?

Views, climate and nature are the factors that lead to the top ranking... One voter said that "if you visit Chile with a bike you will never feel so alive".

Another voter described Chile as a place where "nature reigns, the climate surprises and the views are nothing short of spectacular".

Atacama cycling chile Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon

Patagonia, the Southern Highway (Carretera Austral), southern lake regions, Atacama desert and the Sico pass were all nominated as immeasurably beautiful backdrops. Of course you can enjoy these views without having to put in the effort of peddling your way over thousands of kilometers of tarmac, but the country is set up to receive cyclists, and nothing replaces the joy of having expended your own energy to truly immerse yourself in the raw beauty of Chilean nature.

Carretera austral southern highway chile Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure Pucon

Pucón is a great base for peddling out from. You can do short trips such as a 19km return bike ride to the Ojos de Caburgua, spectacular waterfalls just outside the town. You can opt for a more challenging ride on much rougher terrain in the local national parks. Alternatively, and only for die-hards, you can take on the Ruta Interlagos (Linked Lake Route), which is a fully paved route connecting the regions of the Araucania, Los Ríos and Los Lagos... that means Pucón to Puerto Montt, about 1.920 km of roads showcasing the beauty of 22 lakes and bringing tourism right into the heart of a 500.000 population across the local communities located here in the central south. For more information on this option check out our previous blog here.

Road trip Chile 7 Red Interlagos lakes and volcanoes

So, if you find you have peddled all the places you thought you wanted to visit in the world, think again. Get yourself to Santiago and straight down to Pucón and take on our beautiful corner of the planet before someone else you know does it first!

For more information on day trips from Pucón, bike rental and general tips for travel to Chile, get in touch with Sol y Nieve today here.

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If you tick three of more of the following statements, then this is definitely the event of the year for you!!!

  • You are an avid skier or snowboarder
  • Your body doesn't mind being challenging to the extreme
  • You love being part of something super fun with other likeminded peeps
  • Your friends would say you definitely verge more on the crazy side of crazy!

The sixth version of Patagonia Avalancha en el Volcán is taking place this year between 12 & 20 September and inscriptions are now open! (Please note the exact date of the event depends on the weather conditions and will be confirmed closer to the time).

creditos-fotos Patricio-Garrido avalancha en el volcan 2

Sadly last year the volcano was still being monitored after the 2015 March 3 eruption so the event was put on hold until all restrictions were lifted. Villarrica volcano is behaving as it should right now so the event is scheduled for just a few weeks' time.

The idea is that you summit the 2847m peak with all your gear on your back, and then descend as fast as you possibly can on any route you see fit to take! Immense fun, definitely as a competitor but as a spectator too!

This international freeride can only be compared by the traditional Italian Caponi Dell'Etna race and unites skiers and snowboarders from Chile and across the world. There is no specific prepared piste, each competitor choses the route they like the look of the best. At one minute intervals participants hurtle themselves from the summit in a bid to cover the space between the crater and the ski cafeteria in the fastest time possible!

The backdrop over the Andes and the surrounding virgin forests is simply spectacular, but the views will be forgotten as soon as the descent begins and the spirit of the race takes over. The concept is simple: move fast and move safely.

1 - Views from Volcan Villarrica

As crazy as that sounds, the day is strictly organised and the various descent route options are monitored at all times. All participants ascend with qualified mountain guides who frequently take clients to the crater of the volcano. Each participant must carry their own safety equipment which will be checked on the day of the event by the organisers. Of course first aid and safety crews will be on the volcano at all times but as with all mountain sports, the decision to participate and assume all risks lie with each competitor.

For 2016 there are 80 places available only via prior inscription at avalanchaenelvolcan
Of those 80 places, 60 are for adults and 20 are for the mini avalancha competitors (11 to 17 years old). Places cost $ 80.000 each but if you sign up before 31 July there is a 50% discount.

In addition, the night before the race a base camp will be set up so competitors can overnight allowing for an evening of relax and fun where you can meet your guides and exchange your passion for the white stuff with other participants. For more information check out the Avalancha Facebook page here.

avalancha en el volcan pucon sol y nieve travel adventure

If you are intrigued by this live volcano but can't make the date for the Avalancha competition, feel free to drop Sol y Nieve a mail here to ask about options to get up there on the mountain. Meanwhile, check out our previous blogs here: Myth Busting Villarrica volcano ascent and a Behind the Scenes look at the one day ascent for more information.
Happy planning!

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