From the peaks of Hawaii to the highlands of Iceland, whether active or inactive, volcanoes inspire travelers’ imaginations.
There are volcanic destinations for all types of tourists. One of those places to visit is the Cordillera Patagonia and Villarrica, which is the most active volcano in Chile.
A country with many volcanoes, Chile is particularly home to Villarrica, which surpasses the lake of the same name.
Located in Patagonia, a region that attracts many visitors, and rises to 2,847 meters above sea level, the giant volcano is one of the most active in the country.
The most recent major eruption, which occurred in 1971, created a 4 kilometer long crack that spilled 30 million cubic meters of lava.
In March 2015, several thousand people were evacuated from the surrounding area after a less violent eruption.
The fiery past of this stratovolcano, composed of several successive layers of hardened lava, did not dissuade the audacious visitors.
Villarrica means “house of the devil” in the language of Mapudungun, and can be climbed by hiking enthusiasts, who are accustomed to fighting steep slopes.
Those who retell the story emphasize the importance of proper preparation for a walk that, depending on the season, can become a calvary.
Equipped with hiking poles, helmets and trekking boots, climbers take from four to five hours to reach the summit. The trek requires a full day with an early start in the morning.
It is a region that can be visited in winter and summer. Villarrica is also a popular ski area. A chairlift takes skiers to the first mountain range at an altitude of 1,860 meters.
While there, they have the opportunity to inspect the remains of another lift that was destroyed by the 1971 eruption.
For vacationers, the first objective is the Pinguinera, surrounded by snowy peaks.
The highlight of the hike is the crater 200 meters in diameter, where hikers will be greeted by the sight of the fumaroles and the sound of magma rumbling beneath their feet.
Finally, when they reach the summit, climbers are rewarded with an extraordinary panoramic view of the region.
If you are lucky, you can see other volcanoes in the vicinity, and even Argentina.
Several bus companies operate the services on the 800-kilometer road between the Chilean capital Santiago and the coastal town of Pucón, which is the main starting point for exploring Villarrica.
When planning your departure from Santiago, it is important to take into account the weather conditions that you may encounter during your hike.
Upon arrival in Pucon, the best option is to hire a professional guide who will be aware of the security risks involved in visiting the mountain.