From the peaks of Hawaii to the highlands of Iceland, whether active or inactive, volcanoes inspire the imagination of many travelers. Villarrica is the most active volcano in Chile.
A country with many volcanoes, Chile is home to Villarrica, which surpasses the lake of the same name. Located in Patagonia, a region that attracts many visitors, and reaching 2847 meters, the mammoth volcano is one of the most active in the country. The most recent eruption, which occurred in 1971, created a 4 km crack spilled 30 million cubic meters of lava. In March 2015, several thousand people were evacuated from the surrounding area after a less violent eruption.
Who should visit?
The fire past of this volcano, made up of many layers of hardened lava, did not stop visitors from daring. “Villarrica”, which means “house of the devil” in the language of the Mapudungun, can be climbed by hikers, who are accustomed to fight the steep slopes. Those who came back to tell about it emphasize the importance of proper preparation for a walk, depending on the season, can become a calvary. Equipped with hiking sticks, 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.
Why this fate?
It is a region that can be visited in winter as in summer. Villarrica is also a popular ski area. A chairlift takes skiers to the first mountain range that is at an altitude of 1,860 meters. While they are there, they have the opportunity to inspect the remains of another elevator, which was destroyed by the eruption of 1971. For summer tourists, the first target is the Pinguinera, surrounded by snow-capped peaks. The highlight of the excursion is the crater 200 meters in diameter, where hikers will be greeted by the spectacle of fumaroles and their magma resounding beneath their feet. Last but not least, when they reach the summit climbers, they are rewarded with a panoramic view of the region. If you are lucky, you can see other volcanoes in the surroundings, and even Argentina.
How to get?
Several bus companies operate services on the 800-km route between the Chilean capital Santiago and the coastal city 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 Pucón, the best option is to hire a professional guide who will be aware of the security risks involved in visiting the mountain.