HIKING NATIONAL PARKS OF THE LAKES & VOLCANOES DISTRICT 8 DAYS
This 8-day hiking tour is for nature lovers and is the best way to experience The Lake & Volcano District of Chile. While visiting up to 7 protected wild areas you will observe endemic birds and learn about their behavior. Likewise, you will learn about some of the most active Chilean volcanoes, some of them located in Chile’s First Geopark, as well as walk through native forest of Nothofagus and ancient Araucarias.
Join us in some of our fixed departure dates or contact us for a private departure.
Duration: 8 days / 7 nights
MAR 11/ABR 18
Meet / Depart: Temuco airport – Puerto Montt airport
Accommodation: Lodging at 3* and 4* hotels and luxury lodges & spas
Flights: We can help you buying local flights at the best prices
Distances: From 5-7 hours hiking each day.
Activities included: Hiking, hot springs, bird watching, flora and fauna interpretation.
Extras: We can help you planning a pre or post tour in Chile including hotels, transfers, car rental, all inclusive packages, day tours and more in Patagonia, Easter Island, Atacama, Wine country and Santiago.
- Conguillio National Park hike
- Huerquehue National Park hike
- Villarrica National Park hike
- Huilo Huilo Natural Biosphere Reserve hike
- Lodging at Baobab Hotel at Huilo Huilo
- Puyehue National Park
- Vicente Perez Rosales National Park
- Alerce Andino National Park
- 3*- 4* hotels and luxury unique lodges
- Transportation on modern air conditioned van
- Professional guide with expertise on volcanology, flora and fauna
DAY 01: TEMUCO – CONGULLIO NATIONAL PARK – PUCON
Upon your arrival, our friendly staff will meet you at the local airport followed by driving about 2 ½ hours passing through old-fashioned little towns like Cunco and Melipeuco until we’ll get to the Conguillío National Park, one of the most attractive and outstanding parks of the Lakes & Volcanoes District.
This well-conserved territory is situated between 900 and 3.125 meters high (2.953 to 10.253 feet) covering an area of 60.832 hectares (150.320 acres).
While we visit the park you will witness how the Llaima volcano has permanently shaped the landscape of the area with its eruptions and you’ll have the fantastic opportunity to walk on the lava flows that once came from the heart of the earth.
We’ll also visit the Truful-Truful Falls and the pristine Arco Iris (Rainbow) Lagoon with its clear waters that reflect stunning colors. Then we’ll have a box-lunch at Playa Linda (nice beach) located at the shores of Conguillío Lake; followed by hiking along the Sierra Nevada trail (2 ½ hours round trip) surrounded by native trees, including ancient monkey-puzzle trees or araucarias (Araucaria araucana), raulí (Nothofagus alpina) and coigüe (Nothofagus dombeyi). Normally, it takes about 1½ hours to get to the second look-out point which overlooks the majestic lake Conguillío and the Sierra Nevada Range. We’ll also be able to spot endemic birds such as the magellan woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus), which we will see searching the tree trunks for insects. We will also hear and possibly catch a glimpse of the chucao tapaculo (Selorchilis rubecula) and the noisy slender-billed parakeet (Enicognatus leptorhynchus). After spending some time taking pictures and enjoying the amazing view, we’ll hike back to the bottom of the trail and then get in the minibuses to drive to the Park Information Center, where we’ll learn about the different fauna, trees, and other interesting aspects of the sector. After that visit we’ll commence our return to the urban areas, driving 2 ½ hours approximately towards Pucón and stay overnight at the hotel.
Accommodation at Hotel in Pucon
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DAY 02: PUCON – HUERQUEHUE NATIONAL PARK – HUIFE HOT SPRINGS
Pucón is known in Chile as the main adventure destination in the Lakes & Volcanoes District, and today we’ll head southeast in the direction of Huerquehue National Park, located at the foothills of the Andes, 35 km (22 miles) from Pucón. The park covers 12.500 hectares (30.890 acres) with various lagoons, dense vegetation and gigantic trees that are the habitat of several endemic birds.
We pass the entrance post and drive another 3 km until the road ends; from this point we are at only 400 m from the trail.
The hike starts easy but after a short distance the trail becomes rougher and sometimes steeper, but is still considered a relatively easy hiking level After walking 30 minutes at an easy pace, we’ll get to the Nido de Aguilas (nest of eagles) waterfalls and then we’ll keep hiking on a steeper terrain, surrounded by gigantic coigües (Nothofagus dombeyi) and mañíos (Podocarpus nubigena). We have arrived at the first lookout point where the views of Villarrica Volcano (2.847 m / 9.349 feet) and Tinquilco Lake are absolutely stunning; here you’ll find great photo opportunities as well as chance to reenergize with a snack. As we continue hiking, our guide will point out some wild flora of the area (i.e. mutisias, orchids and alstroemerias), and if luck is on our side, we can spot some birds that live in the forests of Nothofagus, such as chucao tapaculo (Selorchilis rubecula), black-throated huet-huet (Pteroptochos tarnii) and the magellan woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus) among others.
After hiking another 20 minutes, we’ll arrive at the Trufulco Falls where we stop for a short time. At this point the trail gets more demanding, but not so much that everyone won’t be able to reach the second lookout point, where the view gets even better.
We catch our breath again and resume the hike along the trail; now that we are over 1000 m / 3.280 feet above sea level we begin to see the first araucarias (Araucaria araucana). Soon we will walk through a mixed forest with many of these trees, considered to be a national monument for their exceptional characteristics.
We have hiked around 2½ hours when we arrive at the first lake called Chico (small), with its clear waters reflecting the image of hundred of araucarias and snow-capped peaks. The trail gets more even and in only 15 minutes we arrive at Lago Toro (Bull Lake). Here we eat our well deserved box lunch and spend some more time taking pictures or simply resting. We can watch the breathtaking landscape and spot some of the birdlife that inhabits the shores of this lake, such as the Andean ducks (Oxyura ferruginea), aiding our observation with binoculars.
Following the break, we keep going through an easy terrain and visit the third lake called Verde (green) which is the last attraction of our hike. Now we can commence a two-hour decent by the same trail to the parking area.
We leave the park and drive 40 minutes through a scenic rural road to visit and unwind at Huife Hot Springs, which will be the perfect end to this very active day. The place offers three outdoor thermal pools at different temperatures, a good restaurant and a cafeteria. In addition, the center also includes massage and beauty therapy services for an additional cost. In this place you can enjoy the scenery while relaxing in the therapeutic thermal waters. It is highly recommendable to change pools because when varying the body temperature that stimulates blood circulation, i.e. from hot to cold water; but if you feel brave enough, we encourage you to go into the cold waters of the river Liucura and then jump back to a hot pool.
Accommodation at Hotel in Pucon
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DAY 03: PUCON – VILLARRICA NATIONAL PARK
Departing from Pucón, we head southeast driving 35 km / 22 miles to Palguín valley through the National Park Villarrica, enjoying views of scenic waterfalls formed by basaltic rock and several majestic snow-capped volcanoes such as Quetrupillán (2.390 m / 7.841 feet) and Rucapillan (2.847 meters / 9.340 feet). The vegetation changes from raulí (Nothofagus alpina) and hualle (Nothofagus oblicua) forests to araucarias (Araucaria araucana) as we ascend to Chinay, the highest point of the day at 1.250 meters / 4.101 feet altitude. From Chinay we’ll experience a descent through the forest; jumping and dodging natural obstacles like roots and mud puddles. After an almost 7-hour exhausting hike, we will reward our physical effort by visiting the Geometricas Hot Springs. This place offers the perfect combination between thermal facilities and natural surroundings. Located in the environs of the park, Termas Geometricas has 16 strategically located thermal pools, allowing the visitors to never feel overcrowded. The natural surroundings are exuberant and the facilities are simple but very cozy. Finally we get in the minibus and return to Pucón. While driving down the road we’ll have a wonderful view of Calafquén Lake, which is situated on the eastern border of Coñaripe, a town that was totally destroyed by the 1964 eruption of the Villarrica volcano (Rucapillan). Return to hotel in Pucón.
Accommodation at Hotel in Pucon
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DAY 04: PUCON – HUILO-HUILO NATIONAL RESERVE
After an early breakfast we’ll leave Pucón and head toward the Ecological Reservoir of Huilo-Huilo, traveling in the minibus along a section of the ‘7 Lakes Route’. We start driving toward the city of Villarrica, where we turn left and head south on the road to the Calafquén Lake and Lican Ray hamlet. From there, we continue the journey via a countryside road that is surrounded by green meadows, cattle farms and native forests, until we get to the crossroad with the city of Panguipulli and keep on heading southeast alongside the shores of lake Panguipulli. After a while, we’ll reach the picturesque village of Neltume, located between the lakes Neltume and Pirehueico.
Here we find the Huilo Huilo Nature Reserve; a private ecological initiative located in the heart of the ancient temperate rainforest at the tip of South America. Its wide variety of native trees (mainly of Nothofagus genre) covers 90% of its sixty thousand hectares.
The Reserve boasts of nearly 250 kilometers of roads and trails that allow you to discover pristine beaches, streams, waterfalls and lakes. We can truly say that Huilo-Huilo is one of those places that “has everything you need”. The Mocho and Choshuenco volcanoes with their glaciers that allow for the practice of skiing and snowboarding (it has the only Summer Snowboard Park of South America), spectacular water falls, native forest, rivers and a wide array of activities ranging from canopy, horse-back riding, 4×4 overland and hiking trails for all levels.
Within the park we find four hiking trails, the Magnetic Stones trail (3-hour hike, medium), the Truful Route (3½-hour hike, medium), the Truful River (6-hour hike, difficult) and Quinchamalí Lookout-point (3-hour hike, easy). Some of the highlights include a botanical forest, scenic clear-water lagoons, mighty waterfalls and amazing views of snow-capped volcanoes.
For those people keen to learn about the Reserve’s natural value, there are scientific walks that focus on the botanic, bird watching, geology and history of the place, as well as flora & fauna interpretation.
Finally, a terrific way to experience the nature here is with the canopy tour; a group of platforms between 15 and 25 m high (50 to 80 feet) are linked to each other by hanging bridges and suspended steal-wires. You’ll literally feel like you are flying over the rainforest, rivers and canyons, as you glide across the cables, following a route that extends for 3 km /2 miles. Lodging at Baobab Hotel in Huilo Huilo Natural Reserve
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DAY 05: HUILO – HUILO – PUYEHUE NATIONAL PARK
At 9 o’clock we leave Huilo Huilo and drive south for 2 hour on the Pan-American Highway until we get to Osorno. There, we take a beautiful secondary road towards the east, passing by the town of Entre Lagos and driving alongside the Puyehue Lake until we arrive at the hotel of your choice.
Today we invite you to join us in this amazing scenic excursion to Antillanca Ski Resort located in the Puyehue National Park, which was founded in 1941 and is situated in an extraordinarily beautiful zone in the middle of the Andes foothills. Its surface area covers 100 thousand hectares (220,000 acres), with its unique geography resulting from intense glaciations and volcanic action.
The volcanic activity manifests itself in the Antillanca area, where we find the dormant Casablanca Volcano, rising to an altitude of 1,990 m (6,527 feet above sea level). The Humid Evergreen forest, originated due to the high rainfall in the zone, is the predominant forest in the park. Of the species found here, the most common ones include ulmo (Eucryphia cordifolia) and coigüe (Nothofagus dombeyi), which are most abundant in the lower levels of the park.
We’ll start driving from Lake Puyehue, ascending by a paved road until we get to the entrance of the park. Then we continue on and take a dirt road that will take us to the ski center (45-60 minute drive). While traveling, we can see beautiful waterfalls and tranquil small lakes such as Toro, Encanto and Paraiso. Upon arriving at the mountain center we begin hiking for 30 minutes along a steep path through the native forest, arriving at a small road that leads us to the Rayhuén crater (place with flowers) of 1,350 m altitude (4,429 ft) at the foothill of the Casablanca Volcano. Here at the extinct crater we take a little break while enjoying the view of Lake Puyehue and then we’ll proceed on a short but tough trail of volcanic ash on the south edge of the crater. After no more than 20 minutes we’ll arrive at the Mirador Gaviotas (1,410 m / 4,626 ft) and if the day is clear, we can see three amazing snow-capped mountains, Mount Tronador (3,491 m / 11,453 ft), Puntiagudo Volcano (2,498 m / 8,196 ft) and Osorno Volcano with its perfect cone (2652 m / 8,700 ft). This extraordinary view will accompany us while we descend on the other side of this volcanic slag hill until we get to Cerro Mirador, the second look-out point of our hike. Finally, we’ll head to Cerro Colorado (reddish hill) where we can see the lakes Rupanco and Puyehue, and after this third “mirador” we’ll depart to Antillanca Hotel where you can relax for a few minutes (or have lunch for an additional cost) and then drive back to your hotel. During the evening, we’ll enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Lodging at Hotel in Puyehue
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DAY 06: PUYEHUE – PUERTO VARAS – ENSENADA – VICENTE PEREZ ROSALES NATIONAL PARK
When in Puerto Varas or Puerto Montt, it’s worth while to visit the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, the very first wild protected area in Chile. The park covers a territory of nearly 627 thousand acres with extraordinary landscapes that include native forests, mountains and volcanoes with snow-capped peaks.
On the way out from Puerto Varas, we’ll travel alongside the Llanquihue Lake en route to the village of Ensenada, where we head toward the Osorno Volcano and stop at the starting point of the El Solitario trail (2-hour drive). Here we begin hiking through the native forest with the volcano on our left-hand during the entire route and passing by a valley covered by lava flows that were formed by old eruptions. After almost 2 hours of hiking, we’ll arrive at the road that leads to the main entrance of the park, where we’ll get in the vehicle and drive for a few minutes toward the entry. Upon our arrival we’ll visit the powerful Petrohue Falls with its turquoise waters; there are three beautiful waterfalls that make their way through solid basaltic rocks that once came from the depths of the earth. If the weather permits, we will have a view of the Osorno Volcano (2652 m / 8,700 ft) with its rounded top; the volcano appears so close that it becomes the perfect backdrop for such an idyllic landscape.
After a few minutes of wandering around the picture-perfect surroundings and taking photos, we’ll walk for 20 minutes through an easy and even trail called Los Enamorados (the lovers), passing by the shores of the river Petrohué and the pristine native forest. If we are lucky, we can spot the ringed kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata stellata) that can be seen perched on a branch looking for fish in the clear-water ponds. Then we go back to the vehicles and head to the amazingly gorgeous Todos Los Santos Lake (all the saints) where we spend some more time enjoying the scenery.
Lodging at Hotel in Puerto Varas
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DAY 07: PUERTO VARAS – PUERTO MONTT – ALERCE ANDINO NATIONAL PARK
The Alerce Andino National Park is a mountainous zone that covers 39.225 hectares (96.927 acres) situated east of Puerto Montt City, between the Gulf and the Estuary of Reloncaví and south of Chapo Lake. It boasts of over 20.000 hectares of Larch trees forest (Fitzroya cupressoides) and around 50 small lakes scattered throughout this uneven geography. It is an ideal place for trekking, mountain climbing, hiking and nature watching.
Traveling from Puerto Montt, the park is 40 km away (25 miles), taking around 1½ hours by van. The road is considered the starting point of the world famous Austral Road (Carretera Austral), passing by beautiful evergreen forests, farm fields and amazing mountain peaks. We’ll walk through the native forest on an even trail that is covered by a dozen of different kinds of ferns and moss. The trail leads to a nice-looking cascade and takes only 20 minutes to complete.
Then we continue walking on the main road of the park, until we get to the entry of a challenging trail that will take us through a larch tree forest called El Rodazal. We’ll have to put a lot of effort because this trail is like a natural stairway that ascends endlessly for 3 hours of hiking. You will witness the grandeur of nature as we encounter huge larch trees with trunks of over 4 m in diameter and 50 m high. We’ll also be able to spot endemic birds such as the Magellan woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus), and possibly catch a glimpse of the curious Chucao tapaculo (Selorchilis rubecula). Return to the vehicles and transfer to the city. In the evening we’ll share a farewell dinner with our local guides.
Lodging at Hotel in Puerto Varas
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DAY 08: PUERTO VARAS – PUERTO MONTT – AIRPORT
Transfer to the airport or to departure point for the lake crossing tour. End of services.
- Lodging on mentioned Hotels described in the itinerary or similar
- Specialized English speaking tour guide
- Private transportation
- Meals as per itinerary (2 lunch, 4 box lunches, 2 dinners) B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; BL: Box Lunch; D: Dinner
- Entrance fees
- All activities according to the itinerary.
- International and domestic flights (ask us if you need us to quote and buy local flights)
- Tips & Extra drinks
Guided hikes including natural interpretation on the volcanology and the indigenous flora and fauna of the parks, as well as cultural interpretation and focus on the history and traditions of local communities; hot springs.
Medium – High, designed for people who lead active lives and are comfortable participating in up to  hours of physical activity per day. Programs at this level generally involve some activities of higher intensity and/or a more vigorous pace.
Modern van or minibus according to group size. Air-condition.
Slight itinerary modifications might occur due to weather and or road conditions, or force majeur.
WHAT TO BRING
Bring worn hiking shoes. Towel and bath suit. Sun glasses and sun protector. Parka with hat, raincoat. Warm and also light clothes. Lantern.