Monday, January 10, 2011

Pucon Weekend

Current Location: Chillan, Chile

What an AMAZING weekend! Pucon was an absolutely beautiful place, and I had such a good time. I am already planning what I’m going to do next time I visit. We left the University around 4, and we had a stop 1 hour in – at this beautiful waterfall called Salto de Laja. I haven’t seen many waterfalls before, and this one was absolutely beautiful. It was in a lower flow than it could be because it is summer up here, but it was still absolutely great. It was a nice little side stop, and it helped break up the trip a little bit. Also note the pretty rainbow I saw there too!

Pucon is a really cool touristy town in Chile. It is about 5 hours south of Chillan, which is 10 hours south of Santiago. It’s known best for a volcano called Villarrica, which you can climb in the summer. During the winter months, it becomes a major ski location as well. It also has activities like natural hot springs, write water rafting, canopy and zip lining, and cave diving. There is also a huge lake with beaches to lay on and you can rent paddle boats or jet skis. You could spend a week there and not be bored!

We arrived in Pucon a bit later than expected and checked into our cabanas. The place we stayed was so nice! We have 4, 5, and 6 bed cabanas, and in my opinion, our cabin was totally the best. Our cabin was 2 stories, with a kitchen and living room. After dropping off our stuff, we headed to book our activities tomorrow and get some dinner. After a lot of thinking and deciding, I chose not to hike the volcano. I had been so excited for it before hand, but it was an all day activity and I was still pretty tired from my week in the field, so I decided not to do it. Next time I go, I am totally going to climb the volcano – it’s on my bucket list now! That night, we were all tired and ended up just passing out after a delicious dinner of pizza.

The next day was our busy day and our only full day in Pucon. I woke up rather earlier than I would have preferred – I guess I have been so used to getting up at 7 AM for heading to the field that sleeping until 11 or 12 was too hard for my body. Jenna also woke up early, and we decided to go find the grocery store to pick up some breakfast essentials – particularly coffee. After a delicious breakfast, which we cooked for everyone, it was time to explore Pucon for a bit before white water rafting. The rafting was so much fun! We were given wet suit pants like I have worn in scuba diving, wet suit booties, a windbreaker jacket, a life jacket, and a helmet. The rapids were class III and IV, which are pretty intense rapids and were a lot of fun. I ended up in the front of the boat, which meant I got extra wet! It was so much fun – I was just sad when it had to end. My arms were quite sore though once we were done – not the muscles that I am used to working hard.

That night, we went to the hot springs. In Chile, because of the volcano, there are natural hot springs in several areas. We went to one of them – it’s actually like a natural hot tub. The water was so warm, which felt great on our sore muscles. We brought a few bottles of wine and stayed there for 3 hours on and off in the springs. They suggested getting out every 15 minutes to cool off, but I didn’t quite follow that. We tried to stay hydrated throughout the time, but I was still quite thirsty after we were done. The heat really makes you lose water, but its hard to tell. T was a great way to spend the night, and oh my god, the stars are ridiculous. I don’t think I had ever seen so many stars in my life – there were probably thousands I could see in the sky. Orion was so bright, and you could even see the Milky Way. Apparently there are more bright stars in the southern hemisphere. I’m not sure if it is from less ambient light or closer stars, but it is beautiful.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and Sunday was our day to leave. The morning we made breakfast again – this time French toast, and then headed to the lake to try to fix the lovely farmers tan that we have all been developing. I used sunscreen to try to prevent burning, but I completely failed in my application. Not sure if I didn’t shake it enough or the wind blew away the sunscreen, but there were many, many streaky spots all over my body by the night. I stayed out there for a few hours, and then it was back to pack and head to Chillan again. I wish we could have had a longer trip, but it was time for us to get back to Chillan for this last week in the field. I cannot believe that I only have a week left. Time has been flying and I am not ready to be leaving back to NYC. The weather here currently is much nicer than snow and cold!

P.S. I love comments!!! ;)

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