Hello everybody!! I’m back from my short vacations, so I want to share a bit of that with you all now that work isn’t still fully loaded and I have some time to write and edit photos.
I posted a lot of stories and photos on my personal Instagram if you are interested to complement this post, but I think this would be more extensive.
This is my second time visiting Valdivia and Panguipulli, but my first time posting about it here. I was on a doll break last time, but now I’m glad to say I bring Licca with me so there will be a second post about this trip, all about her photos.
We flew to Valdivia first, it’s an hour and 15 minutes flight from my city (8 hours or so by bus!) and we didn’t have much planned for that day except eating something in Valdivia (which we ended up not having time to do) and then take a bus to Panguipulli, the place we would be staying.
A bit of info about it from wikipedia: Panguipulli (Mapudungun for “hill of the puma”) is a city in Valdivia Province. Panguipulli is located on the western edge of Panguipulli Lake, and is on a moraine in the Chilean Central Valley. Most of the commune lies on Andean mountains and valleys.
That means a lot of walking uphill, yes haha. We got there on a Sunday and everything was closed so we had to eat whatever we could find. The owners of the Hostel we stayed in offered to take us to Calafquén lake to go for a swim and spend the afternoon there. We went to a very hidden and hard to reach place of the lake so there were only a few people around. This was also my first time swimming on a lake! I’m a very much city person and it has only been a few years since I started to make this kind of trips, so I was glad to start our vacations with something new.
Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve
Next day we repeated a stop we made the previous year: Huilo Huilo. Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve is a private for profit natural reserve and ecotourism project in southern Chile. The reserve was created in 1999 and includes 600 km2 (232 sq mi) of native forest in Chile dedicated to wildlife conservation and tourism.
We were hoping to see all the places we have already seen last year, but time was against us, since the last bus to Panguipulli passed at 5pm (and we managed to miss it anyways so we had to hire a transfer). We went to the Deer forest, which is a piece of the Reserve where they raise deer. It’s a forest with a walkway that’s higher so you can see the deer from up top and not disturb them. Best hours to see the deer are 10am and 4pm which are the times they are fed. We got there a bit late so we didn’t manage to see that many, but no worries, I’ll show you some photos from last year where we saw plenty of them.
After the deer path is over you can also check a Museum and also a second path where you can see some boars.
Still in Huilo Huilo we walked through another part of the Reserve to see Salto La Leona (The lioness waterfall I think?). It is a short walk through the forest where you get to a viewpoint were you can see the water.
In the same place of the Reserve, there’s a longer path called “Sendero de los espíritus” (The path of the spirits), which is full of wood statues about Mapuche’s religion, one of our aborigen cultures.
The next day one of our friends was sick so She stayed up in the Hostel and we stayed in Panguipulli to walk around the city and buy stuff to get back home.
Botánica gourmet is a store that specializes in tea made in Villarrica. I was really excited for this stop.
La Fama is a bakery that specializes in unique cake flavors. I have to admit they are the best cakes I’ve ever eaten and we went there EVERY DAY. Between my friend’s picks and mine I believe I tried most cakes! And they were very well priced. Around 3.75 USD a big piece of cake.
The cultural house of Panguipulli behind the church showcases ceramic work crafted by locals based in old aborigen cultures. They also sell smaller vases with the same themes, but I’m kind of clumsy so I didn’t bring any home. They were gorgeous though.
We ended the day taking doll photos in front of San Sebastian church. But those photos will have to wait for next time. For now, have a few photos of me trying to capture the perfect angle of Licca chan.
Villarrica National Park
Fourth day we went to Villarrica National Park. The main entrance is actually in Pucón, in another region, but a good amount of the Park was actually near Coñaripe, a town an hour away from Panguipulli. There’s no public buses to the Park so hiring a transfer is mandatory (or having your own car, but the road is very curvy). We were lucky to find a transfer for a decent price at short’s notice. It was just Carmen and I again, as the third person was still sick. We decided to pay extra for the transfer to take us back to Panguipulli at 6pm, which is the time the Park closes so we could do the longest route that leads you to Pichillancahue’s glacier.
To reach Pichillancahue’s glacier you first have to walk through a forest filled with Araucarias (the tall trees in the photos). After that you need to cross a river (no bridge to cross, it was a scary adventure) and climb hills filled with volcanic stones until you reach the glacier. In the background behind the glacier you can see Villarrica’s volcano.
Once you reach the arid hills there’s not many signs to tell that you are on the right path to reach the glacier. I was very happy when we saw this sign since we were surrounded by nothing but hills.
It took us 3 hours to get up there, but we also took our sweet time taking photos (doll and non doll photos) as well as finding a safe place to cross the river.
After resting a bit and taking photos we went back down. It took us much less time to reach the Park’s entrance. I was so very glad to see the Araucaria trees again.
Fifth day was for resting as it was our last full day of vacations. Close to Coñaripe there’s a lot of hot springs that offer hot water pools and relaxation. We went to the most famous ones called Termas Geométricas (Geometric hot springs). There’s different pools made of stone over a pathway with different temperatures, the lowest being 36º Celsius and going up to well over 40º Celsius. We got there at 12pm and stayed up to 3pm. The Hot springs are open all day until 11pm so you can enjoy the night sky while there too. They are open all year (and in winter is filled with snow) and even though the entrance ticket is a bit pricey, you can stay all day long or even go out and eat in town and come back later. Since we had to yet again hire a transfer to reach the hot springs, we just stayed until 3pm and went back to Panguipulli after having lunch in Coñaripe.
We bathe in 38º C first, then went up to 40º C, back to 38º C and ended up in the coldest one before dressing up again. We didn’t dare going up in temperature as 40º C was already quite hot. It was very enjoyable and my feet were super thankful of the resting time after so many days walking non stop.
Last day we went to Valdivia to eat empanadas and walk around. We heard of another great tea store here so we went to check it out too. I got to say, I bought A LOT of tea in total.
In total I came home with 6 different types of tea between both stores (I bought other as gift too, but mine were 6), cocoa shell for infusions (from a different store), garlic from Chiloé Island (it has a softer flavor but it’s bigger in size) and also dry maqui, a chilean berry. Last two things were bought in Valdivia’s farmer’s market. I also bought a hand crafted wooden spoon for cooking so yeah, it was all food and things I could use.
So what do you think? Would you visit Chile? I hope I can show you more of my country in the future.
Next post will be all doll photos from the trip.