After leaving Chiloe and passing through Puerto Varas we decided to spend some time in Pucon, Chile. Pucon sits between two National Parks and is at the foot of the Villarica Volcano. Villarica is a snow capped volcano where tourists can climb and look in the caldera. We were pretty excited to climb the volcano until we learned that due to the earthquake the Volcano would be closed.
The town of Pucon.
So instead we went to the Cani reserve. Cani is a privately owned nature reserve that was purchased by environmentalists in Pucon to preserve an area of land that was going to be logged. At Cani we got a chance to climb to an elevation high enough to view three surrounding volcanoes and see the "Monkey Puzzle Tree".
Monkey Puzzle Trees at Cani.
Due to geothermal activity created by the volcano, Pucon has a number of thermal pools. We visited one, Therma Pozones, at night and had a great time. But on the van ride back Alexi´s digital camera was stolen by a family sitting behind us.
We also had our first encounter with bed bugs in Pucon. The hostel where we were staying was great, it seemed cleaned and the owners were really friendly and helpful. However, they failed to tell us that the room we were staying in had bed bugs. It became apparent that they knew about the bed bugs because after a few days, unprompted by us, they had the exterminator visit our room.
We stayed in Pucon much longer than anticipated due to uncertainty about how to proceed through areas in Chile that had been affected by the earthquake. So we ended up wandering around town a lot. In Pucon there were an alarming number of stray dogs, and number of which took a liking to us. We took them to the beach and played fetch, etc. We ended up accumulating a roving pack of dogs that would follow us everywhere and patiently wait outside whatever store or restaurant we were at. It was pretty strange walking down the sidewalk with 6 dogs following our every move.