The central and southern part of Chile is as different from the northern desert as is possible. An hour and half flight south from Santiago lands you near Pucón, the top outdoors destination in Chile with shimmering lakes, lush forests and rolling farmland, punctuated by the snowcapped volcanoes.
At two major national parks, Huerquehue and Villarrica, hiking through dense forests of monkey puzzle trees and huge ferns is a popular activity in this green, untamed land. There are also underground caves formed by lava flow to explore, zip-line canopy courses, rafting and kayaking, horseback riding and world-class fly-fishing in the crystal clear waters.
But despite Pucón’s draw for adrenaline junkies and outdoor adventurers, the nature here is a quiet one, and many people come simply to immerse themselves in peaceful, reflective journeys.