Set among a wild landscape of volcanoes, forests and rivers, this southern Chilean town excites with outdoor adventures and the magnificence of its scenery.
Villarrica sits on the shores of Villarrica Lake, close to one of Chile's most active volcanoes. Surrounded by mountains, rivers and forests, this waterfront city is a magnet for outdoor lovers. Trek through a national park, relax in hot spring baths, hike up volcanic slopes and ski down them in the winter.
Get acquainted with the city by investigating its cultural attractions. Stop by the Plaza de Armas, a leafy public square in the area where the city was founded in 1552. Tour Villarrica Cathedral and browse the exhibits at Villarrica Museum.
Take advantage of the city’s lakeside setting. Go for a stroll along the promenade, unwind on a beach and rent a kayak to explore the lake. Dine at sunset at a restaurant along Avenida Costanera, a waterfront thoroughfare. From here, you can enjoy wonderful views of the lake and Villarrica Volcano. The road also encompasses public squares and a cycle path.
One of the area’s most visited attractions is Villarrica National Park, home to a chain of three volcanoes. A popular jumping off point for this vast wilderness is the city of Pucón, which also sits on Villarrica Lake.
During the summer, try rafting and fishing along the park's rivers and trek to Leon and La China waterfalls. Among the wildlife you might see here are Andean foxes, peregrine falcons and black-necked swans. Take a guided expedition up the slopes of the snow-capped Villarrica Volcano for sweeping views of the national park and beyond. In winter, carve up the slopes at the Villarrica-Pucón Ski Resort.
After a strenuous hike or skiing expedition, soothe aching muscles at Conaripe Hot Springs. Relax in outdoor pools filled with warm spring waters enriched with sodium, calcium and other minerals. At night, go back to Pucón for its bars and casino.
To experience Villarrica's exhilarating outdoor pursuits and attractions, fly into Temuco, about an hour away by road. Complete the journey by bus or rental car.