Introduction

Pucón is firmly positioned on the global map as a center for adventure sports; its setting on beautiful Lago Villarrica under the smoldering eye of the volcano of the same name seals its fate as a world-class destination for adrenaline junkies. Once a summer playground for the rich, Pucón is now a year-round adventure machine catering to all incomes, especially in February (a time to avoid, if possible), when it is absolutely overrun. The town receives alternating floods of package tourists, Santiago holidaymakers, novice Brazilian snowboarders, adventure-seeking backpackers, new-age spiritualists and mellowed-out ex-activists turned eco-pioneers. While its popularity can be off-putting for some, Pucón boasts the best small-town tourism infrastructure south of Costa Rica. That means quality accommodations, efficient tourism agencies, hundreds of activities and excursions, vegetarian restaurants, falafel, microbrews and hundreds of expat residents from the world over.