Introduction

Unlike Pucón, its wild neighbor across windswept Lago Villarrica, Villarrica is a real living and breathing Chilean town. While not as charming, it's more down-to-earth than Pucón, lacks the bedlam associated with package-tour caravans, and has more reasonable prices and a faded-resort glory that attracts travelers of a certain lax disposition.

The newish costanera (lakeshore boardwalk), a post-2010 Concepción earthquake project, is impressive and they have done a fine job with the new artificial black-sand beach, Chile's first (the city's main street, Aviador Acevedo, also received a 2017 makeover). Considering you can book all the same activities here as in Pucón, it makes for an agreeable alternative for those seeking less in-your-face tourism and a more culturally appropriate experience.