A Month in Chile | Villarica Volcano
A Month in Chile | Villarica Volcano
Traveling with a Baby and a 4 Year Old
We found that Google Maps were not very accurate at determining the amount of time it would take to get from point A to point B in Chile. They usually said it would take double the amount of time as it actually took. Our goal was to get from the Santa Cruz Valley to Villarica Volcano by Pucon however, it said it was about a 10 hour drive so we decided to break it up with a stop in the middle near LA at "El Rincon." While it was beautiful it was pretty far out of the way, especially after a 4 hour drive with the kiddos. We arrived with peanut butter and granola bars for snacks but since we hadn't signed up for the 3 course dinner they offered there was no food available even though they grew all their own vegetable and fruits right outside. We had to leave and drive at witching hour to LA to the grocery store where we got cheese, crackers and carrots for dinner since there also was no access to a kitchen. This was quite stressful with the kids, Pops hadn't napped and after driving for so long, arriving and Pops being so happy to be out of the car and then having to get back in the car to go back up long gravel roads to the highway it was melt down central. We should have planned better and had more food with us to avoid this but in retrospect we could have just driven the 2 more hours to Pucon and avoided El Rincon all together since it was just a single night stop over before getting to Pucon. They only allowed 2 people per room so John and Poppy had one room and Peaches and I had another. The mosquitoes were pretty bad so they had mosquito nets over the beds which Poppy loved, it was like a princess bed! However, this was the most stressful part of the trip and if that was it, we will take it!
Planning is key on a trip with the kids. They did provide a wonderful breakfast the following morning and Poppy enjoyed throwing leaves in a little ditch that ran down to a larger river and watching them go over the "waterfall."
We packed back up after breakfast, showers and playing and headed to the Lake District, Volcano Villarica above lake Villarica. It was an uneventful drive with lots of "eye spy" and explaining what "junkies" and hitchhikers are. The things we had to explain on this trip were pretty out there, but isn't that the point of travel? To learn things you would never encounter or experience at home! Then we played rhyming and spelling games as we drove to Villarica and then up to Pucon where we drove around the busy town before finally finding a parking spot and a pizza joint. We had a yummy veggie pizza where the server told us the volcano was at "red alert" which we had kept checking because it is set to go off any year now. There has been lots of activity in it and it usually goes off every 25 years but now it's been 30 years. It has been spewing some lava and lots of smoke but the server was wrong it was not a red alert but still a yellow alert. This terrified John and he was already on edge from navigating (I drove everywhere and he told me where to go), finding a grocery store and water and he was slightly nervous about the volcano but the red alert scare sent him into a bit of a panic.
We discussed it and decided to head on up to Mirador Los Volcanoes after hitting up a grocery store. It wasn't far but there was no proper map to tell us how to get here. We arrived and even in first gear we kept stalling out and sliding backwards. We had to get a "running start" to get up the mountain to reception. We checked in and the receptionist drove us back down that mountain and up another to our cabin which was well worth the crazy drive! It was an amazing 2 bedroom cabin with a view out the sliding glass doors of the volcano. Good for me, but the constant pouring of smoke out the top kept John on his toes.
There were 2 playgrounds, 2 pools, 2 hot tubs, sheep which Pops loved herding and a grill. And even better it was booked on AM Ex points so it was "free!" The girls played for a bit, Pops on the playground and Peaches on the bed learning to crawl.
A highlight of the trip was us taking turns going to the hot tub down the mountain with the volcano in the background at sunset. It was magical, other worldly....
Mirador Los Volcanoes by Villarica Volcano was our favorite part of the whole trip. It was beautiful, easy and such an adventure. Turns out the week after we left, the volcano erupted! Which wasn't surprising, you can see at night the lava at the top which you can't see during the day.
Poppy and I went horse back riding to a spot down the mountain with the volcano in the background. She did such a great job!
Peaches figuring out how to crawl!
John imagining the worst!