We left Puerto Varas for Pucon expecting lots of adventure, as we'd heard it was THE place for extreme sports in S. America. As soon as we arrived we were bombarded with choices of activities and we decided on; volcano climbing for Christmas Eve, hydrospeeding for Christmas day and canyoning for boxing day.
We set off at around 6:30 am to begin our climb up Volcano Villarica. We got the chairlift up for the first 200m and then we had 1000m ascent to walk to the summit. It was pretty tough as we had to climb through snow which was slippery and very steep. At one point we felt like giving up but the promise of sliding down spurred us on. Four hours after starting the climb, we reached the top and the view was absolutely spectacular. You could see a chain of 10 volcanoes, surrounded by lakes and mountains. We also got to see the inside of an active volcano, which looks just how you would imagine it! After eating our lunch we began the descent. The most fun part! We had little plastic sleds to slide down on our bums and its pretty steep so you could pick up a lot of speed. At one point we both had to do a mission impossible style stunt as we lost control and had to dig our iceaxe into the snow. It was sooooo much fun!!! We wanted to climb to the top again just so we could slide down again.
That evening we went to some natural hot springs to relax and see in Christmas day under the stars!
We woke up early to skype the family and wish everyone a 'merry Christmas. We were very jealous of their Christmas dinner but definitely not of the weather! We made ourselves a Christmas breakfast of egg sandwiches and then got ready for hydrospeeding. Hydrospeeding is basically boogie boarding through rapids but Sarah was expecting it to be a nice lazy float down a river. We were given our wetsuits and a little float and set off into massive rapids! After the first 2 sections Sarah decided it wasn't for her and swam to the beach. Ben the daredevil, however, carried on and tackled the grade 3 rapids, he was lucky to only come out with a bruised knee.
That night, we had a BBQ, played cards and drank a lot of wine. Overall, a good but very different Christmas.
We were picked up for our canyonoing trip at 11, got our gear and headed for the canyon. After Sarah's experience hydrospeeding, as you can imagine, she was very nervous. We put on our wetsuits, helmets and harnesses and walked to the top of the canyon. The first task was a 25 m abseil through a waterfall, Sarah was crapping her pants. Ben went no problem, then it was Sarah's turn. The first part was the hardest and scariest but as soon as she was over the ledge she was fine and loved it!
Still to come was a zip wire, another abseil and a big jump. All of which were so much fun! We both think it was one of the best things we've done on S. America. Our group were really cool too!
Tomorrow we head to Bariloche in Argentina for New Year's, we're going to miss Chile a lot!