Pucón is wedged between a beautiful lake and a spectacular volcano. Its extreme location combined with its stable weather, have helped make it Chile’s adventure tourism capital.
Water skiing…snow skiing…backpacking…white water rafting…kayaking…horseback riding…zip line rides…natural hot springs…if it involves excitement and the outdoors, it happens in Pucón.
Six years ago, my own Chilean adventure began in Pucón. We kicked off our stay with a horse riding excursion into the mountains around the town.
The ride out was beautiful. We trekked down mountain roads, through fields filled with livestock, and across streams—into the wilderness of the Andean foothills.
We had to wear rain ponchos to protect us from a soft drizzle but the sun soon came out and painted rainbows against the backdrop of the mountains. It’s very hard to take photos from horseback, but I managed a few good shots.
The next day we decided to try our hand at white-water rafting, which Pucón is famous for. When we arrived at the river, we were outfitted with wetsuits, helmets and life jackets.
A thorough briefing prepared us for the adventure ahead. After a slow start the rapids began to pick up speed, throwing us into adrenalin filled descents and dives. An hour later, crew members were waiting to meet us with our clothes, dry towels and some greatly appreciated pisco sour, Chile and Peru’s national drink.
On our last day in Pucón, we set out for the towering Villarrica, one of Chile’s most active volcanoes. Close to the summit, the rocky ground had a frosting of snow and ice which soon became a thick glacier.
The views were spectacular. Every few hundred feet brought new vistas across old lava flows, Villarrica Lake, the valleys of the Andes and other snow-capped volcanoes off in the distance.
Above is a shot I took close to the top.
At the peak, we were rewarded with a glimpse into the crater at the boiling furnace within. The descent proved easier than the climb—the guides gave us strange rubber mats which we sat on and used to slide much of the way down. Back in town, we celebrated our adventure with some beers and a big steak dinner.
One of the best things about the trip was that it paid for itself. By taking a few simple photos like the one above, which were later bought and published in travel brochures and on websites, I was able to turn what was a vacation of a lifetime into an income opportunity.
Editor’s Note: If you’d like to become a travel photographer or learn more about other ways you can pay for your life or travels overseas, sign up for Fund Your Life Overseas, a free e-letter from International Living. Sign up here and we’ll send you a free report: Fund Your New Life Overseas With These 5 Portable Careers.