Arrived at Ruka Pucón Hostal (CH$18000 dbl), which was about a 15-minute walk from the town although in a quiet leafy area. Expect to be approached by hostel hawkers at the JAC terminal although they’re harmless enough. Monica (Ruka’s owner) is extremely friendly and helpful…like a second mother!
While waiting in Pucón for days to climb the volcano (too wet, windy or too much snow), trekked for a day in Parque Nacional Huerquehue. Take the 08:30 local bus (near JAC terminal) in Pucón, which is an hour’s ride and costs CH$1900 to the park entrance (last bus back to Pucón is at 17:00 – CH$1500). The charge is CH$4000 entrance fee or CH$2500 if you’re Chilean.
The park ranger provides a map and quick Spanish instructions on the trekking routes and times. It would help immensely if the scarce signs on the trek (or the map) displayed the distance left to the next lookout or sight as when trekking in this park, it seems you’re going for hours and getting nowhere until you stumble upon the next lookout.
As it was raining and cold all day, the trek to the 3 lakes (Los Patos, Verde, and Toro) was challenging as it’s 1320mts to the top, quite steep, and scrambled over tree roots and mud; about a 16km round trip.
Trekking through the park is wonderful as you’re shrouded in a canopy of lush green rainforest containing huge bamboo shrubs, ferns, aged trees, and the scenery is just gorgeous…even in the pouring rain! Take your lunch, thermos, etc., as there isn’t a shop anywhere and it’s a long hike. The lakes are picturesque but if you’re not staying in one of the park’s Refugios, you don’t have much time to trek back for the last bus to Pucón.
Again in Pucón, we had a pack of dogs follow us for some time and I had two that paid ‘special’ attention to me…still finding this quite strange and again, they don’t follow the locals in Chile (or Argentina)!