How to Get to Pucon, Chile and the Ski Resort
The ski resort at Pucon is located inside the stunning Villarrica National Park, one of Chile’s most rugged landscapes. The ski resort sits on the northern flank of the Volcano. The nearest town to the ski resort is Pucon, Chile, which is located just 13 km from the resort.
The town of Pucon is situated within Chile’s beautiful Araucania Region, just 105 km southeast of Temuco and a reasonable 780 km south of Santiago, the country’s bustling capital.
Flying to Pucon
During the summer months, it is possible to fly directly from Santiago to the Pucon airport. In the winter months, however, it is necessary to fly into the nearby airport at Temuco.
The airport in Temuco is called the Maquehue Airport. From Santiago, this airport is only a 1-hour flight away. The town of Pucon is a 1.5-hour drive from Temuco’s airport. Buses run between Temuco and Pucon, and there are taxi drivers willing to take visitors on the roughly 100 km journey. There’s always the option to rent a car at the airport or downtown Temuco.
How to Drive to Pucon from Santiago
Of course, it is also possible to drive directly to the resort from Santiago’s airport. The 780 km journey typically only takes 8 hours. For most of the trip, it is possible to drive along the modern Ruta 5 South. On this well-maintained highway, the speed limit is a zippy 120 km/hr. However, there are many tolls on this road, so drivers should come prepared with plenty of cash as well as an international driver’s license.
To get to Pucon from Ruta 5, simply follow the well-marked route from the highway after your first toll south of Temuco. The road from Ruta 5 to the resort is almost entirely paved and is easy to traverse.
How to Get to the Resort from Pucon
From the town, it typically takes about 20 minutes to drive to the ski resort on easy-to-traverse roads. The road is not exceptionally steep and does not have any scary drop-offs or crazy turns. As you enter the national park, the road turns to dirt, but that is not normally a problem as the road is also very gentle and wide, with the exception of a few turns. A 2WD vehicle should be sufficient most of the time, but on days after the snow, the road conditions quickly turn to ice so a four-wheel drive with chains is a good idea. Snow chains are occasionally mandatory with a check point just beyond the entrance to the Villarrica National Park CONAF station.
To get to the resort from town, head out of town and go right at the roundabout so that you are headed towards Villarrica. In only half of a kilometer, you will clearly see the sign for the turn-off on the left to the resort.
Taxis and shuttle busses are plentiful between the town and the resort.
Hitching a ride up to the mountains is not that difficult however on weekends and July holiday you will be competing with a lot of locals. Bring some patience and you will eventually get a ride and probably meet some really cool people along the way.