Chile is a very long-stretched country. My stay at Pucón took a big chuck out of my time budget. So much to see, so little time. In a few days, a drove more than 4,000 kilometers. Tropical forests, volcanoes, mountains, lakes, rivers, sea, beaches, desert: Chile has it all.
My main advice? Plan to have a lot more time in Chile than I had. Despite all the driving, I did make sure to stop to hike in some of the numerous national parks and reserves in Chile.
In Parque Nacional Conguilliío, the Sendero Sierra Nevada hike offered splendid views on the Conguillío lagune, the Sierra Nevada mountains, and Llaimo volcano. I will never forget driving on dirt roads, through (not so) old lava fields.
The Enladrillado hike in the Altos de Lircay National Reserve was already a lot more arid. Here, it seemed like I was the only foreigner around.
After reaching the Atacama desert, I drove hours and hours up north to reach Copiapó. It hardly ever rains here, but it did on the day I arrived, canceling my planned tour to Parque Nacional Nevado Tres Cruces. The alternative of driving even further north to Parque Nacional Pan de Azúcar to hike in the desert with ocean views, made it still worth it.
It was a very long drive back south to catch my plane from Santiago to Lima for my last Around the World adventure: hiking the Inca Trail. But I surely know I have to come back to Chile for a third time!