My name is Daniela. I’m 36 years old and I was born and raised in Villarica, Chile. I moved around Chile for my studies and for work, living in Santiago, Valdivia, and Temuco. I currently live in Temuco, 86 km north of my hometown, but distance is no problem, I always find ways to go back on the weekends, to see my family, go trekking, stand up paddle boarding, or go for a bike ride.
I’m a physical therapist and I work in the academic field at a university in Temuco, Chile. Before that, I worked as a disability analyst, which opened my mind to all of the situations that can make daily life more complicated for someone with a disability. It helped me see how much work there is to do in order to achieve universal accessibility, but if we all do our part, it can be done. This is where Wheel the World comes in.
How did I hear about Wheel the World? Coincidence, and a bit of help from my sister. She had told me about a group of people who had traveled to Torres del Paine so that one of them, Alvaro, could explore the beautiful national park. I watched the first documentary, and began to follow all of the experiences and destinations they have opened. One day, looking at the website, I saw an opportunity to collaborate in mapping accessible Pucon, and I reached out right away.
With the pandemic and lack of accessibility awareness in the industry, it wasn’t the easiest task. But, I would still recommend this destination 100% if you’re looking to get closer to nature, disconnect from work, your routine, or simply looking for a change of pace. Accessible Pucon and Villarrica are definitely some of the best destinations in Southern Chile.
Transportation in Accessible Pucon and Villarrica
You can get to Pucon and Villarrica by car or bus taking the Ruta 5 Sur from anywhere north (like Santiago). Make sure to consider the 800km drive.
Another option is to fly into Temuco. At the airport in Temuco, you’ll find accessible bathrooms, and the airlines offer assistance with baggage, boarding and exiting the plane.
Accessible transportation from the airport to Villarrica and Pucon must be scheduled in advance. Wheel the World can assist with the reserving accessible transportation in the destination and from the airport. You can contact a Travel Expert here.
Exploring Accessible Pucon and Villarrica
Both accessible Pucon and Villarrica are small cities that are easy to cover in a short amount of time. Some of the sidewalks and streets may be difficult to navigate or have obstacles, but the main streets are generally in good condition.
In accessible Villarrica, you can walk or roll along the water, and in the summer, there are amphibious wheelchairs to cool down in the lake. In accessible Pucon, you can explore the La Poza area, by bike, wheelchair, or foot. You can also visit the main plaza of the town, or the Plaza De Armas, which offers ramps and podotactile floors for blind travelers.
Attractions in Accessible Pucon and Villarrica
You can find a wide variety of restaurants on Fresia street in Pucon. While not all of them are universally accessible, places like Cafe Cassis, Mora Sushi Bar, Mr. Sushi, and La Materia are wheelchair accessible.
Without a doubt, the places you can’t miss in Pucon are Villarrica National Park and Huerquehue National Park. If you can climb Villarrica Volcano in Villarrica National Park, it’s an unforgettable experience. It’s weather-dependent, and the best time to do it is between October and January, you can book accessible excursions here.
Huerquehue National Park is another beautiful national park close to Pucon. There you can visit Tinquilco lagoon, which has an accessible trail. The other trails are more complex and require a trekking wheelchair and support team due to the terrain.
There are also various waterfalls like Salto El Claro (assistance will be required to access), Salto de la China, and Salto El Leon. Or, if you’re looking to relax, there are many hot springs nearby, with the most accessible being Termas Pucon Indomito.
In general, accessible Pucon is an adventure tourism destination with many options, some more adventurous than others. You can hike, swim, horseback ride, kayak, canyoneer, visit waterfalls, skydive, climb a volcano, and raft.
Accessible Accommodations in Pucon and Villarrica
Accessible Pucon offers a wide variety of accessible accommodations – from hotels to cabins. Hotel Casa Solaria is a lakefront boutique hotel with accessible rooms that offer grab bars and shower seats in the bathrooms. In Villarrica, Cabañas Agua Viva offers private cabins in the middle of the forest with their own kitchens, living areas and bedrooms, and a raised terrace with ramp access. Cabañas Bosque de Locontraro and Cabañas Lopez de Villarrica are also options that offer accessible private cabins. To book a stay at one of these or other accessible accommodations in Pucon or Villarrica, contact Wheel the World here.
This article was written by an Accessibility Ambassador to share her experience and information about exploring Pucon and Villarrica. If you are interested in traveling to this beautiful region, you can check out all the options and contact us here!