Pucon was not supposed to be on our itinerary. After our six-week house sit in Santiago, we were supposed to head straight for Argentina. Turns out that photos of Patagonia can be very persuading, as 24 hours before we left Chile's capital, all our plans changed - instead of travelling east, we would head south, very far south, almost to the end of the world.
This change of plan turned out to be one of our best ideas yet, not least because it gave us the opportunity to visit the home of Chile's adventure tourism along the way and spend a few nights at the delightful Chili Kiwi Hostel in Pucón.
The website said lake-view, but a little wiser after having lived in hostels for 19 months we had learned to temper our expectations. Yet, as we rounded the corner to the entrance of our home for the next two days we were we delighted to discover that Chili Kiwi didn't just have a view of the lake, it had the view.
And more importantly in a place that sees bitterly cold winters, it was a view that could be enjoyed whilst sitting next to an open fire propped up on comfy scatter cushions, with a dog at your feet.
We think it's fair to say that Chili Kiwi hostel epitomises cosy, which is just what you need in Pucón, the place in Chile for those that want to have some outdoor adventures like climbing a volcano, skiing or a bit of white water rafting.
Throughout the property, it is clear care has been taken; from polished wooden floors, quality woodwork and vintage finds to the more unique old school backpack and antique skis hanging from the white walls. Even the rental snowboards leaning against the wall appear to have been placed more for decorative purposes than function.
The staff at Chili Kiwi are genuinely excellent at helping you plan your time and arrange activities. Shortly after getting settled in, we were taken through the handmade guide documenting all that is on offer in the area, much of which can be organised through them directly. And if not? We get the impression they usually know a man that can!
And if you find yourself balking at the cost of the pricier activities, they've also got great information on DIY adventures and hikes.
There is a perfectly good kitchen in the main house, but if you're looking for where those in the know get their 'cook on', check out the cabin in the garden. Kept deliciously warm in the winter months by a wood-burner, it was our favourite place to enjoy a good glass of red wine once the sun had set. It's also a great place to prepare your evening meal, with not one but two stove tops and lots of pots and pans.
We are not campers. We do not like the cold, or having to trudge about in the rain in the middle of the night to find somewhere to take a pee. However, we LOVED glamping.
The converted van at the bottom of the garden is an ideal place to stay if you, like us, love the idea of being outside, but not waking up with a rock in your back. It even had little storage areas, plugs and lighting and is just a hop, skip and jump away from the bathroom.
Snuggling up on a bouncy mattress, covered by a pile of blankets and admiring the stars through the windshield is an experience we would love to repeat someday.
If you're travelling as a couple and prefer four solid walls around you, consider checking out one of the tree house rooms. We didn't get a chance to look inside but we could only imagine the views you would wake up to being that high in the branches!
ROOMS, PRICES, AMENITIES AND CONTACT DETAILS
Facilities provided by Chili Kiwi Hostel in include fast wifi, several kitchens, reliable hot showers, great tourist information and tours, a large outdoor space with a ping pong table, kayak rental and multi-lingual staff.
6 bed dorm: 8,000 pesos pp
4 bed dorm: 9,500 pesos pp
4 bed ensuite: 11,000 pesos pp
Glamping Van: 9,500 pesos pp (min 2)
Double room cabin: 13,000 pesos pp (min 2)
Treehouse double room: 13,000 pesos pp (min 2)
In Pucon but on a bit of a budget? We've got the perfect activity for you!
Our stay was provided free of charge so that we could experience Chili Kiwi Hostel. As ever, all photos, opinions and spelling errors are our own. For more information on why you can trust our reviews, click here.
All photography is the property of Along Dusty Roads and must not be used, copied or manipulated without our prior permission.