We celebrated my 40th birthday in style today with a wonderful walk around a volcano crater (Raihuen), through the crater and with views of volcanoes all around. It would be hard to get better than this!
We stayed on Friday night (and tonight) in a cabaña on Lago Puyehue, near the town of Entre Lagos.
Late morning we drove to the Antillanca ski resort through the most spectacular forests. From about 30km before the park we could already see the clouds clearing and as we climbed upwards and upwards we were graced with blue skies and wispy high clouds. Below it was 2°C but up at the resort, in the sun and above the clouds, it was probably 8 or 9°C.
There is next to no snow around at the moment - no skiing is happening. It is a walker's paradise.
The area around Volcan Casablanca is complex - a bunch of cones and craters as well as the volcano itself. There must have been a lot of volcanic activity here at some stage.
We walked the 3km road to the Raihuen Crater and then enjoyed trails to the top of two 'cones'. From both of these the views were spectacular! We saw Volcan Orsono (the one that looks over Puerto Varas) as well as Volcan Puntiagudo and Volcan Puyehue. From this angle I'm not sure if we saw Volcan Calbuco too, which we saw beautifully yesterday when leaving Puerto Varas. There were some other snow-capped peaks visible but I'm not sure that they were volcanoes. Still, seeing and identifying four volcanoes on a birthday afternoon... what a win!
We walked halfway down the crater, descending down what looks like old lava flow from an eruption of Volcan Casablanca. And then we walked across the crater. Absolutely magical experience.
We had a delicious dinner at the small restaurant attached to the place where we're staying.
We haven't eaten out much so this was a treat. We've found restaurant food to be very expensive but also very good. Celliers has really spoilt me for my 40th birthday.
Tomorrow we continue heading northwards and will pass through the small 'cities' of Orsono and Valdivia. We'll probably stay near Valdivia for Sunday night and then closer to Santiago for Monday night. We fly out Tuesday afternoon.