“only a few make it, but those that do are rewarded with the most amazing experience ever.”
Bajajajaja just kidding no that’s not how this starts. This isn’t like The Beach, but I thought I sure was on the same adventure.
When I arrived to the hostel the owner let us know all of the activities you can do while you’re in Pucon. Most of them are excursions and cost a lot of money. Knowing I came there to hike Volcano Villarica I didn’t want to do anything else that cost a lot of money aside from that. He let us know of a free “off the beaten path” activity we could do. He showed us a hand drawn map that would take us to the beautiful Salto el Claro waterfall. Of course every time… yes every single fucking time someone mentions see a waterfall I think of the time I was held at gunpoint for visiting one. So anyway he explained that it’s about 4-5 hour hike to and from the hostel so I figured I could do that. I didn’t want to do it alone so ask around and most had already done it or were gonna go later. So yeah I did it alone and well this is what happened.
I packed my day pack with a big bottle of water, some cookies, my journal and well that was it. I made sure my iPod and camera were fully charged and I was ready to go. I walked out of the hostel put my earbuds in and put Ed Sheeran’s album X to play. That album has been my jam so far on this trip. I can’t stop listening to it. Seriously his lyrics kill me. So it was Ed, my thoughts and I as we made our way through O’Higgins the Main Street of Pucon. The map starts at the very end of this street.
The entire time I was scared and nervous because well I was alone. Especially once I passed the two gas stations and speed bump and made it to the dirt road and wasn’t bumping into anyone but I carried on. As I carried on a million thoughts cross my mind. I’m realizing now that hiking alone is not for me. When you’re out there doing something tiring and it’s just you and your thoughts… it’s scary. You can’t shut off your brain. I wanna write more about that later because think it’s an interesting subject.
So I kept looking at the map and hoping I was going the right direction. I made it to the steep hill that takes about 35 minutes to climb and lord that was a pain in the ass but on my way up bumped into two girls from the hostel I had had beers with the day before. We talked and they said I’m almost there but still have a long way to go. Ugh so I kept going. Was finally done with the hill and was back on flat gravel. I was almost there. I passed a big piece of land with tons of cows and along the way was surrounded with beautiful scenery.
Moments later I made it to the fence I needed to pass and was almost to the waterfall. I could hear it. I walked and started searching for the tree with the arrow like they said I would see but couldn’t find it. Lucky for me moments later a group of people walked up and let me know it was down that way. They said it was all worth it. So I started making the decent and damn it was a bit tough. Some parts of the trail were tiny and if you step off you plummet down far. About 5 minutes later I finally made it and the waterfall was rewarding.
I had seen many waterfalls in my travels but none as tall as this. I loved it and was so happy I made the walk/hike to see it. I bumped into another group of girls from the hostel. I think this is something only people who stay at Chili Kiwi hostel do or it seemed like it. I busted out my journal and wrote in it a bit. As I was writing the girls left and I was left alone. It was just me the fall and my thoughts again. I kept writing but then got scared and wrapped it up and hurried back up. I wanted to catch up with the girls so I didn’t have the entire walk back by myself. I did and then we said if we see a truck pass by we will stop it and ask for a ride to the main road. So we did. It was a short ride, but saved us at least 30 minutes of walking. We finally made it to the hostel after about 5 hours and well that was that another adventure in the books.
DIRECTIONS TO SALTO EL CLARO WATERFALL
- Walk down O’Higgins street until you get to the round about that leads you to either Villarica or the other town. Stay on your left and go to the other town.
- Walk down that street and pass the two gas stations and then a speed bump.
- At the speed bump make a right on Las Calabazas road.
- Walk on this road and when it splits continue on your left.
- When you arrive to the private condos continue on the road away from them and that goes up hill.
- When you finish going up hill continue and pass cows and continue to your left.
- When you come to an open filled keep going left until you hit the fence.
- Cross the fence and make a right when you hit a big tree with an arrow.
- Go down and you will see the waterfall.
Yup that’s how you hike to a waterfall off the beaten path in Pucon. It doesn’t lead you to a secret society, but it’s worth visiting. I also recommend for you not to do this the day before you are planning to hike Volcano Villarica. I did this the day before and have no clue if this is part of the reason I was not able to make it to the summit. It is what it is though and I’m so happy I did this. If you are in Pucon and looking for something free to do I recommend you doing this.