Pucón, Chile’s prime adventure travel destination, has abundant budget accommodations–the best values are just a bit more expensive. You won’t find ultimate luxury accommodations here, but you will find comfortable and stylish rooms with plentiful amenities and no shortage of charm.
More than just a comfy bed, Hostería ¡Ecole! (Genera l Urrut ia 592, tel. 045/2441675, US$15-19 pp in dorms, US$34 s, US$38 d with shared bath, US$57-72 s or d with private bath) has become a destination in itself. Owned and operated by a committed cooperative of Chilean and international environmental advocates, it provides informally stylish B&B-style accommodations (breakfast is extra). Newer, more elaborate rooms are under construction. It also has a moderately priced vegetarian restaurant, a bar, and a book exchange; operates its own excursions; and provides information and advice. Reservations are essential in summer and advisable the rest of the year.
Residencial Lincoyán (Lincoyán 323, tel. 045/2441144, US$28 pp with shared bath) is a friendly no-frills family-style place with good beds but few other amenities. Breakfast costs US$5 more.
Just beyond the town’s central grid, Pucón Hostel (Av. O’Higgins 771, tel. 045/2441381, US$28 pp, US$94 s or d) is a purpose-built facility that has mostly private rooms with just a few dorm bunks. While it may lack the liveliness of its competitors, it compensates with a friendly family approach.
In a quiet site only about 100 meters north of the Tur-Bus terminal, Swiss-run Casa Satya (Blanco Encalada 190, tel. 045/2444093, US$27-34 pp, US$66 s, US$76 d with breakfast) has upgraded doubles and triples with either shared or private bath, plus WiFi access to a full modern kitchen, and even spa facilities. The higher rates correspond to doubles with private baths. Owner Cristina Passavant also offers massage options ranging from reiki to Thai.
Alongside ¡Ecole!, the more subdued Hostal La Tetera (General Urrutia 580, tel./fax 045/2441462, US$57 s, US$68 d with shared bath, US$74 s, US$83 d with private bath) offers equally stylish, comfortable rooms with good beds and individual reading lights. The walls are a little thin. Still, it attracts a quiet clientele and has some of Pucón’s best breakfasts. There’s also a good book exchange. Ask for one of the front rooms, whose balconies offer views of Volcán Villarrica. If possible, avoid room 4 (Meli), shaded by a dense fir tree.
It’s a little ragged in some aspects—the rooms have irregular shapes, for instance, and the bathroom linoleum undulates across the floor—but the Hostelling International (HI) affiliate Refugio Península (Holzapfel 11, tel. 045/2443398, US$36 pp dorms, US$66 s, US$92 d) compensates with coziness and a quiet lakeshore location. HI members get a small discount.
Hostal Gerónimo (Gerónimo de Alderete 665, tel. 045/2443762, www.geronimo.cl, US$84 s, US$98 d, up to US$104 s or d) offers immaculate small-to-midsized rooms, some with terrace views of the volcano. The personnel are gracious and helpful, and there’s also a pasta-oriented restaurant.
With its spa and other upgrades, Hotel & Spa Araucarias (Caupolicán 243, tel. 045/2441286, www.araucarias.cl, US$89 s, US$133 d) is a fine value with IVA discounts. It also has a small but impressive museum of Mapuche artifacts.
The main drawback at Hotel Malalhue (Camino Internacional 1615, tel. 045/2443130, US$111-128 s, US$130-142 d) is that it fronts on the eastbound road out of town and, consequently, has traffic day or night. Still, it’s an impressive structure with luminous rooms and contemporary Euro- Andean style.
Set on ample grounds, with a large pool, Hotel La Posada Plaza Pucón (Pedro de Valdivia 191, tel. 045/2441088, US$90-140 s, US$110-170 d) has midsized rooms in an upgraded older building. The management is accommodating.
On Pucón’s eastern outskirts, under new ownership, the Hotel Pucón Green Park (Camino Internacional 4150, tel. 045/2467960, US$182 s or d) is a spa hotel on expansive grounds with an ample setback from the international highway. For those who wish to be close to town without worrying about the frenetic summer crowds, this is a good alternative.
Two kilometers west of town on the Villarrica road, poised among wooded hillside gardens with immaculate flower beds, pools, and cascades, the Bauhaus-style Hotel Antumalal (tel. 045/441011, from US$323 s or d) was arguably one of the world’s earliest design hotels. It prides itself on personal service. When you arrive, staff members may even wash your car, and your room door features your name rather than a number. Each of its 22 rooms boasts lake views and a modernized fireplace. The common areas have panoramic views through giant plate-glass windows, and there is now WiFi throughout. In addition to a heated pool and a private beach, it has also added the Spa Antumaco with a hot tub, sauna, and massage services. Half-board rates are also available. The restaurant has been gaining clientele from nonguests as well.
Enjoying its own black-sand beach, the mammoth lakefront Gran Hotel Pucón (Holzapfel 190, tel./fax 045/441001, US$344-482 s or d) dates from the 1930s, when the state railroad agency Ferrocarriles del Estado chose Pucón as Chile’s next great tourist destination. Despite its acquisition by the Enjoy group, which also operates the new casino and has money to burn, its character remains that of an aging grand hotel.
Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Patagonia.