From the attractive surroundings of the Petrohué Waterfalls and its stunning view of the impressive Osorno Volcano we next made our way up the volcano itself. This involved a reasonably long drive on account of the zig-zagging road up the imposing feature.
We arrived at the highest point that vehicles are permitted to get to where there was a car park, a souvenir shop, a café, and a chairlift station. When the snow is around it serves as a popular station for skiers. We’d been told by our guide that we had enough time so that if anyone wanted to they could buy a chairlift ticket and take that up one section (there were three I think) before coming down. Naturally, we went straight to the ticket hut and I used some horrible Spanish on the guy there to buy what we needed. Also naturally, we were in the minority. On our coach of forty people I would say that perhaps six of us went for the ride while the others headed straight for the café. Bear in mind that our next stop would be for a meal at a restaurant. I will never understand people who pay to head off around the world and pay for an excursion only to skip out on interesting, unique things you can then do there.
It was so quiet. It was incredibly serene being on a chairlift riding up the side of a volcano with nothing but blue sky above able to look down on volcanic rock and even clouds, and with views across to neighbouring volcanoes in the region (one of which – Calbuco – had erupted just the year before).
At the first chairlift stop we got off and had a walk aroud the flattened area of the station to take in the lovely views of Osorno towering above us. We couldn’t see the first station we’d alighted at as it was beyond and below a dip on the volcano’s side. A number of pathways were also visible with people on them; you didn’t have to take the chairlift if you fancied the walk but we didn’t have the time for that and, hell, why would you?
Advice from our guide on this excursion was to slap on the highest strength sunscreen on account of the far thinner atmosphere and subsequently far stronger sunlight reaching us. We duly covered ourselves in Factor 50 but even though the time we spent on the mountainside was under an hour we still managed to get burnt, most notably on my wife’s calves that she’d not completely covered and which were exposed to the sun behind us as we descended back to the base station.
On our return to the base station we still had time to pick up some souvenirs before getting back on the coach. Our guide had also mentioned before we’d arrived that the station did a fantastic local chocolate drink with alcohol in it at the café that had sounded very appealing. Upon asking the passengers if they’d tried it he was met with a chorus of negativity and an announcement from everyone that they’d had coffee. He looked disappointed. We weren’t surprised.
We didn’t get to see the crater at Osorno which was a shame as we’ve still not seen an active volcano with lava but that still leaves something on the bucket list. We did get to ride a chairlift up above the cloud level, though, and that’s not bad. A very enjoyable trip.