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High amidst the glacial Andean peaks that form the very backbone of Chile, the town of Villarrica has long been one major draw for intrepid travellers and outdoorsy types making their way down to the wilds of South American Patagonia. Clustering on the banks of its own high mountain lake, this far-flung settlement sits in the shadow of a smoking volcanic summit since time immemorial, ticking over with the patronage of hikers looking to enlist the help of a Villarrica tour guide for an expedition from nearby Pucón to the glacial peak of Pichillancahue-Turbio above. Other visitors come with waxed skis, eager to conquer the pistes of the Villarrica Volcano Ski Resort; or with guidebooks at the ready, primed for an immersive introduction to Mapuche culture, a spot of caving, rafting between the verdant banks of the Trancura River, or horse riding through the vast swathes of Araucaria forest that abound all around. And when it comes to winding down, there are hot spring resorts aplenty in the vicinity. Villarrica also throws up some lively little drinking spots and Germanic eateries courtesy of its curious Swiss incumbents, which all burst to life every June when visitors throng to observe the celebrations of the Mapuche New Year!