We arrived in Pucon at 6am and knew exactly where we were going to stay. Throughout our travels everyone had been recommending the same place in Pucon. The kiwi chili hostel. Located almost directly on the shore of the lake (only separated by a small road), it is a lively and active hostel, even though the bar closes at 11 and no noise is allowed after midnight. Perfect for the person that enjoys a drink and a good nights rest. The small and cozy wood-heated kitchens and one of the best showers I’ve had so far just add further to the charm. It’s no wonder the hostel has been named “best hostel in south america”. Another thing they do really well is sell you their activities.. There’s no pestering, it’s a single, optional, introductory talk about activities offered around Pucon. But it is given by the volunteers working at the hostel who’ve recently done these activities and you can see the enthusiasm and excitement in their eyes, while they recall each activity.. It’s very effective and I imagine I would’ve done much fewer activities without this sales pitch. Including for somewhat expensive items such as sky diving!
One thing I definitely hadn’t been planning on doing before hearing about it in the hostel was hydrospeeding. In fact, I didn’t even know what hydro speeding is. As it turns out, it’s like rafting, just without a boat. You’re given a (generously padded) wet-suit, a swimming board and some flippers. Then you are thrown into the rapids to fend for yourself. Ok, maybe there was an extensive safety lecture and a guide telling us where to head, but honestly it didn’t do me a lot of good. The first couple of minutes, I seriously struggled. In fact we all did. I’m pretty sure more than one of us was convinced we wouldn’t make it through that experience alive, while the guide was super optimistic and told us we were doing great.. I don’t want to know how it would’ve looked if we were doing badly.. We went under water, lost our swimming boards and just generally had serious difficulties just keeping up with the guide and avoiding major collisions with rock. We didn’t always succeed.
I don’t know if it got easier with time or if we just became that much better in such a short time span.. But by the fourth set of rapids, it became much easier and we started enjoying ourselves.. The adrenalin kicked in, the waves got larger and we launched head first into the waves. Only occasionally interrupted by “Oh shit, I’m going to die” when the guide yelled left, you paddled left and the current carried you right.
In the end we all made it out alive, but it’s not something I’m considering doing again unless I become a much better swimmer.. Even if our guide insisted we were doing great.