The Red Glow Over Villarrica Volcano
The town of Pucón, in Chile’s northern Lakes District, is home to a special sight. The Villarrica Volcano is one of Chile’s most active volcanoes, and one of few around the world that has an active lava lake within its crater. While many visitors arrive to Pucón with the idea of actually ascending this intermittent volcano, the town’s iconic landmark also offers up a spectacular, and less expected, nighttime view.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Pucón on a clear night, it’s well worth taking an evening stroll to a viewpoint of the Villarrica Volcano, for the chance of seeing a truly unique and awesome sight. Once the blanket of night has settled in, the burning red of lava deep within the volcano reflects off the crater’s ever-present plume, turning the sky above the volcano a bright, glowing red. At first glance the glow is barely noticeable, easily confused with a brighter star, but upon a closer look, the dancing plumes grow and subside, creating the illusion of a peaceful eruption. It’s an incredible sight to see: a simple yet beautiful reminder of nature’s magnificent power.
For those interested in photography, the Villarrica Volcano provides a great opportunity to shoot some fantastic nighttime shots! A tripod is highly recommended, but should you find yourself staying at Vira Vira without one (like I did), the fence posts at the front gate, where the best views are to be found, can get the job done in a pinch… with an extra dose of creativity and patience, that is!