Illustration for article titled Watch as one of Chiles most popular tourism destinations goes up in flames

One of Chile's "hottest" nature hikes just got a whole lot hotter.

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Standing at 6,000 feet, Villa Rica Volcano is normally a snow-capped mountain near the tourist resort of Pucon. The surrounding area, home to dense pine forests and pristine lakes, are a favorite tourist spot for hiking and kayaking. Further up the mountain, tour operators run sledding tours.

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But all that fun was temporarily postponed on Tuesday morning when the volcano blew its top in spectacular fashion, forcing the government to evacuate some 3,300 people within a 10 km radius, according to the ministry of the interior.


No deaths and injuries were reported, but officials have warned that the eruption could flood local rivers or cause mudslides, as snow melts.


Villa Rica is one of Chile's most active volcanoes, registering significant explosions every 10 years or so. It fiery temperament hasn't stopped it from becoming a major tourist attraction in between eruptions.

According to the AP, tourists from Brazil, Australia, the U.S. and elsewhere watched the volcano explode yesterday from the nearby towns of Villa Rica and Pucon, which authorities still consider safe.


This is what they saw.

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Here's a video of the explosion captured by a local resident, in the nearby town of Panguipulli.

Chilean police flew near the volcano Wednesday morning to monitor its activity.


Here are more pictures of today's explosion.

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Manuel Rueda is a correspondent for Fusion, covering Mexico and South America. He travels from donkey festivals, to salsa clubs to steamy places with cartel activity.

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