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National Parks
National Parks
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Chile has 79 stunning National Parks and Reserves with outstanding natural geographic features and/or amazing flora and fauna. There are 31 National Parks and 48 National Reserves covering an area of 14 million hectares (19% of Chile is land mass). The definition or category of National Park means that the geographic area and wild life within that area are protected. The area cannot be used for any commercial purpose. However, a National Reserve means that within the designated area limited and authorized economic activity can occur within a controlled environment. NOTE: We recommend that you travel in a good four-wheel drive vehicle, always take extra water and clothes, and let someone know where you are going. What follows is a BRIEF introduction about the more popular and accessible National Parks. 

Northern Chile 

Central Chile  Parque Nacional La Campana / Parque Nacional Laguna del Laja 

Chiloe Island  Parque Nacional Chiloe 

Chilean Patagonia  Reserva Nacional Rio Simpson / Parque Nacional Queulat / San Rafael Glacier / Torres del Paine

Northern Chile

Parque Nacional Lauca

Nearest City with Airport:Arica. 
Location: Near Putre in the Parinacota Province. Covering 138,000 hectares. 
What to See: Contains a third of all the bird life in Chile. Extremely high (4,500 m), this IS the "Altiplano" (high plain). Snow-covered volcanoes Parinacota (6,342 m), Pomerape (6,282 mts), Guallarite (6,060 m) and Acotango (6,050 mts) make for an impressive sky line. The park is rather stark but contains the Chungara Lake and "Altiplano" plants and animals. The park admin is located at Putre, a small village about 46 km from the park itself. Open: 09:00hrs - 12:30hrs and 13:00hrs - 17:30hrs. Visitors should consider travelling from Arica to Putre (146 km) and overnight in Putre. Note that the high altitude will make relaxing difficult and overnight sleeping can be interrupted by sudden gasping for breath (normal at such altitude).  

Parque Nacional Volcan Isluga 

Nearest City with Airport:Iquique.
Location:About 228 km north-east of Iquique.
What to See: Covering an area of almost 175,000 hectares, the park is located at an altitude of 2,100 m rising up to 5,400 m. Park administration is located at Enquelga, a small village 228 km east of Iquique and 10 km from the park entrance. A short distance from the park entrance are hot springs and within the park are various types of vegetation, flamingos and other birds.  

Parque Nacional Llullaillaco

Nearest City with Airport:Antofagasta.
Location:About 275 km south-east of Antofagasta.
What to See: Covering an area of 268,000 hectares and containing the Llullaillaco Volcano, the second highest peak in Chile at 6,739 m Administration for the park is located in Antofagasta at Avda. Argentina 2510. Tel: (55) 251 364. Many Guanacos and Vicunas, good for climbers.  

El Parque Nacional Pan de Azucar 

Nearest City with Airport:La Serena or Copiapo. 
Location:On the coast just north of Chanaral.  
What to See: This park covers 44,000 hectares. Access to the park is off the Panamericana Ruta 5 heading north, just past the port of Chanaral or at km 1,014 in the sector of Las Bombas. Both turn-offs head west in the direction of the Pacific Ocean. Distances from: La Serena 527 km, Copiapo 194 km., Chanaral 30 km., Caldera 100 km The park contains a small island which is home to Humboldt Penguins and Sea Lions and can be seen by taking a small fishing boat to the island. Beautiful sandy beaches and amazing desert scenery in general. Good for camping and limited cabana accommodation. 

Parque Nacional Bosque de Fray Jorge 

Nearest City with Airport:La Serena. 
Location:110 km south of La Serena, on the coast.  
What to See:Covering almost 10,000 hectares, this coastal park is known for its micro climate that enables a wood and other flora to thrive in an otherwise arid region. Access is from the Panamericana Ruta 5, north at km 389 and 27 km west following a dirt track. Only OPEN during weekends and public holidays. Take a coat as it can be quite cool within the park. 

Central Chile

Parque Nacional La Campana 

Nearest City with Airport:Santiago. 
Location:160 km north-west of Santiago, near to Quillota.  
What to See:Covering 8,000 hectares the park boasts varied vegetation and thousands of Chilean palm trees dating back 800 years and more. When Charles Darwin ventured to Chile in 1836 he climbed to the summit of the park, El Roble, located at 2,200 m There are three ways to enter the park, the best entrance is off of the Panamericana Ruta 5 just by Ocoa 14 km from the park.  
Distances:Santiago:160 km, Valparaiso:60 km, Quillota: 29 km. 

Parque Nacional Laguna del Laja 

Nearest City with Airport:Concepcion. 
Location:About 93 km east of Los Angeles in the Andean foothills. What to See: Covering an area of 11,880 hectares. Access is by road from Los Angeles towards Antuco and Laguna de Laja. Camping sites are available. The park is good for volcanic geographical rock formations, the source of the river Laja and flora and fauna. A few cabanas are available for over night accommodation.  
Distances:Los Angeles: 93 kms. Antuco: 30 km Abanico: 10 km.

LakeRegion of Chile 

Parque Nacional Villarrica 

Nearest City with Airport:Temuco. 
Location:About 120 km. west of Temuco and 5 kms. east of Pucon.  
What to See:The park covers an area of 63,000 hectares and includes the active, snow-covered Villarrica Volcano that rises to a height of 2,847 m and forests that include the famous "Araucaria" trees (Monkey Puzzel Tree).  

Parque Nacional Puyehue 

Nearest City with Airport:Osorno. 
Location:About 80 km east of Osorno, in the Andes foothills. 
What to See:Covering an area of 107,000 hectares, the park is heavily forested with trees native to Chile. An area of outstanding natural beauty, similar in geographic appearance to the Swiss Alps with lakes and snow-capped mountains.  

Parque Nacional Vicente Perez Rosales 

Nearest City with Airport:Puerto Montt. 
Location:About 90 km north-east of Puerto Montt.  
What to See:Covering an area of 231,000 hectares, the park encompasses the "Todos Los Santos" Lake which is emerald green in colour, the impressive and powerful water falls "Saltos del Petrohue". A truly stunning area also containing the perfectly conical Osorno Volcano.  

Parque Nacional Alerce Andino 

Nearest City with Airport:Puerto Montt. 
Location:About 50 km south-east of Puerto Montt. Access via the unpaved Carretera Austral. 
What to See:Covering 40,000 hectares, a heavily forested area with numerous waterfalls and natural wilderness.

Chiloe Island

Parque Nacional Chiloe 

Nearest City with Airport:Puerto Montt. 
Location:On the western coast of Chiloe about 40 km west of Castro. 
What to See:Divided in to three sectors covering 43,000 hectares. A totally unspoilt area full of woods. 

Chilean Patagonia 

Reserva Nacional Rio Simpson 

Nearest City with Airport:Coyhaique. 
Location:About 50 km west of Coyhaique.  
What to See:Covering 42,000 hectares, the park is known for its many waterfalls and Patagonian wilderness. Distances:Coyhaique to Puerto Aysen: 67 kms. Coyhaique to Reserva Nacional: 37 km Coyhaique to sector cerro Huemules: 15 kms. Puerto Chacabuco to Puerto Aysen: 14 km Puerto Ayson to Reserva Nacional: 32 km. 

Parque Nacional Queulat  

Nearest City with Airport:Chaiten (light aircraft) Coyhaique for jet aircraft. 
Location:About 196 km south of Chaiten and 177 km north of Coyhaique.   
What to See:An area of absolute outstanding natural beauty. A place where the world is still under construction. Waterfalls, hanging glaciers, rain forests, lagoons, rivers and all types of flora and fauna. 

San Rafael Glacier

Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael 

Nearest City with Airport:Coyhaique.  
Location:South-west of Coyhaique. 5 hrs. by catamaran from Puerto Aisen or few days by boat from Puerto Montt. To fly over is 1hr 30mins by light aircraft from Coyhaique. 
What to See:The park covers an area of 1,742,000 hectares and includes the Glacier San Rafael which, as it slowly recedes, breaks off into huge icebergs that float in the San Rafael Lagoon. The size of the glacial wall and the massive chunks that break off draws travellers from all over the world. Departures are from Puerto Montt or the closer port of Chacabuco (near to Coyhaique). All boats pass between the archipelago channels and passengers can enjoy a beautiful scenic journey going to and returning from the glacier. 

Torres del Paine National Park 

Nearest City with Airport:Punta Arenas.  
Location:6 hours drive north from Punta Arenas. Nearest city is Puerto Natales, which is a 3hr drive. 
What to See:Covering 182,000 hectares, this is the park everyone wants to see. Containing the very impressive "Cuernos del Paine" (two upright towers of rock) along with many lakes, glaciers, flora and fauna. True Patagonian country. Note that the weather in the park changes in minutes. It is usually windy and often raining.