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Chile’s Parks

INTRODUCTION

Northern Zone

Servicio Nacional de Turismo Av. Providencia 1550, Santiago de Chile ✉ www.sernatur.cl/contacto-general ☎ (56 -2) 731 8336 (56 -2) 731 8337

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Chile has 100 state-designated Protected Wilderness Areas, which include 35 Parks, 49 Reserves and 16 Monuments. Together, they cover almost 20 percent of the nation’s territory. The National Parks differ from the National Reserves and National Monuments because the natural resources in the parks may not be used for economic purposes and must be protected. The country also has ecological reserves promoted by the private sector, all with a strong emphasis on sustainable tourism and all contributing to the conservation of our ecosystems.

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PA R K S I N T H E N O R T H E R N Z O N E O F C H I L E

W H AT Y O U N E E D T O K N O W A B O U T C H I L E ’ S PA R K S

U S E F U L I N F O R M AT I O N

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REGIONES: ARICA Y PARINACOTA

Lauca National Park Volcán Isluga National Park

TARAPACÁ

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Llullaillaco National Park

Pan De Azúcar National Park

ATACAMA

Llanos De Challes National Park Nevado Tres Cruces National Park COQUIMBO

Fray Jorge National Park VALPARAÍSO METROPOLITANA O´HIGGINS

DEL MAULE BIOBÍO

ARAUCANÍA LOS RÍOS

LOS LAGOS

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Chile’s north features some of the country’s most impressive landscapes. The planet’s driest desert is juxtaposed next to volcanoes, geysers, salt flats, enormous sand dunes and the highest mountains in the Andes mountain range. There are fertile valleys, high altitude marshlands, isolated beaches and a variety of animal life. There are nine national parks protecting these varying ecosystems that range from the coastline to altitudes over 4,000 meters high. Among the most notable are the Lauca National Park, which showcases the fascinating landscape of the altiplano; the Pan de Azúcar National Park, faithfully protecting the coastal desert area; and the Fray Jorge National Park, a true desert miracle with forests characteristic of Chile’s south.

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L A U C A N AT I O N A L PA R K

A R I C A - PA R I N A COTA R E G I O N

This park is at an altitude of 4,517 meters above sea level, and its emblematic Chungará Lake is one of the highest in the world. The park also enjoys the status of being a World Biosphere Reserve where 60 different bird species thrive. Must-See Attractions: Living in the shadow of the twin peaks of the Payachatas Volcanoes - Parinacota and Pomerape - the park’s birds and mammals are numerous and easy to observe, especially around the lake area. Among the most noteworthy are the Giant Coots and the Puna Teals. The only path accessible by vehicle is the 13-km Cotacotani trail, with 8 lookout points along the trail, leading to a high altitude marshland area (“bofedal”). Other Activities: The Chungará ranger station has 10 campsites and bathroom facilities, while the Las Cuevas ranger station has a picnic area and a trail leading to three lookouts, one of which is handicapped-accessible. The trail also runs by historic rocky overhangs (chañacas) where communities of hunters and gatherers once lived more than 6,000 years ago. How To Get There: Take the paved road Carretera Internacional Arica – La Paz (Route CH-11). It is 165 km from Arica, the last stop for gasoline. SERNATUR Arica. Phone: (56-58) 252054, infoarica@sernatur.cl CONAF Putre. Phone: (56-58) 585704, enrique.miranda@conaf.cl


V O L C Á N I S L U G A N AT I O N A L PA R K

TA R A PA C Á R E G I O N

This park encompasses important ceremonial centers for the Aymará indigenous people. The abundance of alpaca and native birds like the Puna Tinamou is the result of a joint effort between the park staff and local communities. Must-See Attractions: The town of Isluga celebrates a carnival at the end of February that brings all the neighboring communities together. The church at Isluga is also an attraction. It was built in the 17th century and has a bell tower with two stories. Other Activities: From Enquelga you can take a short 600m path to see a variety of aquatic birds, including Flamingo, White-Faced Ibis, and Andean Avocet. From the road between Enquelga and Colchane, there’s a trail marked by stones that takes you to a pukará, an Isluga ceremonial site. How to get there: Take route A-16 from Iquique towards Humberstone, and then follow Route 5 north at km 26. Continue north to Huara and take route A-55 towards Colchane for 180 km. There is also regular bus transport from Iquique to Colchane twice daily, year round. It is 16 km from Colchane to the park. SERNATUR Iquique. Phone: (57) 419241, infoiquique@sernatur.cl


L L U L L A I L L A C O N AT I O N A L PA R K

A N TO FA G A S TA R E G I O N

In this remote park in 1999, U.S. mountain archaeologist Johan Reinhard found three frozen bodies dressed for ceremonial burial. The discovery, made on the summit of Llullaillaco, included a young 15-year-old woman, a six-yearold girl and a seven-year-old boy, making this the highest altitude archaeological site in the world. Must-See Attractions: The southern access route to the Lullalillaco volcano is accessible by car up to an altitude of 5,000 meters. Getting to the 6,739-meter summit is not as technically difficult as the ascent of Ojos del Salado. Trekkers must get themselves accustomed to the high altitude, however, and be prepared to cross extensive snowfields. Other activities: There are small streams in the ravines running between the high altitude marshland and other vegetation. On the western slopes of the volcano you can see vicu単a grazing. This park is very isolated and there are no camping facilities yet. How to get there: Take the gravel road Route B-865 directly from Taltal. This road passes through a geological depression and the Domeyko mountain range near the entrance to La Sal, a 116-km trip. It then joins the road coming from the eastern sector of the Salar de Punta Negra. CONAF Antofagasta. Phone: (56-55) 383332, antofagasta.oirs@conaf.cl. SERNATUR Antofagasta. Phone: (56-55) 451820, infoantofagasta@sernatur.cl


L L A N O S D E C H A L L E S N AT I O N A L PA R K

ATA C A M A R E G I O N

The “Flowering Desert” phenomenon in Los Llanos characterizes this park. It’s also an interesting ecosystem for the local guanacos, Chile’s largest wild mammal, whose survival in this semi-desert area is testimony to their ability to adapt to heat and to a scarcity of water and food. Must-See Attractions: The “flowering desert” phenomenon occurs between September and November. Different plant species germinate at this time, creating a unique, multicolored landscape of flowers, including the rare and beautiful garra de leon (in danger of extinction), la napina, la añañuca and la pata de guanaco. The proximity to the ocean and the presence of coastal fog work to prolong the spectacle. Other activities: The clear white sands in the camping area of the Playa Blanca sector are an incredible experience for those seeking tranquility. Before receiving permission to use the campsite (which includes water, bathrooms, a campfire and a roofed barbeque area), you must sign a list of conditions to assure a peaceful, noise-free and orderly stay. How to get there: From Huasco, take Coastal Route C-360. Just to the north of Huasco Bajo, you’ll find the Los Pozos ranger station. You can also get there by taking the gravel road C-440 located 40 km north of Vallenar, which links Canto de Agua with Carrizal Bajo. Public transport leaves every Friday from the rural bus station across from the stadium in Vallenar. CONAF Huasco. Phone: (56-51) 611555, atacama.oirs@conaf.cl SERNATUR Atacama. Phone: (56-52) 231510, infoatacama@sernatur.cl


PA N D E A Z Ú C A R N AT I O N A L PA R K

ATA C A M A R E G I O N

Land and marine environments meet and converge at this park, which provides one of the best examples of coastal desert ecosystems. In the sea are animals like the marine otter (chungungo) and Humboldt penguin, while on land there are cacti, foxes and guanacos. Must-See Attractions: Excursions around the Isla Pan de Azúcar island can be hired on boats manned by local residents. Boat trips take you closer to the great number of marine birds and some of the coastal mammals. These same fishermen serve up interesting food at their restaurants and home kitchens. More information about these options is found in CONAF’s website. Other activities: There are five campgrounds in the park, as well as rustic cabins for rent. The Mirador Pan de Azúcar trail is 10 km long and gives you a panoramic view of the area. CONAF provides a guide to the park’s wide variety of cacti and flora on its website. The park’s administrative office is also home to a collection of different cacti. How to get there: There are three ways to get to the park. One is along the 27.1-km route C-120, which connects Chañaral and the park’s administrative office. Another way to reach the park is along Route 5 North (Panamericana Norte), which intersects Route C-112 at Las Bombas and km 1,014. The third option is also via Route 5 North, connecting to route C-110 at km 968. CONAF Copiapó. Phone: (56-52) 237042 and then dial 00 to reach “Areas Silvestres”, atacama.oirs@conaf.cl SERNATUR Atacama. Phone: (56-52) 231510, infoatacama@sernatur.cl


N E VA D O T R E S C R U C E S N AT I O N A L PA R K

ATA C A M A R E G I O N

Some of the highest peaks in the Andes mountain range are found in this park, including the Ojos del Salado volcano, the highest active volcano (6,893 meters) in the world. The park also includes the Negro Francisco and Santa Rosa lagoons, one of 12 sites included in the RAMSAR convention for saving swamplands around the world. Must-See Attractions: The “Environmental Interpretation Trail” at the Negro Francisco lagoon provides a great view of the Copiapó volcano. Following the trail, you can see the different kinds of salt content that make up the swamplands and lagoons. It is also possible to observe and identify the birds that make this park their home. All the lagoons in the park are more than 4,000 meters high. Other activities: Most of the mountaineering groups scaling the Ojos del Salado leave from the Laguna Verde area, which doesn’t have a shelter. There is a Carabineros police outpost, but you must get permission from DIFROL and guides before attempting this difficult climb of 6,893 meters. How to get there: The main access is on route CH-31, which leaves Copiapó and heads towards the San Francisco pass. CONAF Copiapó. Phone: (56-52) 237042, atacama.oirs@conaf.cl SERNATUR Atacama. Phone: (56-52) 231510, infoatacama@sernatur.cl.


F R AY J O R G E N AT I O N A L PA R K

COQUIMBO REGION

It amounts to a desert miracle: flourishing tree and plant species that are only found in the far southern part of Chile, more than 1,500 km away. The park’s main attraction is an educational trail through the park’s water-rich forest. In 1997, this park was designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Must-See Attractions: The most beautiful scenery is in the hydrophilic forest. A trail through this area begins 10 km from the Fray Jorge information center. You can also find many of the same animals that are found in Chile’s central zone, most notably the quique (Lesser grison), chingue (Andes skunk) and zorro culpeo (Andean fox), as well as rodents like the chinchilla and degú. The Chilean iguana also lives here, sharing dry habitat with birds like the Burrowing Owl. Other activities: In the Arrayancito sector, located in the lower part of Fray Jorge, picnics are permitted. To camp, ask permission in the communities along the road to the park. How to get there: The park is located on km 387 of the Panamericana Norte highway in the province of Limarí. At the highway crossing, take a detour towards the west over 27 km of gravel road. In wintertime, tourism operators organize visits only on weekends. CONAF Limarí. Phone: (56-53) 630046, hernan.saavedra@conaf.cl SERNATUR Coquimbo. Phone: (56-51) 225138-225199 , infocoquimbo@sernatur.cl Bosque Nacional Fray Jorge Mobile Phone: (56-09) 3462706


n o t E S


Parques Norte-INGLES  
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