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Chile’s national resources: the National Parks

Spread across the country, from the Atacama Desert to Cape Horn, Villarrica and the Juan Fernandez Archipelago, Chiloé and Torres del Paine, national parks are administrated by the CONAF (Corporación Nacional Forestal).

Here’s a best of the national parks of each region

NORTH

Lauca National Park has a very diverse flora and wildlife. It encompasses a small part of the Andes, 4 volcanoes peaking at more than 6,000 m, lakes and swamps. It is home to condors, pumas, vicunas, ñandus, lamas and alpacas, typical of Chile.

Pan de Azucar National Park is located on the coast but its climate is arid. The wildlife is thus essentially marine: penguins, cormorants, gulls, fur seals, etc.

When it rains, which only happens very occasionally, the desert blossoms.

CENTER

The treasures of the Easter Island National Park include the Moai statues, three volcanoes like the famous Rano Kau, and a few endemic species like the great frigate bird.

The National Park La Campana, 70 km from Viña del Mar, shelters the southernmost coconut forest only found in Chile and that almost disappeared because of overexploitation. They are almost 25 meters tall and are well worth a visit.

In the Juan Fernando archipelago National Park, you will find the largest variety of endemic flora and wildlife in the world. However, only one mammal species is native of the island: the Juan Fernandez fur seal. After going near to extinction, it is today protected. This national park is a paradise for botanists (lush vegetation) and ornithologists (exotic birds).

CHILOE & THE LAKE DISTRICT

The Huerquehue National Park will leave you speechless with its volcanic landscapes, its Araucaria forests, Chile’s national tree, and its countless lakes. Its protected wildlife includes the puma, the Magellan Fox, the coypu, among others.

The Villarrica National Park is located near Pucon and is dominated by the Villarrica Volcano. Its wildlife and flora are one of the greatest: the araucarias, typical beech trees, all kinds of birds (black-necked swan, black-crowned night heron), the Magellan Fox, the coypu, etc.

The Chiloe National Park is characterized by the omnipresence of water because it rains a lot there. Rainforest, leafy trees and an abundant wildlife: a multitude of birds, sea otters, the South American sea lion, marsupials, etc, everything is connected to this natural wealth.

CARRETERA AUSTRAL, PATAGONIA & TIERRA DEL FUEGO

The Queulat National Park is Chile’s best-preserved park. One section has not even been explored by man yet. It is known for its hanging glacier at more than 2,000 m above see level, which turns into a waterfall in the summer, and its Andean landscape.

The Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most famous, most beautiful and best equipped of Chile. It is also famous for its four seasons in one day and its exceptional natural light, which allows the visitors to fully enjoy the breathtaking scenery it offers, as well as its wildlife: condors, pumas, guanacos, Magellan Foxes, etc.

Cape Horn National Park is Chile’s southernmost park. It encompasses the famous Cape Horn. However, its extreme climatic conditions prevent the species from developing.

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