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Parque Nacional Chiloé


Tel Code: 65

Altitude: 0 – 859m (2,818ft)

Population: small indigenous Huilliche communities

Parque Nacional Chiloé is a biologically rich, 43,057-hectare reserve on the western coast of the Island of Chiloé, where sandy beaches and rolling dunes meet thickly forested mountains. The park, which was founded by the Chilean government in 1983, is famous for its short hikes. With minimal effort and planning, you can walk among the twisting, old-growth forests—virtually unchanged since Darwin visited in the HMS Beagle. There you might spy rare and elusive animals, like the Chilote fox and the pudú (the world’s smallest deer); the vast Pacific beach is among the most beautiful in Chile. With more than 110 different species of birds, El Parque Nacional Chiloé is a birdwatcher’s dream. The park is divided into three major sections: the nothern sector (Chepu), the small island of Metalqui, and the southern sector (Anay). The 7,800-hectare northern sector is best accessed from Ancud, and includes a hiking trail that takes approximately five hours (but is not recommended). Metalqui is a small and rugged island populated by a colony of sea lions. Visitors are not allowed on the island, as the sea lions are protected. The larger southern sector (35,207 hectares) is the park’s most accessible and popular area. Hikers can take several footpaths from Cucao, a tiny village at the southern tip of the park. Cucao has bus service to and from Castro. Visitors should be prepared for rain during their trips to the park. The average annual rainfall at Cucao is 2,200 mm, and the weather changes rapidly, so waterproof footwear and a rainjacket are essential. Dry days are the exception here.

By Kyle Adams
Kyle just graduated Syracuse University with degrees in magazine journalism and anthropology. After his summer with V!VA, he'll be starting Peace...
21 Aug 2009

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