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Reserva Nacional Alto Bío Bío

Although it is quite easy to get to Reserva Nacional (RN) Alto Bío Bío, few travelers ever make it here. Founded in 1912, this 33,050-hectare preserve has a landscape gouged into canyon by glaciers and rivers. Many waterways have their headwaters here, which was the reason for the reserve's creation. Many, like the Tralilhue, Pino Solo, Liucura and Tue Tue, feed Río Bío Bío. The park also forms part of the Reserva de la Biosfera Araucarias (Araucarias Biosphere Reserve), conserving alto-Andino ecosystem found withing this region. RN Alto Bío Bío's temperate climate is typical of the Andean steppe.


Only about 45% of RN Alto Bío Bío is covered by forest, primarily of araucaria (monkey-puzzle tree, Araucaria araucana), lenga (lenga beech, Nothofagus pumilio), ñirre (Antarctic beech, Nothofagus antarctica), coigüe (Nothofagus dombeyi) and ciprés de la cordillera (Chilean cedar, Austurocedrus chilensis). In humid areas, mallines (wetlands) are also found. Inhabiting this land are pudú (Chilean miniature deer, Pudu pudu), vizcacha (viscacha, Lagidium wolfshonni), guanaco (Lama guanicoe), puma (Puma concolor), zorro chilla (South American grey fox, Psuedolopex griseus), zorro culpeo (Patagonian fox, Lycalopex culpaeus), quique (lesser grison, Galictis cuja), a weasel-like animal, and guiña (kodkod, Oncifelis guigna). Avian life include Traro (crested caracara, Polyborus plancus), Aguilucho (white-throated hawk, Buteo albigula), Condor (Vultur gryphus) and several species of duck.


Two legs of the Sendero de Chile pass through RN Alto Bío Bío: Cuelares Grande (Distance: 40 km/24 mi) and the shorter Cuchares Chico (Distance: 20 km/12 mi). Other activities to undertake are fishing and horseback riding. Within the park are indigenous Pehuelche communities you can visit.


The only brochure-map that Conaf, the national park office, has on RN Alto Bío Bío is old and incomplete. No lodging facilities exist within RN Alto Bío Bío. Camping is allowed only in designated spots and in-transit for those trekking. The nearest hostels are in Liucura, eight kilometers (4.8 miles) away: Hostería Pino Hinchado (Tel.: 045-197-2034), Residencial y Casa de Cambio Pehuén (Tel.: 045-197-0065). Otherwise, stay in Lonquimay, 48 kilometers (29 mi) away.


Other places nearby Reserva Nacional Alto Bío Bío: Frutillar , Lago Llanquihue, Parque Nacional Alerce Andino, Parque Nacional Puyehue, Villarrica, Lago Puyehue, Puerto Varas, Parque Nacional Villarrica, Lago Pirehueico and Melipeuco.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

17 Jun 2009

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