Chiloe National Park
This park is situated in the western region of the Isla Grande de Chilo√©, which is an extension of the divided coastal mountain range. Created in 1982, the park has an area of 43,057 hectares (94,725 acres) divided into two areas: Chepu (in the district of Ancud) and Abtao, which belongs to the districts of Castro, Chonchi, and Dalcahue.
The most attractive places in the park are the following: the Chanqu√≠n area, where lake Cucao and the coastal dunes are located; the mouth of the Abtao river and its diverse vegetation; Metalqui island and its colony of sea lions; the easily accessible Huelde lake and the Cole-Cole area, located north of Punta Huentem√≥, where there is a beach suitable for fishing, walking, and horseback-riding.
Do you want to visit the park?
Chilo√© National Park Basic Information
How to get there
To get to¬†Isla Grande de Chilo√© you must cross the Chacao channel on a ferry (boarding it in Pargua). The journey lasts 30 minutes until its arrival in Chacao. Then you must take the Panamerican Highway that crosses the island from end to end until the last village, Quell√≥n.
Ferry Pargua‚ÄďChacao: Continuous service with departures every 15 minutes between 7:00 and 01:20, year round. Apt for all vehicles and passengers. Duration: 30 minutes.
When to go
Warm, humid and oceanic with an annual rain index ranging from 2.200 mm (86 in.) in Cucao, to 3.000 mm (118 in.) in the higher parts of the Piuch√©n mountains. The average annual temperature is 10¬įC (50¬įF).
Food, trails. Camping is not allowed this year.
Adults: Chileans and foreigners CLP 1.000
Children (12 or less) and elderly: Free.
Chilo√© National Park Infrastructure and services
The park's administration is located in Chanqu√≠n, 1 km away from Cucao. There are 200 mts from the park to the administration office.
Park ranger's office
The park has stations in two areas. Nevertheless, there is qualified personnel in more places:
In Chanqu√≠n, in the administration office.
In Lar river, 1.5 kms from the park entrance. In Abtao, Conaf has a ranger going from the beach to the park's entrance.
In Cole-Cole there is also a park ranger.
Chanqu√≠n: located right by the administration office, it has 20 sites equipped with picnic tables, bonfire, garbage cans, drinking water, restrooms and showers, sink, and dinner set. There are also four cabins for six people each, available for rental.
Primitiva Cole - Cole: it has six sites equipped with picnic tables, bonfires, toilets, and showers.
Accommodation and meals
You can find basic foodstuff in Cucao. A minimarket operates in the camp site during the summer.
They are located along the excursion roads to provide support and help the visitors.
Anay refuge: Located on the south bank of Anay river. It has a capacity for ten people and a bonfire to cook your food.
Refugio river refuge: Located on the south bank of Refugio river. It has a capacity for ten people and a bonfire to cook your food.
Mouth of Abtao river refuge: Located on the south bank of Abtao river. It has a capacity for ten people and a bonfire to cook your food.
Cole-Cole refuge: Located on the south bank of Cole-Cole river. It has a capacity for 15 people and one stove to prepare your food.
Services outside the area
Horse riding tours: There are no horses in the park but you can rent them outside and go through the park with them.
Consider these recommendations during your stay in the park:
- Protect the vegetaton.
- Protect the fauna, its nesting areas, and the natural refuges.
- Camp and picnic only in authorised areas.
- If you have doubts, contact a park ranger or the area administrator.
- You will need a gas or coal stove for camping.
Attractions in Chilo√© National Park
What to see
It is interesting to visit Chanqu√≠n, where lake Cucao is located and the coastal dunes go for several miles. Also, do not miss the mouth of Abtao river and its diverse vegetation, and Metalqui island and it sea lion colony.
What to do
- Canoeing and kayaking: Castro - Dalcahue
- Flora and fauna observation
- Chanqu√≠n Cole-Cole Trail.
- Cole-Cole River-Anay River Trail.
- Cucao Beach Trail.
- Chanqu√≠n-Rancho Grande Trail.
- Castro-Abtao Trail.
- Chepu-Lar river Trail.
- Lar River-Refuge river.
- El Tepual Trail.
- Cucao Dunes Trail.
Chilo√© National Park Natural Heritage
This park has a very valuable forest reserve, being one of the few places in the world that still preserves its primitive flora and fauna species.
With a surface of 42.567 ha, the park is divided in three areas: Chepu (7.800 ha), Metalqui islet (50 ha), and Anay (35.207 ha). The relief is mountainous and it goes from the sea level to 850 mts. It features several rivers flowing into the Pacific Ocean, and the lakes Cucao and Huilinco.
The predominant vegetal formation is the Valdivian forest, a thick wood made up by evergreen trees, bushes, and some kinds of vines. On the hills there are also peats and tepualias. The species on the dunes have to deal with the lack of nutrients and salinity.
The most representative species of Valdivian forests are the Chilean myrtle (Luma apiculata), quila (chusquea quila), olivillo (Aextoxicon punctatum), and tepa (Laureliopsis philippiana). Soils with bad drainage feature species like larch (Fitzroya cupressoides), which form forests associated with tepualias (Tepualia stipularis) and cipr√©s de las Guaitecas (pulgerondendron uviferum). On the dunes you will find species like Chilean rhubarb (Gunnera tinctoria), beach strawberry and Ammophilia areanaria, which was inserted to stop the advance of dunes. Another important species, remarkable for its colour and shape, is the poe (Fascicularia bicolor), which grows amongst trees and rocks.
The formation called tepualia is a forest of peats, whose trunks create a tangle in which moss and epifitas grow. This creates a false soil several meters above the ground, making it especially dangerous to walk among tepualias.
The fauna in this park features mainly birds and sea mammals. In Metalqui islet there is a large colony of sea lions. Land mammals are scarce. In the wooded areas there are species like pud√ļ¬† (Pudu pudu) and Darwin's fox (pseudalopex fulvipes). On the mouths of rivers there are Southern river otters, which feed on fish and shellfish. Other species are monito de monte, sea otter, long-nosed caenolestid, common diuca-finch, and patagonian woodpecker.