The Villarrica National Park is characterized by the presence of the Lanin and Villarrica volcanoes, and the development of activities such as skiing and mountaineering. It is located in the Araucanía region in the Andes mountain range.
Situated on a lateral arm of the Andes mountain range, this park is characterized by its volcanoes, forests, caves, rivers and lagoons.
Dominating the landscape, the Villarrica volcano is its major attraction. At an altitude of 2,847 m (9,338 ft) above sea level, and with the reputation of being the most active volcano in South America, this volcano is the center of the tourist activity in the area. The volcano boasts a ski center and volcanic caves worth exploring. You can also climb up to the crater of the volcano to admire not only the boiling lava in the interior.
The park has an area of 63 thousand hectares (138,600 acres), with extensive forests of araucarias and lenga in the higher parts, and raulí, long-leafed mañío and coigüe in the lower parts. These forest zones are home to a variety of fauna, with species like pumas, grey and red foxes, pudúes, coipos, peucos, quiques, chingues and mountain monkeys, one of the three species of marsupials which exist in Chile.
Location: Region of Araucanía, 8 km southwest of Pucón. 120 km northwest you will find Temuco.
When to go: Year round.
Business hours: Mondays to Sundays: 8:30 to 18:00 hrs (high and low season)
Climate: Rain between March and August, ranging from 2,500 to 3,500 mm (98 and 137 in.). The snow reaches up to 2mts (6.5 ft). Between January and March, the minimum temperature can be 9°C (48ºF) and the maximum fluctuating between 20° and 23°C (68º and 73ºF). The lowest temperatures are registered between May and August, with 4°C (39ºF).
Services: Trails, camping, rangers.
Los Cráteres viewpoint: 4 kms, 2.6 round trip.
The Chilean Path stretch Challupen –Chinay: 23 kms, 12 hrs.
Turbio River: 4 kms, 4 hrs. round trip.
Villarrica crater: 5 kms, 6 hrs.
The Chilean Path, stretch Los Venados: 15 kms, 10 hrs.
Los Nevados: 8 kms, 5 hrs.
Pichillancahue: 3.3 kms, 2.6 hrs. round trip.
El Mocho stream: 4 kms, 2 hrs round trip.
Colonia Benavides: 4 kms, 2.6 hrs round trip.
The Chilean Path stretch Las Avutardas: 17 kms, 12 hrs.
Momolluco: 12.5 kms, 6 hrs.
Quinquilil volcano: 6 kms, 2.3 hrs.
Rinconada de Huillico: 10 kms, 6 hrs.
Andean Lakes: 12 kms, 6 hrs.
Fauna Trail: 150 metrso, 30 min.
El Aguilucho: 4kms, 8 hrs.
Villarrica journey: 6 kms, 4 hrs.
Natural Heritage in Villarrica National Park
Flora: According to the classification proposed by Gajardo (1996), Huerquehue National Park is located in the region of the Andean-Patagonian Forests, and within it, in a sub-region called Araucanía Mountain range. The park also belongs to the region of deciduous forests, and within it, to the sub-region of the Andean deciduous forests. The first sub-region features the High-Andean deciduous forests with araucaria, while the second has the mixed Andean deciduous forest. The araucaria (Araucaria araucaria), which is currently considered vulnerable, is the most outstanding species.
Fauna: The park protects several species, some of which are:
Long-clawed mole mouse (Rare)
Andean fox (Not sufficiently known)
Peregrine falcon (endangered)
Chilean pigeon (Vulnerable)
Black woodpecker (Vulnerable)
Black necked swan (Endangered)
Reptiles and Amphibians:
Darwin's frog (Vulnerable)
Chilean Tree Iguana (Vulnerable)
Hydrography: In general, both lentic and lotic basins in the area are exorheic. There are 7 tributaries of Valdivia river and 7 of Toltén. The most important ones are: Lanín, Momolluco, Las Mellizas, Puesco, Pocolpen, Huililco, Huampoe, Palguin, Turbio, Blanco, Molco, Voipir, Quilalelfu, Ñilse, Santo Domingo, Pichillancahue, Llancahue, Reyehueico, and Liszan. Besides, other important lakes are: Quileihue, Huinfuica, Verde, Plato, Escondido, Blanca, Azul, and las Avaturdas. There are also minor courses with sporadic streams. It is worth mentioning that this park generates around 7,7 million liters of water per day.
Geomorphology: This park is a lateral arm of the Andean range, with the presence of volcanoes Lanín (3.776 mts), Quinquilil (2.000 mts), Quetrupillán (2.360 mts), and Villarrica (2.850 mts), several adventitious cones, and other high peaks like Las Peinetas, Purue, Los Nevados, El Cerdudo, and Milemile. There are some deep gullies and volcanic slags, created by a volcanism that has modelled its surroundings. These phenomena allow the presence of a number of natural attractions that have turned this park into an important national and international tourist center.
Culture Heritage in Villarrica National Park
The Araucaria: The Araucaria is a common species in this park. Its distribution coincides with the distribution of the Pehuenche people, who have historically used the piñón (araucaria seed) as a source of food.
Some pottery and clay remains have been found in this area, indicating that there was once a certain degree of ocupation.
This area has a gastronomic identity marked mainly by Mapuche cuisine and the complement of Spanish cuisine. This land is characterized as a place of cultivation, where there are different outbreaks of fruits, legumes, vegetables and spices that are fundamental in the condiment of the food as the Merquén.
Meat and fish are also important food, which are usually seasoned with the spices of Mapuche cuisine. Within the typical dishes are the Charquicán, empanadas with pebre, roast lamb, tortillas embers among others. You cannot visit this area without eating chestnuts or pine nuts.
A traditional drink of the area is apple chicha or wine. Desserts usually have blueberries or raspberries or nuts and chestnuts as well.
The weather on this place is oceanic and rainy, with a bit of Mediterranean influence, there’s abundant and constant rainfall, even in summer. The annual average temperature is 11° C.
We advise you to wear clothes that are suitable for rain, because the weather is constantly changes at any time of the year.
Stores in rural areas are open all day, but they close between 13.00 and 15.00. We advise you to carry local currency (Chilean pesos), since it isn’t possible to pay with debit or credit cards in kiosks and rural stores.
Do not litter on parks or streets. Taking care of our environment is everyone's responsibility. Avoid fines by following the rules.
Villarrica National Park map
Come and discover Villarrica National Park
What to do in Villarrica National Park
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