Leer en Español
National Parks in Chile. Which is your favourite?
If you like to hike and see beautiful views then the national parks in Chile is the perfect page to find these places because there are tons of places to do these activities.
Just so you know I’m not going to list the national reserves with the national parks because there are so many and I think they deserve a page of their own.
I’m listing the national parks in Chile according to their location, so I’ll start from north to south.
National parks in Chile, Far North
• Lauca National Park: Located about 160 kms northeast from Arica and near the Bolivian Boarder, its nearest town is Putre. This park has to offer beautiful sceneries that are breath taking not only because of the heights (3.200-6.342 mts above sea level). The snow-sprinkled volcanoes such as the Parinacota, Pomerape, Guallatire and Acotango could be painted on the landscape. A definite attraction of this area if the flora and fauna of the Chungará Lake. This one of the highest lakes in the world, and definitely one of the most beautiful. This lake permits the growth of wildlife such as vicuñas, llamas, alpacas, foxes, viscachas and over 150 species of bird that include the flamingos. Before hiking up it might be a good idea to stay in the area and adapt to the altitude for a couple of days. This park can be visited all year round. Once in the area a must see are the protected areas called the Reserva Nacional Las Vicuñas and the National Monument Salar de Surire.
• Volcan Isluga National Park: This park is 250 kms from Iquique and 13kms from Colchane, a small village on the Bolivian Boarder. Within the park you’ll the flora and the fauna similar to the Lauca National Park, but you also find small pastoral villages that house just a few families. The park’s highlights include the Puchuldiza geyser and hot springs, 2 kms from the Enquelga village. It’s a good idea to ask about the road conditions, especially in the summer since it’s the rainy season and do not attempt the trip without a high-clearance vehicle, extra petrol and antifreeze. This can be visited all year round.
• Llullaillaco National Park: This park is located about 300kms from San Pedro de Atacma. It’s administrated by Conaf and you have to get in touch with them in order to visit or hike up the volcano. It’s named after the volcano Llullaillaco (6.739 mt) which is the second highest volcano in Chile. Within the park you will find animals such as vicuñas, guanacos, chinchillas, and culpeo foxes. Once in the park you’ll find beautiful breaks some with water such as el Zorro, Zorritas, Llullaillaco, and Rio Frío. The park is financed by the mines Meridian, Zaldivar and Escondida, which help build a tourist information centre, restore an old shelter called Zorritas at 4.200kms above sea level. There is also under construction 2 new shelters one near the Río Frío and the other near the Aguas Calientes salt flats.
• Pan de Azucar National Park: (adult US$8) 18 kms from Chañaral, this park offers diverse wildlife of the coastal region combined with desert landscape. When in this region get ready to see the Humbolt penguins, otters, sea lions, pelicans and cormorants. Hire a boat ride to approach and see them at the Pan de Azucar Island, the ride cost around $8 or $9 US dollars. There are also tours to the smaller islands called Las Chatas and Las Mariposas. There are three routes to do. Las Lomas which is about 60 kms, it’s to be done by car. El Mirador de Cumbre is 18 kms and also to be done by car. Then there is the Quebrada El Castillo that is about 7 kms, it can only be done in company with the parks guards. They all are showing the cactie of the area and some have beautiful views. There are camping sights around for those who like to camp. This park can be visited all year round.
National Parks in Chile, Near North
• Nevado Tres Cruces National Park: (adult/child US $7/2.60) This park is about 265 kms from Copiapó. It has two sectors, the Laguna Santa Rosa and the Laguna del Negro Fransisco both named after the lagoons with the same name. The first includes the salt flat called Salar de Maricunga. The second one has a variety of wildlife, mostly bird of different species but being the most interesting the flamingos. Sometimes you’ll see the occasional condor. The high season to see the bird is in between December and February, these are also the best months to visit this park. The Administration is found in this last sector and has a guest house that charges about US $16 a night. While in the area check out the Ojos del Salado volcano, the highest in Chile.
• Llanos de Challe National Park: (adult/child US $3.50/0.90) This park is located about 50 kms north of Huasco. The great attraction of this park is the flowering desert. If there has been enough rainfall, the parched land erupts into a multicoloured carpet of wildflowers. This usually occurs between late July and September in the wetter years. During the drier years usually this park isn’t very popular since its main attraction isn’t there.
• Bosque Fray Jorge National Park: (adult/child US $3.59/1.50). This park is located about 70 kms from Ovalle. The attraction of this park is the vegetation, such as olivillo (Aetoxicon punctatum), arrayán (myrtle) and canelo(Drimys winteri). It’s usually found in the southern part of Chile near Valdivia. So it’s pretty amazing that with all the hot weather in this area you find such moist vegetation. This is created by a moist blanket that rolls in from the Pacific Ocean called camanchaca. The best time to visit this park is during the end of October and November, when everything flourishing. But it can be visited all year round. There are some camping grounds and cabins run by the Conaf. The best time to see the parks ecology is in the early morning, when the condensation from the fog leaves the plants moist.
National Parks in Chile, Central Chile
• La Campana National Park: (adult/child US $3.00/0.50) This park is on the way to Valparaiso from Santiago on the number 5 route North towards Ocoa. In total 110 kms from Santiago. It contains the highest mountains of the costal cordillera and its main attraction is the Chilean Palm Trees. These are also known as the palma de coquitos (the miniature coconut tree) which are very popular in this region, and very tasty too. Its jagged scrubland resembles the Southern California Mountains. There are picnic sites and camping grounds for those who want to stay a bit longer. The best time to visit this park is in spring time so you can observe natures course of life, although the park is open all year-round.
• Rapa Nui National Park: (non-Chileans US $10)This park is located on Easter Island, about 5000 kms from the mainland, in the Pacific Ocean. Most of the Rapa Nui’s land and archaeological sites are considered part of the national parks in Chile. The admission is at Orongo and it’s valid for the whole park and for the length of the whole trip. The attractions of this park are the petroghlyphs, village structures, ahu (burial sites) and the fallen moai. Once at the park you must respect these sites, avoid walking on the ahu and do not remove or relocate rocks from any archeological structures.
• Juan Fernandez National Park: (adults for 7 days US $5) This park is on the Archipielago Juan Fernández, that’s located 667kms from Valparaiso in the Pacific Ocean. This price includes every corner of the archipelago, there are a number of trails that can be done without guides. But Conaf requires many trails to be done with a tourist guide in order to protect the fragile areas. These can be hired at a kiosk near the town plaza. Another way to see the beauty of this island is by boat, there are tours to see the seal colonies. There are camp grounds that be used for one night but it must organized before hand. The best time to visit this park is from December to March.
National Parks in Chile, South of Chile
• Nahuelbuta National Park: (admission US $3.20) Located 34 kms from Angol, this parks main feature is the monkey-puzzle-tree (araucaria) forest, the only one that exist on the coastal cordillera. There are several hiking routes, some with picnic areas. This park is great for bird watching, including woodpeckers. There are some occasional sightings of the pudú, which is a small Chilean deer. If you’re lucky you’ll get to see a Chiloé fox or a puma. Some say it’s the ideal spot for UFO spotting. The best time to visit this park is during November to April, but if you mind the cold it’s really beautiful to see with snow in the winter months.
• Laguna del Laja National Park: (adult/child US $0.35/0.15) This park is located 91 kms from Los Angeles. It named after the lagoon that was created from the lava from the Antuco Volcano that dammed the Laja River. The main features of the park are the mountain cypress (Austrocedrus chilensis) and the monkey-puzzle trees. There are about 8 trails to hike all with different difficulty for all ages. A guided tour cost about $0.30 per person. There are picnic and camping sites. The administration office is about 5 kms from the entrance and 5 kms further is the entrance to the ski center. The best time to visit this park is from December to March, unless you want to ski, then you would want to go during June and July.
• Tolhuaca National Park: (admission US $3.00) Found 35km from Curacautín, this one of the national parks in Chile that is best kept a secret mostly because its access is a bit harder than the Conguillio National Park. The trails take you though its main attractions being the Malleco Lagoon (good fishing), Salto de Malleco (Malleco Waterfall), Salto de la Culebra (Snake waterfall), and the Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon). There are camping sites near the Malleco Lagoon. This park is open all year round but the best months to visit are from November to April.
• Conguillio National Park: This park is great for hiking, climbing, skiing, fishing (with special regulations), camping or spending the night in a cabin. The main attraction is the araucanian forests (monkey-puzzle trees) and other native Chilean trees that surround the Laguna Verde, Lago Conguillio, and Laguna Capren. There are three entrances to this park, one directly east from Temuco (80kms) via Vilcún, this accesses the ski resort at the Sector Los Paraguas (adult/child US $2.00/1.00 summer season), but not the main visitor center and trails. If you want to hike up the Llaima volcano the cost is about US $2.00 and to the Sierra Nevada cost US $1.25 during summer seasons. To go to the main visitor center, trails and camp grounds. These can be seen by entering through the Curacautín entrance. The last entrance is through Melipeuco, south entrance of the park.
• Villarrica National Park: This park is neighbour to Pucón and it’s one of the most popular parks visited for skiing. The hightlights of the park are the Villarrica Volcano, the Quetrupillán and the Lanín. These show wonderful volcanoes and lakes and if you hike to the top of a volcano the scenery is indescribable. The activities available at this park are climbing, hiking and skiing all with their individual prices. There are also some great volcanic caves to see in the Villarrica volcano.
• Huerquehue National Park: (admission US $3.50) The park is about 35kms from Pucón and features waterfalls like El Nido de Aguila, rivers, alpine lakes and forest of araucaria trees. The main trails that can be hiked are the Ñirrico (800mts), Los Lagos (8,8kms), Cerro Quinchol (5kms), Los Huerquenes (20,7kms, for a 2 day hike), Cerro San Sebastian (8kms). On the Los Huerquenes trail you’ll find campsites that are administrated by Conaf. The best time to visit this park is in between December and March.
• Puyehue National Park: (admission US $1.50) This is one of the most developed national parks in Chile since there is a ski resort and hot springs resort in the park. The park features a huge evergreen forest combined with sand dunes and lava rivers. The main sector of the park includes Aguas Calientes thermal baths. The other sectors are the Antillanca and the Anticura which has on its own 5 trails to hike. The best time to visit this park is in between December and March for hiking and from June to October for skiing and visiting the thermal baths.
• Vicente Perez Rosales National Park: (admission US $1.50) This park is located 47kms from Puero Varas. It’s main tourist attraction are Los Saltos de Petrohue, the Lagos de Todos los Santos and the volcanoes Osorno and Puntiagudo. This is one of the first national parks in Chile and it dates back to the pre-Columbian times. This park is open all year round but the best times to visit this park is during December and March for the hikers and for the skiers during June and October.
• Alerce Andino National Park: (admission US $2.00) This park is located 40kms from Puerto Montt. It’s one of the best national parks in Chile for hiking and observing the beautiful evergreen alerce forest also combined with coigue, ulmo, ferns, climbing vines and thickets of quila. As for wildlife you can sometimes see pumas, pudús, foxes, skunks and condors. There are camp grounds at the Correntoso near Rio Chamiza and also near Rio Chaica. Conaf also have rustic refugios at Rio Pangal.
• Chiloe National Park: (adult/child US $2.00/Free) This park is located 30 kms from Chonchi and 54 kms from Castro. The park is surrounded on one side by the Pacific Ocean and on the other by the Piuchén cordillera. It features an evergreen forest and wildlife from Chiloe such as different kinds of birds, pudús and foxes. The park divides up into three sectors; the first is called the Chanquín y Cole Cole area of the Anay sector. There are 6 trails to hike. The second is the Abtao area of the Anay sector, this has 1 trail to hike. The last is called the Chepu sector with 2 trails. There are some camping sites that are managed by the indigenous comunity of Huilliches. The best time to visit this park is from December to March.
National Parks in Chile, Patagonia
• Queulat National Park:
• Laguna San Rafael National Park:
• Torres del Paine National Park:
• Pali Aike National Park:
Return from National Parks in Chile to Information on Chile
Return from National Parks in Chile to Chile Tourism