Sounds fun? Pumalín Park. Important tips and resources for planning an incredible trip to Patagonia, based on our extensive experience travelling through the entire region. After a visit to Pumalin National Park, we head south crossing some of the largest and most beautiful rivers in Chile. Navier Austral operates the ferry too. We didn’t do the full trail instead opting for a shorter route for views of the glacier without killing our already weary legs. Unfortunately, only few are left today, as they have been deforested radically since colonization, and … As an effort to preserve the Alerce trees from extinction it is now illegal to cut down this type of a tree. If you wish, we can arrange to take you for a trip on the Futalefu or Figueroa. There are some exceptions to this. National Park has 12 trails and they are marked as #1-#12 on the map along with For example, a private pitch with a covered cooking area at Camping Ventisquero is CLP 16000 for the pitch. In the northern part, we hiked all of the trails except for two. We’d love for you to join us! Just look for signs that say “Sendero Cascada” – the trail is one straight path from there. Make sure not to miss a small turnoff that leads to a viewing platform of a really awesome looking tree trunk. All this incredible beauty, well-maintained trails and jaw-dropping views must cost a packet right? We started our trip by exploring Pumalín National Park, sort of the designated gateway park into Patagonia. If you arrive from Puerto Montt in the north, you’ll reach Hornopiren first. We visited Pumalín Park in February 2019 and it was still free The citizens of Chaiten have since returned and the park trails re-opened. take the road from Puerto Montt to Caleta Arena. Most visitors start off at the northern entrance called Caleta Gonzalo and travel south along the Carretera Austral scenic highway. If you don’t have your own transport, hitching is the best option if you miss the daily bus that leaves Chaiten for Caleta Gonzalo each morning. Parque Pumalin has a wealth of opportunities for outdoor lovers. There are some tour companies operating from the next town Chaitén that can arrange transportation and tours from there. If you’re planning a trip into southern Chile, don’t skip it! It’s an enormous region and one we completely adore. A 1500 mile row of electricity pylons. Lovely place to walk a section of the Caratel Austral. We decided to skip trail #6 – Sendero Volcan Michinmahuida because everyone we talked to had the same thing to say – the trail is super long, it offers no views and leads through an overgrown forest for almost all 13 miles of it. But there’s no guarantee there’ll be space or even that it’ll run every day. Thought to be dormant for over 9000 years, Volcano Chaiten surprised everyone and erupted in May 2008. If you’re not a serious hiker but want to try out a few Patagonian trails, it’s the perfect place for you too. The waterfall trail starts at the Cascadas Escondidas campsite which makes it very convenient for bikers and backpackers. In 2018 the Tompkins Foundation donated Pumalín Park to the State of Chile adding to that growing list. A little further and any remaining trees are uprooted, serving as perfect resting posts before the final steep scramble to the crater’s rim. Your email address will not be published. The forest here is humid, so reaching each waterfall is a refreshing break on the uphill hike. A wooden bridge spans the turquoise clear river. Overall the trail was pretty easy and I saw lots of families doing this hike. Travelers will paddle between huge granite walls and waterfalls that plunge into the ocean and see plenty of austral dolphins, sea lions and endemic bird species. Tours; Circuits; Activities; Hotels; Luxury Experiences; Cruises; Special deals +56 (2) 2570 8620 +56 (2) 2570 8620; 1-800-906-8056 (11) 5219-4105 (11) 3958-7071; USD. Camping is free except during the high season. It was one of the steepest trails that we did in Pumalín Park and felt like 2 hours of nonstop stair master climbing up tiny wooden stairs. We were accompanied by a friend Kirsi and her dog Jack so couldn’t help stopping for photos of him! Despite initial hostility from locals, sceptical of Doug’s intentions, he continued buying adjoining plots of land. And it wasn’t even raining! Make Parque Pumalin the start of your driving adventure along the Carretera Austral. A remarkable forest-conservation effort, stretching from near Hornopirén to south of Chaitén, Parque Nacional Pumalín attracts international visitors in great numbers. This sea kayaking adventure takes place in the heart of Pumalin Park, traveling along the beautiful Quintupeo and Cahuelmó fjords. Here’s just a couple of examples. Like really bad. While some hikes like Ventisquero El Amarillo are up to 20 kilometre treks, others are much shorter. Chiloe Island is a 4-hour ferry ride away from Chaiten. Open year-round, those who visit must comply with certain environmental standards in order to keep this natural paradise intact for future generations. Call us lazy, but These ancient trees’ 3,000 years of life help to tell a timeless story of this pristine ecosystem, tucked in the Palena Province. The Sendero #3 Alerce trail is a quick and easy path that leads through a forest of giant Alerce trees. A large rockfall on the smouldering cone was enough to startle us into beginning our descent! After years running major corporations – Doug founded North Face and Espirit clothing companies, he decided to escape the rat race. For avid hikers, Parque Pumalin must be on your Carretera Austral itinerary. The Alerce An excellent location in Hornopiren this little country cabana is idyllic. Towns (or rather villages) are few and far between in Pumalin Park so come prepared. and one of those changes could be the increase in park fees that the visitors Another possibility is to spend a night at the famous Thermas De Puyuhuapi Spa and Hot springs. The trail meanders through the forest and strategically placed boards provide visitors with information on the flora and fauna here. The forest floor is soft underfoot, damp yet protected from the worst of the Patagonian winter weather by the huge evergreen canopy high above. Pumalín National Park consists of 12 trails. In 2005, the Chilean president designated Pumalin Park a Nature Sanctuary. found. The designation of the parks, which span a million acres and are being billed as the largest donation of privately held land in South America, is the culmination of a pledge signed by McDivitt and Bachelet last March. It’s a nice short hike if you’re looking for a quiet spot in the nature, but not much of a destination. Spend the late summer evenings after a long hike relaxing with a glass of wine watching the dolphins playing in the shallows. stations also sell paper maps, but we didn’t really feel that one was necessary. Pumalín Park Almost untouched by man, these warm rainforest lands were declared a Nature Sanctuary. Perhaps an honest mistake but take care anyway. Most, if not, all trails are manageable as day hikes. Let’s hope the glacier is still there then! Public transport is limited to one bus running between Chaiten and Caleta Gonzalo once a day. The hike follows beautiful wooden walkways and bridges made of old The formal handover from Kristine Tompkins has been finalised as she donates over 375,000 hectares of private land to the Chilean state to form the Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park and Patagonia National Park. Year-Round We recommend visiting between November - March If you want to reserve the ferry tickets ahead of time, you can do that on their websites. The campsites here cost 16,000 Chilean pesos ($25 USD) per site and are pretty spread out so they feel very private. And as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. We came in the busy season (February) and everyone trying to get into Patagonia in their cars was bottlenecked in Hornopirén waiting for a ferry in. Incredible sunset at Pumalin National Park in southern Chile. The Alerces trees are sort of the Sequoias of Patagonia. to do the shorter hike to a viewpoint of the glacier instead. We highly recommend spending at least a few days hiking and camping in this untouched part of the world. Pumalín I drove through the entire park… Pumalin Nacional Park is a beautiful place, protected by the Chilean State to preserve the ecologycal enviroment. Here are all the best trails to hike at Pumalín Park, starting from Caleta Gonzalo heading south. This isn’t a hike for those out for an energetic morning. by Chile’s National Forest Corporation (CONAF). But this trail is 12 miles long and we opted Take a look at this video about how he fought to build the parks here. This hike is located in the southern part of the park after passing through town Chaitén. So make sure you pack these car camping essentials to make the most of the fabulous opportunities in this part of the world. Get a copy of the, If you want to explore Patagonia in a rental car, make sure to book in advance. Make sure to bring along a jacket and gloves – we were exposed to some icy winds at the top and within a few minutes we couldn’t feel our hands or toes. The crossing costs around 15000 CLP | $22 | £17 | €18 per person one way plus 111000 CLP | $160 | £126 | €141 for a camper van. The fine sandy beach is a perfect place to unwind after a tough hike. He was super friendly, spoke perfect English and gave us tons of awesome recommendations. If you’d prefer more budget accommodation, make sure to check out Hostelworld for their latest rates and availability. Unfortunately for folks that don’t have a car on this leg of the journey, the Pumalín region does not make it easier for them. For more info, please check our disclosure page. After this, the going gets a little tougher. Visitors will also enjoy hot spring baths and walks to hidden lakes that very few have visited. It comes in here quite fast and you’ll get trapped at the edge of the forest if you don’t get back in time. Facilities are spotlessly clean, albeit the cold water showers are positively glacial. We started the El Mirador hike from Grande camping area and followed along a wide road for 1.2 miles until we reached the trail turnoff point that leads to the glacier viewpoint. Most of the campsites (but importantly not all), are accessible in your car or camper van. Check out our definitive guide to the regional seasons to find the best time to go to Patagonia. Located at the south end of the Comao Fjord and on the shores of the Vodudahue River, the spectacular Vodudahue farm serves as an informal park station. The second waterfall is located another 40 minutes in and has a viewing platform offering spectacular views of the tall waterfall. It scared the living daylights out of us. to hike all of the trails which is one of the main reasons why we spent so much Although the posted hours for the mini market were from 8:30-10:30 am and 5:00-7:00 pm, the few times I went down there it was closed during the posted hours. We recommend you arrange a rental vehicle from Puerto Montt for the most flexible way to travel around the park. Pumalín Park is situated on the upper right corner of the map Pumalín Park (Spanish: Parque Pumalín) is a 400,000-hectare (1,000,000-acre) nature reserve in the Palena Province of Chile, created by the United States environmental foundation The Conservation Land Trust, which was endowed and led by the American business magnate Douglas Tompkins. Article by Fun Life Crisis. Everywhere else, you’ll need some basic language skills to get the most out of your trip. It’s the one we ended up shipping our van with but unfortunately, our boat skipped the scenic route – time is money in the busy season! The volcano feels very much alive from the top. The northern part is best accessible from Caleta Gonzalo while when visiting the southern part, you can have a base in Chaiten town. Pumalín National Park consists of 12 trails. If estimates prove correct, these 4200-year-old Alerces are some of the oldest living trees on the planet. The best place to access the park, which is within the Chilean Lake District, is from the city of Puerto Montt. Pumalin Park in northern Patagonia is a stunning area that offers some great opportunities for outdoor lovers; several hiking trails, in-nature campsites, crystal clear river, unique flora, and fauna – all these you will ding here. Chaitén is a small town but it has restaurants, hostels and grocery stores so many people make this their home base while exploring Pumalín Park. The campsite costs 6000 Chilean pesos (around $9 USD) per person per night and the camping areas are scattered through the site in forest clearings. Soon the trail becomes little more than a zig-zagging staircase. Not to us. All of the trails at Pumalín Park are day hikes with campsites set up near their starting points. Once at the top, the climb is completely worth it. This was actually one of my favorite hikes that we did at Pumalín National Park and if you’re looking for THE ONE hike to do, I highly recommend to put Sendero #8 Volcán Chaitén one on top of that list. With as many as 3 ferry journeys needed to reach its northern limits, just getting here can be quite an adventure. Read More, 10 Reasons To Skip Iceland And Head To Oregon Instead, DIY Promaster Camper Conversion Guide – Part I, 10 Snapseed Tricks To Edit Instagram Photos, How to Choose the Best Camera for Instagram, 45 Best Instagram Theme Ideas & How To Create Them. If you’re fitter than us it won’t take this long. We made our way down to the lakefront but had to fight through some overgrown shrubs to get there. Difficulty | The trail up to the first of the waterfalls is pretty straight forward and quite easy. The southern entrance to the park at Caleta Gonzalo was severely affected during the May 2008 eruption and completely shut down through 2009. This camp offers beautiful roofed private sites for 16,000 Chilean pesos ($25 USD) that are perfect for bigger groups and families up to 4 people. The top is the new trail to Volcan Chaiten which erupted … This short trail is well maintained. The trail is 20 kilometres long and takes at least 6 hours so one of the full-day hikes in Pumalin Park. But good news for backpackers and bikers– if you don’t have a car, you can hop on a ferry the same day or next at the latest! Give us a like on Facebook or follow us on Instagram. Campsites are the most accessible places to stay in Pumalin Park but there are a few places to stay near the few towns along the route too. The ferry was sold out for the next 6 days and we had to get on a waiting list and physically wait for 3 days in our van outside the boat dock until we got a spot on the next available ferry out. Hornopiren National Park – the next stop northbound on the Ruta de los Parque or Route of Parks. 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