The Southern Coast Travel Guide

The Southern Coast Sights

Parque Pumalín

  • Klenner 299 Map It
  • Puerto Varas
  • Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 01/20/2011

Fodor's Review

Funded and organized by the late American conservationist Douglas Tompkins, this park covers 296,081 hectares (731,632 acres) and shelters the largest—and one of the few remaining—intact alerce forests in the world. Alerces, the world's second-longest-living tree species at up to 4,000 years, are often compared to the equally giant California redwood. Tompkins, who founded the clothing companies ESPRIT and The North Face, died in a kayaking accident in December 2015, and was posthumously lauded as an environmental hero in Chile and the world over. Pumalin Park represents the biggest parcel of altogether 1 million acres of land officially donated to Chile in March 2017 by Conservation Land Trust, the foundation set up to manage Tompkins's park projects in South America. Thanks in part to lands bought up and preserved by Tompkins, Pumalín will become a full-fledged national park in April 2019. The Pan-American Highway, which trundles all the way north to Alaska, is interrupted at

Pumalín, though the government plans to expand the highway through it. Meanwhile, there's a well-maintained road stretching 60 km (37 miles) from Chaitén to the northern entrance of the park at Caleta Gonzalo.

Parque Pumalín encompasses some of the most pristine landscape in the region, if not the world. There are a dozen trails that wind past lakes and waterfalls. Stay in excellent wooden cabins, or at one of the 17 campsites, or put up your tent on one of the local farms scattered across the area that welcome travelers. After the Chaitén Volcano eruption here in 2008, the main entrance to the park was moved to El Amarillo, some 30 km (18 miles) south of Chaitén. But one can still arrive via the more developed Caleta Gonzalo entrance to the north, where a ferry from Hornopirén can drop you off, and where the cabins and a park restaurant are located.

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Sight Information

Address:

Information center, Klenner 299, Puerto Varas, Los Lagos, 5550000, Chile

Map It

Phone:

65-225–0079

Sight Details:

  • Free

Published 01/20/2011

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