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Parque Pumalín

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Parque Pumalín Chaitén  Chile
Pristine Wilderness in Parque Pumalin Chaitén  Chile
Parque Pumalín Chaitén  Chile
Pristine Wilderness in Parque Pumalin Chaitén  Chile

From Rain Forests to Glaciers

In the northern part of Chilean Patagonia, Parque Pumalín stretches from Andean peaks to Pacific fjords, with dense rain forest, hidden lakes, waterfalls, and volcanoes in between. Expected to be named a national park this spring, Pumalín is already open to the public and free to visit. Hike to glacial faces or trek up Volcán Chaitén, which lay dormant for 9,000 years before erupting in 2008. Book early to snag a cozy waterfront cabin at Caleta Gonzalo. —By Sarah Feldberg

This appeared in the January/February 2018 issue.

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AFAR Local Expert
over 5 years ago

Pristine Wilderness in Parque Pumalin

This remarkable conservation effort, started by millionaire Douglas Tompkins, was initiated to protect a large part of Chile's temperate rain forest in the southern portion of the country (Palena Province). Located south of Chiloe on the "continental" side in the island-studded channels, the park covers over 320,000 hectares of land. This beautiful wilderness is full of snowy mountains with glaciers on their peaks, thundering waterfalls, crystalline rivers, and forests with jungle-like density. It is untouched and virgin. Within the park, there are also projects for organic honey, pasturing animals, organic orchards, and handicrafts along with basic infrastructure for visitors. November to March are the best times of year to visit. Be prepared for ample rainfall. Photo: Matthew Monroth (https://www.flickr.com/photos/matthewalmonroth)
AFAR Contributor
over 3 years ago

Parque Pumalín

On the Chilean mainland, across from Chiloé Island, you'll see a park that owes its existence to an American. The Parque Pumalín, with an area of 3,250 square kilometers (1,255 square miles), was created by the Conservation Land Trust, endowed by Douglas Tompkins, the conservationist and cofounder of the clothing companies the North Face and Esprit. Though the acquisition by Tompkins of vast tracts of land was initially viewed with suspicion by many Chileans, the government has come to support the park that resulted from those purchases. Today it protects some of the continent's rare primeval forest, notable for the diversity of its plant species.