Photo courtesy of Reserva Nacional Río de los Cipreses
Río de Los Cipreses National Reserve
Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll spot free-born condors as well as birds bred in captivity then released in the park. There is abundant nature here: Chilean oaks, soapbarks, and frangel trees stand tall and beautiful above a forest floor tangled with guindilla and chuquiraga bushes. Gray and Andean foxes, little grisons and cururus, scamper through the underbrush. And guanacos, indigenous animals that resemble llamas, gather at the Los Cipreses River basin, where cougars gambol. Despite all the wildlife, tranquillity is one of the aspects visitors to the reserve praise the most. There are bike paths, picnic areas (no fires are allowed, so bring food that can be eaten cold), and plenty of staff on hand to point out the best spots. While it’s just a two-hour drive from Santiago, it’s a whole other world.