Chiloé National Park (Chile)

Time to read
1 minute
Read so far

Chiloé National Park (Chile)

Posted in:

Chiloé National Park, located along the vast and desolate west coast of Chiloé Island in southern Chile, is rich with wildlife, including sea lions, penguins, whales, and seabirds. It includes zones of dunes, temperate rainforests, swamps, and peat bogs.

Chiloé National Park is located along the western coast of Chiloé Island, in the Los Lagos Region of southern Chile. Created in 1982, it encompasses an area of 42,567 ha (105,185 acres).

The National Park is divided into three areas:

  • Chepu: in the district of Ancud

  • Abtao: which belongs to the districts of Castro, Chonchi, and Dalcahue

  • a small portion that occupies the islet of Metalqui, with its colony of sea lions

The greater portion of the Park is in the foothills of the Chilean Coastal Range, known as the Cordillera del Piuchén. It includes zones of dunes, temperate rainforests, swamps, and peat bogs.

Several hiking trails have been established in the National Park:

  • Río Chepu-Río Lar: 11 km (6.8 mi)

  • El Tepual (interpretation trail): 0.75 km (.5 mi)

  • Dunes of Cucao: 1.4 km (1 mi)

  • Chanquín-Cole Cole: 16 km (10 mi)

  • Río Cole Cole-Río Anay: 5 km (3 mi)

  • Chanquín-Río Grande: 15.5 km (9.6 mi)

  • Castro-Abtao: 18 km (11 mi)

The climate in Chiloé National Park is wet and temperate. Annual temperatures average 11 °C (52 °F), and abundant precipitation is distributed uniformly throughout the year, varying between 2,500 mm (98 in) and 5,000 mm (200 in), according to the altitude.

The predominant vegetation in Chiloé National Park is the Valdivian temperate forests, a dense forest formed by perennial trees, shrubs and climbing plants.

These rainforests are made up of evergreen southern beech (Nothofagus) and some native, including include the alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides), also called Patagonian Cypress.

Extensive bogs and swamps are found in the hills. The Chilean rhubarb (Gunnera tinctoria), a very large perennial, is quite common.

The terrain is rich with wildlife, including sea lions, penguins, and seabirds along the coast. The coastal areas also host a population of pygmy blue whales, one of only a few known foraging grounds in the Southern Hemisphere. Vast and desolate, this coastline stretch is one of Chile's most beautiful.

In this area, whales often enter narrow fiords to feed or rest. The site is also an essential habitat for other whale species, such as humpbacks, finbacks, seis, and southern right whales.