Introducing Parque Pumalín

Verdant and pristine, this 2889-sq-km park encompasses vast extensions of temperate rainforest, clear rivers, seascapes and farmland. A remarkable forest-conservation effort, stretching from near Hornopirén to south of Chaitén, Parque Pumalín attracts international visitors in great numbers. Owned by American Doug Tompkins, it is Chile's largest private park and one of the largest private parks in the world. Agricultural use goes on alongside forest preservation in an innovative park model that perpetuates bee keeping, organic farming and animal husbandry alongside ecotourism. For Chile it's a model park, with well-maintained roads and trails, extensive infrastructure and minimal impact.

The 2008 eruption of Volcán Chaitén in the park and the ensuing cleanup kept the park closed for several years. It reopened in 2011. While ash is noticeably present (especially on dry, windy days) in parts, the park has managed to recover its excellent infrastructure.

Since the ferry usually requires advance reservations, many people access the park from Chaitén in the south. Caleta Gonzalo, the ferry landing, features cabins and a cafe. A new visitor center is being implemented in the current guardaparques (ranger) station 20km south of Chaiten. Fires are prohibited in the park.

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