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9 great reasons to visit Huerquehue National Park in Pucón

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Created in 1967 to protect the local flora and fauna, Huerquehue National Park is a favourite for visitors to Pucón. Just 33 km to the west of town and with 12.500 hectares to escape into, it's a great option for a day walk or even better, for an overnight camping experience.

First though, you need to get your tongue around the pronunciation of the name, which means "Place of Messengers" in the Mapudungun language. Huerquehue. Forget the "H"; don't even bother as it's silent. Guaranteed to make you look like a pro Chilean speaker if you ask the bus driver for a ticket to [weh-kay-weh] instead of stumbling over the "h´s". So, get practicing, get your boots on and pack your camping gear. If you still need more convincing read on for the 9 secrets that will await you during your visit:

 

1) Huerquehue is in our very own Araucarias UNESCO Biosphere Reserve! Yes, since 1983 this area has been heralded by UNESCO as a protected area worthy of their conservation efforts. In fact, since 2010 35% of the whole of the Araucaria region was declared part of this reserve. Surely that's proof enough that there is something there you cannot possible miss! 

2) Super great panoramic views of Villarrica volcano! With the calm waters of Lake Tinquilco below & dense forest on either side, there are endless opportunities for panoramic shots of the snow topped Villarrica volcano from the park itself. These viewpoints provide the perfect excuse to catch your breath on the way up without looking like you are out of shape!

Views of Villarrica volcano

3) Huge thundering waterfalls such as the Nido de Águila just off the main trail provide welcoming shady escapes and yet more photo opportunities. Also, they are a perfect snack spot too!

Cascada Nido de Aguila

4) Sandy beaches and Andean lagoons await you after 3-4 hours of hiking. If you are up for a swim then the blue green waters will definitely refresh you! Don't forget your bathing gear, a towel & a camera to capture the moment as you enjoy your dip against the beautiful scenic backdrops.

Andean lagoons

5) Araucaria trees are everywhere! These majestic trees are among the oldest on the planet. The male and female versions are easy to spot and if you go in late March or April you will maybe hear them dropping their seeds (piñones) to the ground. These piñones are a staple food for the Mapuche community as they can be ground into flour to be used in baking and for bread.

6) Magellanic woodpeckers can definitely be heard along the trails. With some patience you can spot the bright red heads of the male as he pecks into the native tree trunks in search of food. Yet another great photo opportunity!

Magellanic woodpecker

7) Monito del Monte – a tiny tiny marsupial which hides in the trees and can only be found in the central-southern region of Chile and south west Argentina. Just over 2 cm tall, or short!, it weighs an average of 25 grams. Admittedly they are quite difficult to spot, but you never know your luck!

Monito del Monte

8) Autumnal colors – if you go in the right season, the change of colors from deep lush green to bright oranges, reds and yellows is spectacular. Sol y Nieve offers a fully guided camping trip where you will be provided with all the right equipment and hot food to guarantee a perfect experience even if the weather turns cool.

9) Hot springs – right at the far side of the park meaning a 2 day minimum trip is necessary, you will be welcomed and your aching limbs will be soothed by the fabulous Rio Blanco hot springs. A treat after a long hike and the perfect place to reminisce and enjoy a hot meal before heading back to Pucón.

Termas de Rio Blanco

Facts:
How to get there: Local buses leave from Pucón itself, or you can take a guided camping excursion with Sol y Nieve.
What to take: Good boots, a waterproof and windproof jacket, clothing layers, a head torch, snacks and water, and some cash for the entrance fee to the park.
Climate: Rainy season is May to September but do take a rain jacket at any time of year. The rest of the year is mild to hot depending on the month.
Elevation: 750 – 2000 meters above sea level

 

©Sarah White 2014      Author’s rights reserved

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Guest Wednesday, 18 October 2017
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