The best hikes in Chile
Finally to Chile, fulfilling a promise I made a long time ago to one of my dearest childhood friend. Do you like a solid road trip and a good portion of adventure? Then Chile is the perfect holiday destination for you! It is a super safe country to travel through. Although you have to keep your attention on the road. For example, people crossing the highway at any given moment, cyclists riding along the highway or police officers standing in the middle of the highway are an everyday fare. We have done our entire trip with a ‘normal’ passenger car, although I would strongly recommend renting a 4x4! The main roads in Chile are well maintained. But the smaller roads are sometimes (suddenly) unpaved. Always calculate enough travel time to get to your next destination and refuel where you can refuel as gas stations are scarce.
We stayed 24 hours in Santiago. From the capital we took a domestic flight to Concepcion, where we slept for a night to start the tour with the three of us. We spent the night in Curacautin to start our first hike in Conguillío National Park the next morning.
✶ The road to the park is breathtaking, but also frightening at times
✶ No entry fee
✶ The park has survived heavy forest fires which still are clearly visible
✶ If you are short of time, you can skip this park
✶ Book an overnight stay in Pucon, a small tourist but pleasant village
✶ Dinner in Trawan, Pucon, they only use fresh ingredients and you can taste that
Conguillío National Park - Sierra Nevada Trail
✶ Enjoy the beautiful road to the park in the volcano landscape
✶ Both to the north and to the south of the park there is an entrance to enter the park
✶ Entry Fee: 6000 Chilean Pesos per person
✶ First walk around Laguna Captrén to spot birds, this walk takes about 45 minutes
✶The Sierra Nevada trail is a semi-tough six-hour trip, with beautiful views of the volcano. During the trip we also saw children and elderly, in other words, the trip is suitable for anyone with a good mobility
✶ We have spotted one condor during this trail
✶ After the trip we stayed in Melipeuco with the sweetest granny ever: Posada Los Arriesgados
After three days of hiking it's time for a rest day! After El Cañi we continued to our beautiful hotel Marina Del Fuy Lodge in Huilo Huilo. Along the way we stopped at least five times to take pictures, unfortunately an image does not capture all this beauty. We thought almost constantly that this is by far the most beautiful roadtrip we done so far. We drove from lake to lake and the trip could have lasted many hours longer without us even noticing!
Huilo Huilo offers everything a person needs after three days of hiking. It is a small, fairytale village, where all hotels and restaurants are made out of wood. Our stay at Marina Del Fuy Lodge was wonderful. The hotel restaurant was very good and the cocktail bar even better. The rooms are immaculately clean. The hotel has a nice swimming pool with a beautiful view of the lake.
Santuario El Cañi
✶ From Pucon, follow the S-907 road towards Thermas de Huife. After appr. five kilometers, just behind the restaurant Kod Kod, you will find the base camp on your right
✶ You must register before noon to start the tour
✶ Entry fee: 4000 Chilean Pesos
✶ This hike is 18 kilometers with a height difference of 2600 meters in total
✶ The climb will take between three and five hours, the fall between two and four hours. We did the hike in five hours.
✶ I am not going to twirl around it, the trip is very tough, but definitely worth it!
✶ Two condors spotted during our walk
✶ Schedule a rest day after this hike
Parque Nacional Agence Andino
✶ The entrance to the park in the north via Puente Rio Sector Correntoso
✶ Entry Fee: 4000 Chilean Pesos per person
✶ The hikes in the park are laid out with wooden paths and wooden stairs, which makes it very tiring, but also very unnatural, I personally did not like walking in the reserve
La reserva de Curiñanco
We visit Feria Fluvial, the fishermen market in Valdivia. It is a covered fresh market where sea lions have found paradise. They get here all the surplus (heads!) of the fresh fish that is cleaned here. Walk onto Castanero to get closer to the sea lions.
✶ Queue further along the beautiful coastline for a wonderful walk in La reserve the Curiñanco.
✶ Entry Fee: 3000 Chilean Pesos per person
✶ The walk takes you to a fairytale forest, with centuries-old trees, and on the way back one can spot otters next to the wild ocean
✶ It's an easy walk for young and old, highly recommended
✶ Eat the best civeche in Chile after the walk at Café Del Parque
✶ After the walk we spent the night in Temuco. Cities in Chile (with the exception of Santiago) are not really an added value to your trip.
✶ Dinner at La Pampa restaurant for a delicious piece of meat
We continue our journey to the picturesque Italian village of Lumaco. Where we spend the night in the delicious L'Emiliano Cabañas. You should always sleep in Cabañas while in Chile. They offer the best price / quality comparison and are always very clean and cozy. Don't be tempted by hotels, since the photos on the website often look much better than in real life.
Nahuelbuta National Park
✶ Entrance to the park via the Calima street in Angol
✶ The base camp of the park is about an hour and fifteen minutes drive on unpaved roads, which is quite long, certainly without 4x4
✶ Entry Fee: 2500 Chilean Pesos
✶ It is a beautiful park that you absolutely must visit. The hikes are pleasant without steep climbs
✶ At the top of the summit, eagles and condors fly at eye level
Belgian citizens don’t need a visa, for a maximum stay of 90 days. Your passport needs to be valid for the period of six months.