National Parks

Wedged between the sea and the mountains, Chile has some tremendous natural riches, including 32 national parks and 36 reserves distributed throughout the country. On the border between the regions of Antofagasta and Atacama, you'll find Pan de Azúcar National Park. It's 43,000 hectares in size, 100 of which can be found on Pan de Azúcar Island (home to a Humboldt penguin colony), the Chatas Islets and rocks that jut out from the sea. Visitors can choose from beach camping areas, cabins and eco-tourism circuits, and see guanacos, culpeo foxes, seals, pelicans and the awe-inspiring condor.

Rapa Nui National Park is located 3,700 km from mainland Chile on Easter Island. Given that it sits on the eastern extreme of Polynesia, it's primarily accessed by plane. A number of trails let you take in the majesty of this mysterious island.

In the same part of Pacific, you'll find Juan Fernández National Park, which consists of Robinson Crusoe, Alexander Slekirk and Santa Clara Islands. More than 600 km from the port of San Antonio, this lost paradise is best known from the book Robinson Crusoe. Here you'll find the largest quantity of native species of flora and fauna in the world, as well as activities like trekking (medium-high difficulty) and diving. Given the devastating effects of the tsunami of February 2010, we recommend checking in advance to see if the conditions are adequate for visiting and taking part in these activities.

If you plan to travel along the Carretera Austral, check out Queulat National Park, a giant green space bisected by the Andes. It features countless trekking paths that allow you the appreciate the area's beauty. It's biggest attraction is undoubtedly the glacier that hangs from the peak of Cerro Alto Nevado at an altitude of more than 2,000 meters.

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