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Queulat National Park

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Aysén : Queulat National Park
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Queulat National Park

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Queulat National Park is in the Northern Chilean Patagonia region of Aysén, Chile.

Understand[edit]

History[edit]

Created in 1983, the Queulat National Park is located in a region basically untouched by man until the recent construction of the Carretera Austral. As a consequence, the nature is still pristine and remarkably wild in this region, and its remote location allows visitors to enjoy nature in a rare state of conservation.

Landscape[edit]

The Queulat National Park is famous for its Ventisquero Colgante (English: Hanging Glacier), a glacier literally hanging above a cliff. The water melting from the glacier creates two towering waterfalls, dropping on top of more ice in the moraine underneath. Ice is constantly falling and crashing from the top of the glacier to the bottom of the moraine, creating an impressive background rumbling noise in the valley.

The camp facilities themselves are located in the ancient moraine of the glacier. The river created by the melting ice flows from the beautiful Laguna Tempanos (English: Lake Tempanos), milky white due to its being fed by glacier water.

Flora and fauna[edit]

Beech trees abound, as well as native Patagonian trees. A lot of birds are also unafraid of humans and can get very close to you. Foxes and pumas are sometimes sighted.

Climate[edit]

It rains a lot in the park. It is advisable to check the weather conditions (for exemple by looking at the forecast for the nearby village of Puyuhuapi on YR) in order to go on a clear, sunny day, lest the glacier be invisible behind clouds or rain.

Get in[edit]

All the buses coming through the Carretera Austral can drop you off at the entrance for the Ventisquero Colgante, about 70 km south of La Junta, or 20 km south of Puyuhuapi. You could also come from Chaitén, farther north, or Coyhaique in the south. From the turnoff, you will still have to travel 2 km to the camp.

If coming by car or bike, be aware that this part of the Carretera is gravel road, currently in the process of being paved (Nov 2017).

Fees/Permits[edit]

Entrance fee of 5,000 CLP pp for foreign visitors as of Nov 2017. Camping is another 5,000 CLP.

Get around[edit]

The entire area is walkable.

See[edit][add listing]

There are only a few hiking trails in the Ventisquero Colgante section of the park, all doable within the same day. The Centro de Información Ambiental (English: Environmental information center), a small building at the end of the road going through the camp, holds a few explicative panels about the history and ecology of the park, albeit only in Spanish.

Times in the following trail descriptions are for return trips.

  • Mirador Panorámico (English: Panoramic viewpoint): a short walk from the information center leads to a viewpoint of the lake and glacier. 200 m, easy, 15 min.
  • Sendero El Aluvión (English: The alluvium trail): short interpretative walk with a few signs explaining the flora and geology — all due to the glacier movements — encountered on the way. Nothing incredible nor scientifically advanced, but still a nice walk. 350 m, easy, 30 min.
  • Sendero Laguna Tempanos (English: Lake Tempanos trail): short walk along the river to the Laguna, giving a beautiful view of the lake fed by the hanging glacier in the distance. Perfect for a picnic on a sunny day. 600 m, easy, 40 min.
  • Sendero Ventisquero Colgante (English: Hanging Glacier trail): hike through the wild and dense beech forest up to a viewpoint with an impressive view of the glacier, waterfalls, as well as the moraine under. The best place to see the ice crashing down from the ice tongue. The trail goes steadily up, but is not steep and should be manageable for most people. 3.3 km, medium, 2.5 hours.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Boat on the Laguna Tempanos, (walk to the end of the Sendero Laguna Tempanos). A 30-minute tour on a small boat on the Laguna with views of the glacier. Only available in summer. Minimum 4 persons, maximum 6. 3,500 CLP adults, 1,500 CLP children (Oct 2014).  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

A large quincho (covered BBQ place) is available to use for large groups. Fire is no longer allowed in the campground, only stoves can be used for cooking.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Lodging[edit]

Camping[edit]

There are 10 camp sites, very well equipped, with covered picnic table and BBQs, water taps, as well as clean common toilets with hot water showers. However, the ground can be a bit rocky and hard to plant stakes in, but nothing insurmountable. 6,000 CLP per site per night, maximum 6 persons per site (Oct 2014).

Backcountry[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Local rangers advise not to turn your back from a puma, in the slim chance that you should encounter one. Back up slowly, while still facing it. In order to scare it away, you should make yourself appear bigger than you are by putting your arms up, and make noise. Or just get away to safety.

Get out[edit]

Go back on the Carretera Austral to hitch a ride or wait for the next bus.

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This is a usable article. It has information about the park, for getting in, about a few attractions, and about accommodations in the park. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!