Huilo Huilo Reserve in Chile

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Salto del Hilo Huilo

 Photography by Shiakku

Under the volcanoes, beside the glaciers, among the great lakes, the fragrant, the silent, the tangled Chilean forest. It is the vastness of the landscape of the forest, amid the Chilean Patagonian Andes. By discovering the magic of the forest and surprise with its diversity, venturing into the volcano Mocho-Choshuenco or feel the fullness of Lake Pirehueico, the choices multiply to the visitors of the nature reserve Huilo Huilo, just 45 miles from San Martin de los Andes, crossing the border with Chile.

There are 100 thousand hectares of nature into stark contrast: the hand, the green and yellow coihues flowers amancay, a little beyond the blue end of its lakes and waterways, and in the background , the pure white snow-capped volcano. It is a perfect postcard.

In 2007, Unesco declared the area a temperate rain forest as a Biosphere Reserve for its unique contribution to biodiversity. Although the timber industry dominated the area until the 90s, today the place has become a center for conservation of flora and fauna and also in an attractive area for adventure tourism. No cell phone, television, or concerns to the hearing, the reserve is the ideal place to say goodbye to stress and being carried away by the fantastic stories about fairies and goblins of the forest.


The best route to get to the heart of the reserve Huilo Huilo, is venturing into the 45 kilometers of road that separates San Martin de los Andes Hua-Hum international pass, bordering Lake Lácar. It is the lowest height of the Andes and is open all year round.

After immigration formalities, Puerto Pirehueico a large barge waiting to begin the journey on the homonymous lake to Puerto Fuy (the fee is $ 120 per vehicle). An hour and a half of surfing one of the few Patagonian lakes with native forests in all their bank.

Unspoiled white sand beaches, rock formations and other wonders are revealed step by step. Halfway, on the north shore of Pirehueico, are the brand new Spa del Lago, where there are ten logs of thermal water from which to enjoy the spectacular view of the volcanic complex Mocho-Choshuenco.

The journey continues along the lake, and little by little, the landscape changes: the beech dominated in the native forest give way to the exuberance of the coihues, raulíes and Valdivian forest lianas. Arriving in Puerto Fuy, a necessary step is to know Neltume, the people of only 1,300 inhabitants who gives life to the project Huilo-Huilo and offers warmth to 15 thousand tourists who visit the complex.

At mile 60 of the International Road-Puerto Fuy Panguipulli is the main entrance to the reserve. Once there, no room for boredom. There are many activities to do that one has the impression that 24 hours a day are not enough. The excursions are carried out with a licensed guide and there are options for all tastes and budgets (from $ 30 to $ 450). The recommendation is to start with a walk through any of the eight available paths into the woods and discover the fauna and flora.

Puerto Fuy

Photography by Simenon

The trail ends in the crystal waters of the falls of Huilo Huilo. But there is still time to live another adventure: a ride to the viewpoint The Lenga, an expedition on board 4×4 vehicles to the Pampa de Pilmaiquén or an afternoon of fishing on the White River. For lovers of vertigo and adrenaline, the reserve offers the longest zip line in South America. At a height of ninety feet, passing through the tops of the trees, you can go through a spectacular valley sliding down a zip line. The experience is unique but it requires some courage and, of course, do not look down at the abyss that opens at the foot of every platform.

Lago Lacar por Roger Bits.

Photography by Roger Bits

The tour ends at the Mocho-Choshuenco viewpoint, to a considerable height from which you can see all of the reserve and observe the flight of an occasional eagle. Back to the portal, the forest waiting festive, lively, and the volcano is again only a distant white summit. Cuesta again not to be enchanted by the natural beauty of the Chilean landscape, but must be undertaken around the lake Pirehueico. And soon it will be night of a long day.

Good Luck…!

Huilo Huilo Reserve in Chile

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