In the South
Five tips for perfecting a trip to Chile’s Reserva Huilo Huilo
There’s plenty to see in this unique nature park in the Los Ríos Region. Check out our advice for making the most of your visit.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Montaña Magica Hotel at Reserva Huilo Huilo. Photo by Claudio Poblete/Flickr.
Reserva Huilo Huilo is an out-of-the-ordinary private nature park in Southern Chile. Waterfalls, hiking trails, endangered species, a spa, Hobbit-esque architecture and even a brewery can be found within this 386 square mile (100,000 hectare) park, making it a place like no other in the world.
This is Chile has previously explored the many reasons why Reserva Huilo Huilo should be included on your trip to the Los Ríos Region. Now we’re here to offer you five more tips for making the most of your trip to Reserva Huilo Huilo.
1. Bring the kids
Huilo Huilo stands out from other nature parks for its easy and accessible trails. The trails to the Salto Huilo Huilo (Huilo Huilo Waterfall), Valdivian rain forest, and deer enclosure are all raised wooden walkways. This makes them perfect for getting up-close to nature with strollers and small feet.
2. Don’t forget the binoculars
Binoculars are great for viewing Huilo Huilo’s incredible wildlife. The Reserve is home to threatened species like the Southern huemul, the puma, the guanaco, and Darwin’s frog, in addition to over 80 bird species. We also recommend bringing a rain jacket and rain pants, as the weather can change quickly here even in the summer.
3. Ask questions
The map and website of Reserva Huilo Huilo can be a bit confusing, so be sure to ask the staff questions. The main reception desk at Nothofagus Hotel (formerly named Baobab Hotel) can answer all types of questions in English as well as Spanish. You can also reach the desk by phone.
4. For a more affordable trip, get outside the park
Huilo Huilo offers upscale dining and a few coffee and snack shops, but meal options are limited for the budget traveler. A small grocery store can be found just outside the Reserve in Neltume. There are also a few restaurants in Puerto Fuy which are substantially cheaper than inside the park.
5. Take the ferry
A great way to get to or from Huilo Huilo is by ferry across Lago Pirehueico from Puerto Fuy into Argentina. This beautiful journey takes about an hour and a half and costs just USD$1.85 (CLP$865) on foot or USD$34.50 (CLP$16.235) with a car. The ferry crosses three times each day in the summer months; be sure to double check with your rental company before taking a rental car across the border. Learn more about ferry departure times and prices online.
Getting to Huilo Huilo
The road to Reserva Huilo Huilo is beautiful and well-marked. The hour and a half drive from the small town of Panguipui follows alongside the entire length of Lago Panguipulli and features incredible views of Volcán Choshuenco.
Visiting Huilo Huilo without a car is challenging but not impossible. A bus service exists between Panguipui and Puerto Fuy and takes about an hour and a half. You can ask to be let off the bus inside the reserve. Once inside the park, you can opt to pay for Huilo Huilo’s guided group tours, which include transportation to the park’s various sites.
Be aware that no direct bus service exists between Panguipui and Pucón. To get from Pucón to Panguipui by bus, you’ll need to go through either Temuco or Valdivia first, which will add at least five hours of travel to the journey.
Renting a car in Pucón is an excellent alternative. Cars start at around US$85 (CLP$40,000) per day, and typically require a US$1,061 (CLP$500,000) liability deposit. In event of an accident, costs over this amount will be covered in full by the rental company.
Huilo Huilo also offers a car pick-up service from Pucón, Valdivia, and Temuco with prices starting at $191 (CLP$90,000) round trip per person.
Check out the Huilo Huilo website for detailed directions and bus schedules.