Off the beaten path in Chile: Parque Natural Goméz Carreño

Viña del Mar residents love the quiet beauty of their untouched neighborhood park – but you won’t find this adventure in any guidebook. 

Viña del Mar isn’t known as «La Ciudad Jardín» («The Garden City«) for nothing – its sprawling botanical gardens are considered the best in Chile.
But if you’re looking for a real walk on the wild side during your next trip to Viña del Mar, try exploring Parque Natural Goméz Carreño in the small town of Goméz Carreño.
You won’t find this park marked on any map – it’s more of a relaxing retreat for locals than a structured nature reserve – but the rewards for finding it are great. The park offers a truly undeveloped environment to experience the natural beauty of Chile.
Parque Natural Goméz Carreño is home to a wide variety of plants and animals, and with few regular visitors, the habitat is largely undisturbed. It’s common to see cows, horses, goats, and donkeys grazing, but birds are the stars of the park, according to Marilyn Yañez in VeoVerde. A variety of unique bird species call the park home, including thrushes, hawks, diucas, chingoles, queltehues, bandurrillas, finches, doves, and woodpeckers.
According to Yañez, Parque Natural Goméz Carreño is a special place for the community to enjoy nature at its purest, and everyone pitches in to preserve its beauty.
“The neighbors of Gomez Carreño benefit from the park the most, as they can come to the place to play sports, rest, relax, have a picnic with friends, visit the lagoon, and more,” wrote Yañez.
“Everyone is responsible for keeping the place clean, and as long as it’s not full of irresponsible people and new housing, the park will continue to exist for much longer,” she wrote.
The park can be entered on Goméz Carreño street – a map of the area can be found here. There are no trail maps, and hikers will need to be prepared to explore the park on their own without assistance. The park is open land and free of charge.