Patagonia and Altiplano Expedition | #7 – Huilo Huilo

From Coñaripe we continued our trip to the Reserva Biológica Huilo Huilo. We had planned to stay there for 3 days. But we liked it so much that we changed our plans and decided to spend more than a week there.

Huilo Huilo is a privately protected area located next to the small village of Neltume. In the reserve, you can find some beautifully designed luxury hotels. But since they are extremely expensive we stayed instead in the nice Treca Rupan Lodge in Neltume. The people there are very friendly and helpful and the rooms have everything you need for a comfortable stay. It’s still not cheap with around 90€ for three people per night, but it’s a fraction of the cost of the hotels in the reserve.

The road to the reserve ends in Puerto Fuy, a small village at the Lago Pirihueico.

From there you could take a ferry to the other end of the lake and then continue to San Martin de los Andes in Argentina. Since we still don’t have all the necessary papers for our car this was no option for us.

All buildings in the Huilo Huilo Reserve are creatively designed and fit well in the environment.

At Bosque de Los Ciervos there is a large enclosure with deer and boars.

And outside of any enclosures, you can find bamboo-eating cows. A somewhat unusual sight, at least for us.

Some people don’t like Huilo Huilo because they feel everything is a bit posh and indeed most of the customers a rather well-heeled and don’t mind spending a few thousand dollars in the lovely hotels inside the reserve. But this should not discourage anybody from a visit. The forests are some of the most beautiful in Chile and there are countless lovely hiking trails.

Especially on the longer ones you are pretty much alone since most tourists just do the short walks to the well-known highlights. And visiting the park is not very expensive. You can get a ticket for 15€ which gives you access to all trails for 5 days.

A funny experience was that there are many street dogs that love to join you on a walk, even for many hours. Contrary to some other street dogs in Chile they were all extremely friendly and calm. For two full days, we were accompanied by this black dog on our hikes (we called her Mia).

The rainforest along the rivers is extremely beautiful in Huilo Huilo.

One of the most interesting trails in Huilo Huilo was the Sendero Truful. It leads to the Rio Truful and the Salto del Peuquito and is a bit longer than the other trails. I haven’t seen any other person on this trail the whole day.

Another lovely hike where you are pretty much alone is the Sendero Rudolfo Hoffmann along the Rio Fuy. It ends in Puerto Fuy.

On the Sendero Cuevas Vulcanicas you could walk behind a waterfall (although with the high water flow we had during our visit in wintertime you would get very wet).

Since our Spanish is still very limited we often have to rely on translation apps. This can sometimes lead to funny situations (ask your German friends about the meaning of the translation).

There are many smaller waterfalls in the reserve like the already mentioned ones and the Salto La Leona and Salto Espiritus.

And two big and famous ones: the Salto del Puma and the Salto Huilo Huilo. The Salto del Puma can be reached via a short trail starting at the Portal with the same name.

The Salto Huilo Huilo can be visited from both sides, although the north side is not in the Huilo Huilo Reserve but belongs to the Parque Neltume. This means you have to pay a separate entrance fee, but it’s worth it.

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