It was soon time to leave Isla Chiloé because we had an appointment at Ford in Puerto Montt for the 10,000 km service of our car in three days. But as a last stop on the island, we planned to visit the Parque Tantauco. It has a size of 1,180 km2, was founded in 2005 by the former president of Chile Sebastián Piñera, and is located in the south of the island near Quellón
Since you can’t find much information about this place on the internet or in guidebooks our expectations weren’t too high. Boy, were we wrong!
To reach the Lago Chaiguata Sector of the Parque you must drive on a 38 km long gravel track.
This track is very rough and has some steep sections with corrugations and big holes. Some of the holes are large enough to completely destroy your car if you would hit them. But luckily you can easily drive around them.
You definitely need high ground clearance and a 4×4 to get there. And it takes a lot of time. For the 38 km, we needed about 2 hours.
The landscape along the track is already very beautiful.
About halfway you reach the Sector Yaldad of the Parque Tantauco, where a couple of nice trails start. But if you have enough time and the right vehicle you should definitely continue the remaining 20 km to the Sector Chaiguata.
At this station, a couple of trails start, including some multi-day hiking trails across the whole Parque. Of the shorter trails, the Sendero Bosque Hundido is clearly my favorite.
The last section of the trail leads through some of the most spectacular rainforests I’ve ever seen in my life (and believe me, I’ve seen a lot).
If you want to stay the night in the park (which definitely makes sense) you have the choice between a campground and renting some tent-like domos. We rented a domo for one night.
It has a comfortable bed, an electric heater, and a private bathroom. You just have to know, that the bathroom is 50 m away from the domo and the electricity is switched off during the night, which also means no heater during the night. We used our own warm sleeping bags and had, therefore, no problems despite the low temperatures of about 5°C during the night.
Besides the extremely beautiful forest, the wildlife was another highlight of the Tantauco Parque. In my previous trips to Patagonia, I’ve sadly never seen a pudu (the smallest deer in the world). In Tantauco we saw during the two days 9 different pudus.
It was even possible to get very close to the pudus. The above images were all shot with a 35mm wide-angle lens.
Sometimes they were so curious that it wasn’t even clear who observes whom.
The following pudu images were all shot by Linnéa.
Altogether the Parque Tantauco is in my opinion very underrated and definitely worth a visit. It is now one of my favorite places in Chile.