Parque Nacional Huerquehue
Fast becoming one of the region’s most popular parks, thanks partly to its proximity to Pucón, Parque Nacional Huerquehue comprises 12,500 hectares of scenic Andean precordillera with alpine lakes, rushing rivers, and waterfalls set among dense native forest. It also has a small but accessible network of hiking trails, another part of the reason for its popularity.
Accommodations and Food
On Lago Tinquilco’s eastern shore, near the park gate, Conaf’s 18-campsite Camping Tinquilco (US$17 per site) can accommodate up to five persons on each of its wooded sites.
Just beyond the park entrance, near the Lago Verde trailhead, the rustically chic Canadian-Chilean Refugio Tinquilco (tel. 099/5392728; tel. 02/7777673 in Santiago, www.tinquilco.cl) charges US$13 for hostel-type bunks (with a US$2 surcharge for sheets, if necessary); it also has rooms with king-size beds (US$37 d with shared bath, US$46 d with private bath). Set on densely wooded grounds, it has its own private beach and offers fixed-price breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to guests or nonguests; more elaborate multicourse dinners include aperitifs and wine.
En route to the park, on quiet grounds west of the Pucón–Lago Caburgua road from a turnoff at kilometer 18 (follow the signs), the three-room, German-run Landhaus San Sebastián (tel. 045/352360 or 099/4431786, US$27 pp) can be an ideal escape from Pucón’s hyperactivity. In addition to accommodations, it has a restaurant that serves exquisite onces and desserts.
At the Lago Tinquilco entrance, Conaf’s Centro de Educación e Intepretación Ambiental is open 10 a.m.–8 p.m. daily in summer. Rangers at the park gate collect a US$4 admission fee (US$1 for children). Refugio Tinquilco is also a good source of information for hiking alternatives beyond the main Lago Verde route.
Thanks to increasing demand, Buses Jac now offers summer service from Pucón to Huerquehue (US$3) four times daily; the rest of the year, though, it’s just twice daily. Most Pucón travel agencies also offer Huerquehue excursions.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition