LA CAMPANA NATIONAL PARK PROGRAMME
Valparaiso Region, Chile
La Campana National Park is in the Coastal Range in central Chile only an hour away from Santiago. This park, with a high number of endemic species, harbours one of the most representative populations of flora and fauna of the Mediterranean zone of Chile. La Campana consists of beautiful valleys and foothills with xeric vegetation (e.g. spiny shrubs and scrubs forming the “matorral” plant community), creeks covered with sclerophyllous forest, all mixed with the largest population (around 60,000) of the endemic Chilean Wine Palm, Jubaea chilensis. This palm is famous for it's longevity; several specimens of 500 to 700 years of age has been observed in the park and it is likely that the oldest palms are near a 1000 years old. This 8,000 ha park was declared a national park in 1967 by CONAF and a World Biosphere Reserve in 1985 by UNESCO.
The shrubby and rocky slopes of the park are the habitat of many endemic species such as the elusive Moustached Turca, the superb White-throated Tapaculo, the noisy Chilean Mockingbird, the shy Chilean Tinamou, the rodents Cururo (Spalacopus cyanus) and Degu (Octodon degus), the Chilean Iguana and many other mammals and reptiles. This park also provides habitat for other native bird species such as the Dusky-tailed Canastero, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Tufted Tit-tyrant, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, Variable Hawk, Austral Kestrel, Picui Ground-Dove, Long-tailed Meadowlark, Striped Woodpecker, Chilean Flicker, and mammals like the Southern Red Fox and Southern Grey Fox.
The ravines in the park contain many native trees such as the Canelos (Drimys winteri), Quillay (Quillaja saponaria), Maitén (Maytenus boaria), Boldo (Peumus boldus), Peumo (Cryptocarya alba), Patagua (Crinodendron patagua) as well as the dazzling Chilean Wine Palm.
For the naturalist enthusiasts one of the notable attractions of the park is that it was visited and studied by Charles Darwin during his trip around the world. He described many species and began thinking the ideas that led him to develop the “Theory of Evolution” in the Aconcagua valley and especially in La Campana
This full-day programme includes: private transportation from Santiago, snack, lunch, water and drinks, park entrances fee, and an experienced ornithologist guide. This programme is highly recommended for birdwatching endemic species, observation of reptiles, botanical excursions, photography and as an excellent opportunity to enjoy a family outing. The programme includes 4 hours of trekking.
Daily departures from Santiago are available all year round.
Difficulty: Medium to high, some portions of the trail are slightly steep.