In the Valdivian Coastal Reserve, one of the jewels of the Valdivian temperante rainforest, it is still possible to find unexplored places and run into inaccessible areas.
We are talking about a very special and strategic place within the Valdivian Rainforest Ecoregion, The naturalist’s paradise! Here you will find endless unspoiled beaches, ancient native forest, milennial larches, five rivers with minimal intervention for artisanal fishing and shellfishing, the coastal mountain range, lagoons, dunes and an exuberant diversity of plants and animals.
All in one!
And all this, thanks, on the one hand, to the natives of the place, who, after going through an uncertain situation, knew how to organize themselves and claim their property rights, obtaining the award of approximately 700 hectares of land and on the other, to the US conservation NGO The Nature Conservancy. This foundation acquired in 2003 a farm of 60,000 hectares with the aim of preserving the biome and its endemic species and at the same time promoting economic development compatible with the conservation of this magical corner of the Valdivian Forest.
After donating approximately 10,000 hectares to the Government of Chile to create the Alerce Costero National Park with which it borders, the reserve now manages a protected area of 50,000 hectares. Both natural areas account a protected area of about 75,000 hectares.
The Valdivian Coastal Reserve counts, among one of its achievements, having been the first Chilean forest carbon project with CCB verification (Climate, Community & Biodiversity).
In addition, it contributes to preserving the archaeological legacy of the aboriginal peoples of these lands, inhabited by humans for thousands of years. Ceramic remains have been found on one of the beaches, Colún, where there is also a cave, Las Vulvas, with traces of rock inscriptions.
To get an idea of what the presence of the Valdivian Coastal Reserve – The Nature Conservancy – has meant to the area, suffice it to say that the acquisition was made at public auction to a bankrupt forestry company. This company and others before it had been destroying ancient native forest and replacing it with thousands of hectares of eucalyptus during the 1980s and 1990s. That, after having previously finished with a large part of the ancient larches in the area. Some of which where thounsands of yerars old.
A bleak future for those of us who love nature. As if that were not enough, to the total reforestation with eucalyptus and the practically absolute extinction of all native biodiversity, one of the richest on the planet, were added projects that thanks to The Nature Conservancy and the efforts of the people from all over country managed to be stopped due to its enormous environmental impact. A good example is the construction of a large highway along the coastline, the execution of which had already begun and was brought to a standstill.
Another of The Nature Conservancy’s primary goals is to work with local people to implement projects that ensure their livelihoods and the conservation of the biome. Above all, supporting responsible artisanal fishing, the creation of marine protected areas and sustainable tourism. But in any case, also very clearly facilitating other traditional activities in the area such as controlled cattle ranching, an activity that would have been practically unthinkable had the farm continued in the hands of private foresters.
In the Valdivian Coastal Reserve area we can also find a respectable gastronomic offer. La Chalito restaurant, in the heart of Chaihuín, you can enjoy fresh fish such as sea bass, pejerey or swordfish, but above all, some superbly well-made seafood empanadas.
In front of the terrace of the La Chalito restaurant, the project for the new Chaihuin fishermen’s cove is almost totally builded. A port for approximately 80 local artisanal fishermen and their families, in which more than 3 million dollars have been invested and in whose facilities there are kiosks where you can find a wide variety of freshly caught fish and seafood.
In addition, there are some particular initiatives that have borne fruit in quality craft ventures. In the area you can buy sweaters, blankets and ponchos made of pure sheep wool, handcrafted furniture, decoration items and rowboats made on native wood, aprons, bows, leggings and other hand made leather items. Also berries, rosehips and blackberry jams … Tortillas, beef, cow and sheep cheese, natural honey, artisan licors …
As the most outstanding residents of the biodiversity of the Valdivian Forest Ecoregion present in the Reserve we have the Chilean lion (Cougar), the pudú, the little monkey of the mountains, the huiña (wild cat), the huillin, the Magellanic woodpecker, the sea lions, the chungungo, the sea elephant and many other threatened and endangered species such as Darwin’s exotic little frog.
Within this great biome, the coastal Olivillo forest, an endemic tree whose ecosystem houses the greatest biodiversity in the Ecoregion, deserves special attention.
For all the aforementioned, today and with its mistakes and successes, all of us who love nature should congratulate ourselves on the wins achieved by one of the largest private conservation initiatives in the country.
And, of course, we must be very happy to continue enjoying this miracle of nature and live with all the wonderful beings that inhabit only and exclusively in this place.
To conclude, we believe it is worth mentioning that the area in which the Reserve is located was for centuries a geostrategic military enclave. The old Spanish defensive forts of Niebla and Corral are still standing, can be visited and have guides who carry out historical re-enactments of what happened in those episodes of the past.
These are some of the excursions that can be comfortably done from Valdivia in one day:
Visit the waterfall of Pelche beach and its dunes
We offer you our experience the Valdivian Coastal Reserve premium tour.
If you have more than one day you can enjoy other more distant places such as Colún beach, the twin lagoons, Hueicolla beach … And many other hidden and wonderful places whose location and access possibilities only the natives know well.
We offer you these experiences:
Valdivian temperante rainforest 360º – 3 nights / 4 days Vacation package – The best experience for experienced adventurers. Ancient forest baths, hiking, kayaking, native gastronomy, free meditation …
Excursions from Villa Los Nativos Choose your experience in your preferred ecosystem!