Natural Reserves of Valparaiso Region

In Valparaiso Region there are several urban areas, and the population there grows every day. The industrial and economic growth affects the green areas in the region, by reducing them. There are some ecological places that are still kept.

The most important natural places in Valparaiso Region are: National Botanical Garden of Viña del Mar, National Reserve "Lago Peñuelas" and National Park "La Campana".

The National Botanical Garden

This place is also known as "Parque Metropolitano Jardin Botanico Nacional de Viña del Mar". This Park is located in Viña del Mar, in the road "El Olivar" without number. In 1917, this place was bought by the Yugoslav businessman Pascual Baburizza. This area was used for agricultural production, but later, in 1951 the land was transferred to the Chilean Government. After this, the Government, declared this land a Centre for Experimentation and for the National Botanical Garden. Nowadays, the Park is administered and managed by (CONAF) the National Forest Corporation.

The foundation National Botanical Garden of Viña del Mar was created in 1993. The main tasks of this entity are: to handle, administer and develop the Park.

This Park has 396 hectares, with over 3.000 native and exotic plants, also contains a remarkably collection of native Chilean cacti.

Some birds in the Park are: "Chincol, Codorniz, Picaflor Gigante, Torcaza, Chercan, Garza Chica, Yeco, Tucuquere, Pato Jergon Grande" among others.


Peñuelas Lake

Peñuelas Lake was created as a reservoir to satisfy water needs to the cities of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. This artificial lake, a project of Federico Errázuriz, was built between 1885 and 1900. This is an especial area of great natural value, with ecological, scientific, educational, cultural and recreational function. It was declared a Reserve of the Biosphere by UNESCO.

This Natural Reserve has 9.260 hectares, and is located about 25 minutes from Valparaiso, on the road to Santiago city (Ruta 68). The principal plants formation consists of trees and bushes. Among trees can be found "Quillay, Litre, Molle and Trevo" and among bushes "Romero, Zarzamora and Algarrobo".

Animals in the zone are foxes "Chilla" and foxes "Culpeo", "Coipo", "Chinchilla" rats, wildcats, rabbits and hares. Some birds are "Garza", "Perdiz", "Jergon" small and big duck, "Aguila pescadora, Cernicalo, Picaflor gigante and Diuca", also black neck swans.


National Park La Campana

National Park La Campana is located in the Coast Mountain Range, south of Aconcagua Valley, inside the Counties of Olmue and Hijuelas in Valparaiso Region.

This Park was created in 1967. It has an extension of 8.000 hectares of wonderfully diverse mountain environments. La Campana Park was declared Biosphere Reserve. The climate in this area is Mediterranean, with rainy winters and long, hot and dry summers.

The highest hill in this area is El Roble with 2.222 metres above the sea level. This is an area of native woodland with great Ecological Biodiversity. Here you can find excellent opportunities for biking, hiking, rock climbing and bird watching. Nowadays, Archeological remains have been found in this area.

Ocoa sector has the last remaining stands of the endemic Chilean Palm "Palma Chilena".

The hills La Campana and El Roble has trees called robles, this is the typical specie from the south of the country.

La Campana hill with 1.900 m above the sea level. From the top of this you can have an extensive view. This hill was climbed by Charles Darwin, in 1834.This is one of the most climbed hills in Chile

Some of the mammals in this Park are "Chilla" foxes, "Culpeo" foxes, wildcats and "Chingues". Also you can see "Chinchillas" and "Cururos". The birds are "Picaflor gigante, Diuca, Tenca", Eagle and Owl.

National Park La Campana is open all year, between September to April from 9:00 to 19:00 hours, and May to August from 9:00 to 18:00 hours.

The Park was divided into three sectors, each with its own entrance. They are connected by paths that converge in the centre of the Park. The sectors are: "Granizo, Cajón Grande and Ocoa". In all the sectors you can find tables (for a picnic), toilets, showers and campsites.

"Granizo" Sector

The access is via Olmue by route 60 (Ruta 60 Troncal Sur o Lo Orozco), at the eastern end of a narrow valley. Other ways are by the Pan-American route (Ruta 5 Norte) or by "Cuesta La Dormida".

This area is the only one that has access to the top of "La Campana” hill, across "Andinista” path it has 7 kilometres of extension, from which you can appreciate a beautiful landscape, like Olmue Valley, the Andes Mountain Range and also the Pacific Ocean.

There is other path called "Los Peumos- Portezuelo Ocoa” with 5.5 kilometres of extension. This connects the three sectors of the Park.

"Cajón Grande” Sector

The access to this area is the same of "Granizo” Area, by Olmue, but in "Granizo” Avenue, in the 40 Stop (Paradero 40) turn to the right.

Here the most remarkable attraction are the naturals swimming pools, known as "pozones”, the best is "La Poza del Coipo”.

There are two paths in this area: "Plateaux” of 4.2 kilometres and "Portezuelo Ocoa” of 4.4 kilometres.

"Palmas de Ocoa" Sector

The northern sector of the Park is Ocoa. The access to this area is by the Pan-American route (Ruta 5 Norte) kilometre 98 following Ocoa town..

The especial characteristic of this place is the amount of the endemic Chilean palm "Palma Chilena”, there are 62.000 of these trees in the Park.

In this sector, there are two paths, "La Cascada” with 6 kilometres of extension. The principal attraction here is the Waterfall of 30 metres of high. The other path is "Al Amasijo” which one connects with the town of Olmue and also with the other two sectors in the Park.



This region has a Mediterranean climate, some characteristics are, 5 to 7 dry months, main precipitations in winter, between 300 and 700 mm. This Region presents different landscapes due to fact that solar radiation is different in the hillsides and valleys.


The main region's vegetation formations are forest and bushes with hard and thick leaves, small, and resistant to long periods of drought.

In the north hillsides main trees are "Cactus, Puyas and Colliguay" and bushes are "Espino, Trevo and Guayacán". On the other hand, in the south hillsides vegetation includes trees and bushes with hard and everlasting leaves. Some of the main trees are "Boldo, Peumo, Litre and Quillay".

One of the most important kinds of tree in Valparaiso Region is the Chilean Palm "Palma Chilena", this is a kind of palm endemic from Chile.


Animals in this region are: Lizards, Iguanas and Snakes and several types of birds like "Perdiz, Turca, Tenca, Loica, Chirihue and Picaflor gigante". Also some Eagles are seen like "Tucuquere, Chuncho and Peuco".

Some mammals are: Foxes, "Colocolo" cats, "Quiques" and "Chingues". Wet areas have many species of amphibians, birds and ducks, but the most important is black neck swan

In the coastal zone there are sea otters "Chungungo" and seals "Lobo de Mar".