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  Argentina : Destinations : Los Alerces National Park

Los Alerces National Park


Los Alerces National Park

Considered one of the most beautiful parks of Argentina, Los Alerces National Park was established with the purpose to protect the forests of the "alerce" tree (Fitzroya cupressoides), a conifer from the southern region that can survive thousands of years, reaching 70 meters (229 ft) in height and a diameter of 1 to 4 meters (3 to 13 ft). Its longevity is its most shocking characteristic. A typical tree grows at a rate of 1 mm (.1 cm) per year, therefore an alerce with a diameter of 70 cm (27.3 in) would have lived about 700 years.  Within the park, in the Lake Menendez sector, there are trees whose ages vary between 2,500 and 3,500 years old.  

The park, with approx. 263,000 hectares (631,200 acres) of land, is primarily made up of a mountainous-marshy ecosystem with dense, pure forests of lenga, coigüe, and cypress trees. You find the forests of the alerce trees in the extreme western zone of the park, where there is more precipitation.

There are countless lakes and lagoons, cascades, hilly strips of land (las Pirámides chain and Torrecillas hill) and tall glaciers. The main lakes are the Futalaufquén, Menéndez, Rivadavia, Krügger, Verde(Green), Cisne, Stange, Chico(Small) and Amutui Quimei. The latter is a reservoir originating from the channel Futaleufú.  

The Park Headquarters are located on the shores of Lake Futalaufguen. There is a Visitor's Information Center and even a small population of people that has settled in this area. The village is called Villa Futalaufquen, and offers a few basic services to tourists. 

The park boasts some 20 different excursion trails, paths for vehicles and others that are specifically for touring on horseback or mountain bike. These trails allow you to access many other attractions within the park, prehistoric stone paintings, native plants and flowers, Alto El Dedal Hill, Los Pumas, Cinco Saltos (Five Falls), and the Tio Mindo Cascade to name a few. 

However, the most interesting excursion is one that begins at Limonao Port and allows you to view the oldest alerce forests in the park. It includes a voyage that combines navigating through Lake Futalaufquen, Arrayanes river, Lake Verde, and Lake Menendez with a hike through the thousands of alerce trees that are located in the northern branch of the last lake. The tour allows you to appreciate the vegetation that surrounds the lakes and the Torrecilla Hill with its hanging glacier.  

 

Location
Chubut Province,  45 km (28mi) from Esquel.
When to go
Year-round
Attractions
Lake Futalaufquén, Lake Verde, Lake Menéndez, Lake Rivadavia, LakeKrügger, Lake Verde, Lake Cisne, Lake Stange, Lake Chico, Amutui Quimei Reservoir, Torrecillas Hill, Tío Mindo Cascade.
How to get there
From the route that goes to Trevelin from Esquel. After 10 km (6.25 mi), turn right onto Route 258, a somewhat damaged highway, that takes you directly to the park. 
Activities
Trekking, observing flora and fauna, fishing.
Services
Interpretation Center, camping, accommodations.
Surroundings
Lake Rivadavia, Trevelin.

 

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Los Alerces National Park

 

Los Alerces National Park

Los Alerces National Park is found approximately 46 kilometers (29 miles) to the north of Colon. It covers an area of 8,500 hectares (21,000 acres) and was founded in 1966, with the objective of preserving the palm trees of yatay (Syagrus yatay).

These palm trees grow to reach heights of 10 to 20 meters (33-66ft), with leaves up to 2.5 meters (8ft) long, producing a succulent orange fruit, and the trees are said to live an average life of 400-600 years. At one point, the palm trees covered huge areas of land in the province between the rivers in Argentina, along with Uruguay and southern Brasil. Agricultural and livestock needs, however, exploited the land, leading to the gradual destruction of its habitat and thus an alarming decrease of the trees.
The terrain in the park is, for the most part, undulating and sandy, interrupted occasionally by jutting sandstone rocks and streams from the high plains that travel down towards brooks, quietly hidden among the dense vegetation of the forest. This is the continuation of the missionary forest that borders with the Uruguay river, and that at this latitude, does not present much of a risk to the surrounding flora. The most characteristic trees of the area are the laurel, ceibo, ingá, willow, espina corona (thorn of crown), among others.
In another area of the park, close to the administrative center of the park, the species are different.. There, the palm trees give way to ñandubays, coronillos, molles, talas,and locust trees, típica vegetación xerófila.
The wildlife of the park has become very much extinct, comprised of chinchillas, ferrets, capybaras, nutrias, giant river otters, skunks, mountain cats, rattlesnake, tortugas pintada y de río.

There is a Center of Interpretation in the park where they inform visitors about the characteristics of the environment, wildlife, and flora. Close by is also an area for camping. 

Location
Province of Entre Ríos. 50 kilometers to the north of Colón
When to go
All year long
Attractions
Uruguay River, Ruins of Calera Barquín.
How to get there
From Colón, in your car or by bus, head north on route RN 14 towards Concordia.  Desde Colón, en automóvil particular o autobuses, hacia el norte por la ruta RN 14 que lleva a Concordia. From the exit to the entrance of the park is 14 km (8.7 miles). 
Activities
Trekking, observing wildlife and flora.
Services
Center of Interpretation and camping.
Surroundings
Colón, Paysandú, Concordia.

 

 


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