While some of the most famous temperate rainforests are in Alaska, New Zealand, or Northern Europe, the world’s southernmost jungle of this kind is located in Chile and goes by the name Selva Valdiviana (or Valdivian Temperate Forest). This ecoregion is in the southwest region of Chile and it is characterized by a rainy weather and evergreen forests that are home to unique fauna and flora, like the ancient araucarias (monkey puzzle trees) and alerces.
The Selva Valdiviana is a biodiversity refuge that was isolated for millions of years, becoming today one the closest ways to see how dinosaurs used to live. The main difference between the tropical jungles and this Chilean rainforest, is that the latter grows in cold climates with very harsh winters, making it a natural world heritage.
Valdivian Temperate Forest
If you want to witness this stunning scenery, these are some destinations you can visit to enjoy the rainforest at the end of the world:
- Valdivia: The Selva Valdiviana gets its name because of the city of Valdivia in the south of Chile, meaning “Valdivian Jungle”. Besides the great beer you can try in the different breweries of the zone, Valdivia is a perfect place to enjoy the adventure through trekking paths, biking trails, and scenic views in the rainforests next to it. Surrounded by rivers and turrets, is the world’s oldest city at those southerly latitudes.
- Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve: This unique ecotourism project is worldwide famous because of its beautiful accommodations in the middle of the Selva Valdiviana: a giant treehouse and a hotel that looks like a mountain. Get filled with the nature of Huilo Huilo while you enjoy its magnificent waterfalls, the longest zip line system in South America, or the year-round skiing. If you are lucky you may see a pudú, the world’s smallest deer.
- Villarrica National Park: After all that climbing, trekking, and biking that you can do, relaxing in one of the world’s largest natural pool complex sounds like the best plan to end the day. A red maze in the middle of a steamy rainforest leads your way to the 17 hot springs that Termas Geometricas have to offer. These thermal waters are located in Villarrica National Park, a 240 square miles temperate rainforest at the end of the world. Perfect for nature lovers!
- Mocha Island: Isolated from mainland, Mocha Island is remarkable not only for the beauty of its landscape mix of beaches and temperate rainforests, but for the legends around it. Some stories say that Herman Melville based his famous novel “Moby Dick” on a whale that used to live near this island, and for the Mapuche culture it is the place where the souls of the dead como to rest. An unpredictable weather allows the visitor to enjoy sunny days in the north of the island while is heavy raining on the other half, enhancing the mystical personality of this 30 square miles destination. Also, because of some natural pipes of gas in the seashore, you can “encender el mar” by lighting a fire on the water!