Sights and Recreation
Chanquín is the base for visiting Sector Anay, the park’s most accessible and popular area, which has several hiking trails of varying length. Because of the damp climate, wool socks and water-resistant boots are advisable for hikers.
From Conaf’s Centro de Visitantes at Chanquín, just across the river from the village of Cucao, the Sendero Dunas de Cucao winds through vestigial forest and traverses a broad dunefield to arrive at a long white sandy beach, 1.4 kilometers to the west. Violent surf, treacherous currents, and frigid Pacific waters make the beach unsuitable for swimming, so the scenery is the main attraction.
Near Conaf’s Chanquín campground, winding through boggy, slippery terrain, the 750-meter Sendero Interpretivo El Tepual makes as many twists and turns as the trunks of the tepu trees over which it passes.
North of Cucao, the road continues eight kilometers past Lago Huelde to the Río Chanquil; from there, it’s necessary to walk to the Río Cole Cole, which has a 10-site campground administered by the community of Huentemó. Eight kilometers beyond Cole Cole, Conaf has a new refugio on the north bank of the Río Anay, but getting there is a problem until there’s a new boat to shuttle hikers across the river.
For nonhikers, inexpensive rental horses are available at Chanquín, but they’re not suitable for forest trails such as El Tepual, and because many of them are untrained for amateur riders, there have been accidents.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition