©Istock/stevegeer
©Istock/stevegeer

National Reserve Fray Jorge: a forest in the desert

3 minutes to read

As I have been so far telling you, Chile has a wide range of weather conditions, landscapes, and attractions: all of them are beautiful and definitely unforgettable. Today, I will tell you about an oddly located forest, the Fray Jorge. It is located approximately 49 km away from La Serena, in the middle of the desert. Imagine this: desert everywhere, a lot of cactuses (a few lizards) and suddenly a forest that should normally be found in the south of Chile

Fray Jorge Forest National Park
Fray Jorge Forest National Park
Fray Jorge National Park - Ruta D-540, Coquimbo, Chile

The oddities of the Park

The Fray Jorge Forest is a National Park of Chile; it was created in April 1941. The surface of the park is 8863 hectares. The main goal of the park is to protect the forest of Fray Jorge. Why is it so special, you may ask... It is because it shares characteristics with the woods of Valdivia, so it should be regularly found in the south of Chile and not in the north! 

What is really interesting about the park is that it shows the way the desert was before it became as arid as it is today. How is that possible? Roughly, for this phenomenon, we can thank the "camanchaca," a coastal fog in the north of Chile. It condenses and creates a humid weather that preserves the forest as it is and has been forever. 

©Wikimedia/Pablovasla
©Wikimedia/Pablovasla

Inside the park 

First, it is important to note that the park has a walking trail of 1000 meters - you can walk it through in an hour or so. Also, it is suited for wheelchairs and people with reduced mobility. Inside the park, you can walk from the semi-arid ecosystem to the forest, which is fantastic!! Picture yourself in a desertic landscape. After every step you take, an unlikely forest approaches. The place is wonderful; you will notice it is filled with native flora, I dare you to find a Copihue, a typical and iconic flower of Chile (it is red and looks like a bell). Once you are done walking the trail, you will find a sort of balcony so you can enjoy the endless ocean view and a particular picnic area. Anyway, I will not tell you more so you can enjoy it yourself!

©Wikimedia/Inao Vásquez
©Wikimedia/Inao Vásquez
©Wikimedia/NatalieBecerra
©Wikimedia/NatalieBecerra

Relevant information prior to your visit

Now, some relevant info regarding the park that you should keep in mind before your visit: As said before, the park is wheelchair accessible and suitable for travelers with reduced mobility. Please keep in mind that it is prohibited to camp in the park

The park works from Thursday to Sunday and on holidays: the working hours are from 9.00 to 15.00 while the place closes at 17.30.

The national reserve has different admission fees (depending on your age and if you are a national of Chile or not). Here, I list you the prices for tourists in Chilean pesos: The ticket is free for kids of 11 years old and less. Teenagers pay $4000 (12 to 17 years old) and the entrance fee for every adult is $8.000.

© istock/juanmar01
© istock/juanmar01

As you can see, the National Reserve Fray Jorge is a marvelous place, I could write about it endlessly... but I do not want to spoil the fun! Come to Chile and see it yourself.


The author

Francisca Pizarro

Francisca Pizarro

Hi, I am Francisca. From the north of Chile and south of the world, obsessed with natural landscapes and museums, I will take you through Chile as if you were a local, hoping you fall in love with this country as much as I am.

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