Central Chile reaches from Santiago to the river Bio Bio in the south.
Here the northern arid environment leaves place to the southern rainforests in a relatively short span.
The rainfall in Santiago amounts to 230 mm while in Talca it’s already 700 mm per year, this is a difference of more than twice the amount and that, within a distance of only 250 km.The resulting biodiversity offers an immense number of trip options for the friends of vegetation. palm forests and the sclerophyll plant in the northern part and, especially, the mixed forest along the Andes south of Rancagua, shouldn’t be missed. Especially in autumn, it’s worthwhile to make a tour through the colourful south beech forests.
A wide valley separates the cordillera of the coast, in the west, from the cordillera of Los Andes which is located in the east. This is referred to as the longitudinal valley and is the granary of the country, its fruit plantations and wine-growing districts are an important economical center for the country. Unfortunately, the original autoctone flora is hardly existent anymore.
Most of the vegetation of the western coast cordillera has been replaced mainly by pine and eucalyptys plantations. Only in a a few protected areas ( e.g. Natural Reserves Yali, Ruiles, Queules, Campana) you can still find relics of the plant opulence of past times. Wide areas are covered with the fast growing Aromo (Acacia caven), a feast for the eye in spring due to its yellow blossoms; Litre (Lithraea caustica) and similar trees (Mutisia subulata) protect themselves in a special way under their shade. They cause strong allergies and that’s why they are avoided by everybody. Along the coast survive many domestic species (Griselinia scandens, Francoa appendiculata, Lobelia tupa, Neoporteria subgibosa) protected by inaccessible cliffs.
In the west of the Andes there is a narrow belt of domestic mixed forest (e.g. Nothofagus glauca, Nothofagus obligua, Gevuina avellana, Austrocedrus chilensis). Until december it’s an incredible experience to undertake hiking tours in this area due to its diversity of blooms. From december on, there is a variety of flowers (e.g. Calceolaria corybosa, Mimulus luteus, Schizanthus tricolor, Sisyrinchium striatum) along the hiking paths above the forests line. In the east of the Andes, towards Argentina, spreads out a fascinating, but desert-like area of volcanic rocks. Here survive only a few well-adapted species, especially along the mountain streams and in larger valleys.
Travel destinations in Central Chile:
P. N. Morado, S. N. Yerba Loca, R. N. Altos del Lircay, R. N. Los Ruiles, Constitucion, P. N. Laguna de Laja