Torres del Paine National Park

Pali Aike National Park, Chile

Pali Aike Cave
Parque Nacional Pali Aike is located in the community of San Gregorio, 200 km. NE of Punta Arenas, along the CH 255 road that leads to the Monte Aymond border crossing. Created in 1970, the park is managed by CONAF, Chile's National Forest Corporation. Little known and promoted so far, Pali Aike is a good option when visiting Southern Patagonia, since its tourist attractions are outstanding.

The park covers an area of volcanic fields that were very active during the Pleistocene and early Holocene epochs; the bizarre landscape is characterized by sparse vegetation, volcanic cones and valleys surrounded by ancient lava formations that dominate the place. For this reason, the native Tehuelches, or Aonikenk as they called themselves, called the area "Desolate Place of the Evil Spirits" because of the fear they felt for the strange surroundings.

Attractions in Pali Aike National Park    

   Pali Aike is known for its significance to various fields of scientific research, attracting experts from Chile and abroad, including archaeologists and vulcanologists. This location serves as a valuable site for conducting studies and investigations in these disciplines. In addition, it is an ideal place for lovers of hiking and outdoor activities in general.
Fauna: the Guanaco, as throughout Patagonia, is the largest group of mammals within the Park and although far from being in danger of extinction, there are regulations that protect their survival.  Other species of the Park are the Pumas, Armadillos, Gray Foxes, Chingues (Patagonian Skunks) and Bats. Among the birds are the Rheas, Queltehues (Southern Lapwing), Flamingos, Bandurrias (Buff-Necked Ibis), Swans, "Patos Jergones" (Yellow-Billed Pintail) and occasionally small reptiles such as the Magellanic Lizard (Liolaemus Magellanicus).

Flora: The park is located in the driest area of the Magellanic steppe, and the majority of its surface is covered by vast spillings of basaltic lava, determining the presence of semi-desert vegetation. The park includes native flora and fauna, with some species being exclusive to the region, not being found anywhere else in the world.

There is a network of trails of medium difficulty generally in good conditions among which can be mentioned the Sendero Crater Morada del Diablo and the Sendero Etnocultural which leads to the Pali Aike Cave, an archaeological site discovered at the beginning of the 1930s and declared a Historic Monument in 1969. In this place were found vestiges of human occupation dating from approximately 8,600 years ago. Other trekking circuits in Pali Aike are the Sendero Laguna Ana, of 900 mts., special place for Birdwatching of this part of Patagonia such as the the Flamingos and "Chorlitos" (Plovers) and some species of mammals  and finally the Sendero Pozos del Diablo, of 2000 mts. 

In addition to the aforementioned Pali Aike Cave, and  near the entrance to the Park, visitors will find the Fell Cavern, a rock shelter discovered and studied by the American archaeologist Junius Bird. Paintings dating back more than 11,000 years have been found at the site, in what was possibly the oldest human settlement in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.

"Ambassador" Tea Clipper, launched in 1869.
Skeleton of the "Ambassador" Clipper, launched in 1869
On the way to the park, 124 km north of Punta Arenas, you can visit the now practically abandoned Estancia San Gregorio, the first sheep ranch in the Magallanes region, founded in 1876, until the 1950s San Gregorio lived years of great prosperity. 

On the beach you can see the rusty remains of old ships, one of them is the steamboat "Amadeo", which ran aground in 1932 and belonged to the once powerful Menendez-Behety Company, which was very important in the development of the Chilean-Argentinean Patagonia. A few meters away is the tea clipper "Ambassador", built in London and launched in 1869. Today reduced to a skeleton, this sailing ship, together with its similar, the "Cutty Sark", exhibited as a museum in Greenwich, England, represents one of the last clippers of the "Tea Race". 

Access to the Park,  facilities

Pali Aike can be reached from Punta Arenas by International Route 255, only the last few kilometers are on a gravel road. The opening hours for tours and visitors in general is from 8:30 to 19:00 every day during the high season. There are picnic areas with benches and tables that can be used as a shelter, although you cannot cook since it is forbidden to make a fire. There are several tours to the Parque Nacional Pali Aike available from the tourist agencies located in Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales, some of them:


Contact Information

Oficcial Website Here
Landline: (56) 61 2360489
Address: 0309 Bulnes Ave., Punta Arenas
(56) 61 2238554 ext. 200