As you travel along the road between Caleta Tortel and Puerto Yungay, watch for a small sign marking the Caiquenes Lagoons Nature Reserve, an 8,000 hectare conservation area with stunning landscapes and unique biodiversity. From the area’s observation tower you’ll have a panoramic view of the lagoons and surrounding peat bogs, wetland reeds, and an expansive forest of coigüe and ñirre that climbs up the rocky peaks. The habitats host approximately 23 species of birds and a healthy huemul population, so you’ll want your binoculars and camera ready.
The marshy conditions, mix of wetland plants, and abundant forest streams that surround the three connected lagoons are ideal for amphibian life.
At least four uncommon species can be found here; the Puerto Edén frog (bufo variegatus), the southern patted frog (alsodes australis), the white lagoon creeper (atelognathus antartantica), and the speckled frog (batrachyla antartandica). They are not easy to spot, and surprisingly, the strategic position is right next to the road, in the ditches and drainages. If you see them, avoid touching them. Listening is another fun way to observe the amphibians. If you visit at night, it is very easy: just park, turn off the engine, and walk along the road. You will hear a variety of interesting songs and sounds.
The Bosque Encantado, (Enchanted Forest) Sector of the reserve contains a very fragile forest that is home for diverse varieties of fungi, lichens and moss. You’ll especially want to help conserve these important plants, as they absorb tremendous amounts of carbon, helping to offset the impacts of travel and other human energy use. There are more than 75 species in total, and more than 30 are endemic of Southern Chile. To see some, you can explore the area between the road and the north end of the lake, maintaining care not to damage the vegetation. The use of magnifying glasses in this forest provides a gateway into another world filled with interesting shapes and colors that are very difficult to see without the glass’s help.
To find out more details about the biodiversity and habitat of the Caiquenes Lagoons Area, we recommend that you visit the reserve with a guide. You can request information about the guides and scientists working in the conservation area by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.