Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve is a one of the most interesting ecotourism projects in the world. Located in southern Chile, this natural reserve also features the scenic Magic Mountain Hotel.
Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve: a hidden gem
Tourism and nature conservation do not necessarily go hand in hand. We are seeing an increasing number of initiatives for responsible and sustainable tourism as well as events to highlight them.
The Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award, an international prize organized as part of the World Tourism Fair in London, is awarded every year to the best sustainable tourism destination. In 2012, out of the 1600 candidates up fot the prize, the winner was the Huilo Huilo nature reserve in Chile.
Located in the heart of the Patagonian forest, in the region of Los Ríos north-east of the Mocho-Choshuenco volcano, the reserve is immersed offers an insight into the unique eco-system of the area. It is surrounded by rainforests of extraordinary biological biodiversity that, among other things, contain the largest variety of fern tree species world wide. The resort can be accessed by the road that connects Panguipulli with San Martin de los Andes, Argentina.
At Huilo Huilo, the primary objective is to preserve 100,000 acres of forest that are destined for industrial logging. The initiative also helps to protect various species native to the region, such as the “huemul”, a deer species, which is threatened with extinction. By identifying the animal and plant species in the reserve, biologists have discovered three new varieties of ferns.
More importantly, the project involves the local communities in tourism development. The various tourism projects developed within the reserve have led to the restructuring of 70% of jobs in local communities. In is in the best interests of the local population, therefore, to promote tourism. As a consequence some other remarkable hotels have also sprung up in the regions, such as the Montaña Mágica Lodge, also known as Magic Mountain and the Nothofagus Hotel & Spa.
As shown in this example, tourism, far from leading to a systematic environmental degradation, may instead contribute to its protection.
Huilo Huilo’s Magic Mountain Hotel
If you loved the magical atmosphere of the Lord of the Ring saga, then you will be instantly attracted to this delightful Hobbit-like hotel.
The Magic Mountain Hotel is located inside Huilo Huilo: a protected natural reserve within the Valdivian Ecoregion in the Patagonian-Chilean Andes, where one of the last (and second biggest) seven temperate moist forests left in our planet is to be found.
The rugged, mountainous landscape is characterised by numerous springs, waterfalls and rivers coming from nearby glaciers, and the diversity of species found in the millenarian forest are unique to this part of the world.
The hotel itself with its mountain looking shape, green moss cover, round windows and very own waterfall springing from the top, blends in amazingly with the landscape and has been built using local craftmanship to promote the community integration in the natural park, through the generation of job opportunities.
Who wouldn’t love to stay in such an amazing place at night and explore the surrounding idyllic, nearly primitive, corner of our planet? Enjoy one more fine image of this true gem.
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