New rules on visits to Cochamo Valley

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Puelo Patagonia Due to high demand, anyone who wants to visit the Cochamó Valley during the high season will have to make reservations in advance using the website www.reservasvallecochamo.org. This same measure applies in other places with high tourist demand like Torres del Paine, and has been in force in Cochamó since January with the aim of improving tourist experiences while protecting the area’s natural resources.

Last year, in order to avoid overburdening the valley and forestall negative impacts of mass tourism, tourism and environmental protection groups in Cochamó, in coordination with the municipality, national police, regional health ministry and SERNATUR, successfully passed the measure limiting access to those who have reserved campsites in advance. The system — called “Reservas de Valle de Cochamó” — establishes a maximum camping capacity as well as a campaign to raise awareness among visitors as to how to care for the valley during their stay.

“With a lot of work over the last year, we succesfully reduced the amount of people camping illegally on state and private grounds, preventing both campfires in unauthorized locations and pollution from garbage and biological waste. Moreover, controlling access to the area supports the valley and city of Cochamó because we are able to promote tourism as a long-term activity that benefits a wider chain. For example, tourists that have to wait until the day of their reservation spend more time in the village of Cochamó supporting business owners who previously only received tourists on their way out,” says Pedro Bakovic, president of the Agrupación de Turismo, Propietarios y Amigos del Valle de Cochamó (Association of Tourism, Business Owners and Friends of Cochamó Valley). 

 

 


The Cochamó Valley, located in the Lakes District and designated as a Zone of National Tourist Interest, is within a Biosphere Reserve. Additionally, its main river was declared the first Water Reserve in our country. Its granite walls, thousand-year-old alerce forests and well-preserved landscapes make it a favorite destination among nature lovers. To access the sector of the valley known as “La Junta,” one must cover 13 kilometers (about 8 miles) by either foot or horseback as there is no vehicle access, a regulation that has permitted the valley’s forests to remain almost intact, drawing thousands of Chileans and people from all over the world to visit this destination year after year.

The measure passed last year has shown positive results and is expected to increase visitor awareness every year. For this reason, the organizers of the measure are calling on tourists to respect the rules established for camping, not to camp without permission and above all to follow the principles of minimal impact in natural places: plan your trip, camp only in authorized places, bring all your garbage back with you, respect the flora and fauna, don’t build fires on unauthorized sites and respect the other visitors.

How to make your reservation?
1. Go to www.reservasvallecochamo.org
2. Choose the campsite you want to reserve, or the service you want to hire.
3. Contact directly the business offering the service or campsite, and wait for their response. 
4. Save your receipt and bring it with you on your trip. With this receipt you will be assured your spot and access to the La Junta sector of the Cochamo Valley. 
 
 
 
 
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