Laguna San Rafael

Located in the Valdivian Forest/Chilean Nothofagus biogeographical region, Laguna San Rafael is an area of very varied topography and great scenic beauty. It includes the Continental Patagonian Range with rivers and lakes, the Insular Patagonian Range, the Central Plain and the Patagonian Glaciers.


Declaration Date: 1979
Surface Area: 1,742,000 ha
Administrative Division: Aysen Region, Provinces of Aysen, Capitan Prat and General Carrera

Human Activities

Tourism: this area is an archipelago with no roads reaching it, however some 20,000 people visit the area annually on large boats.

Ecological Characteristics

This Biosphere Reserve contains high ecosystem diversity.

Of the ten plant formations existing in the Aysen Region, seven are to be found in the Reserve:

  • High mountain deciduous shrubland;
  • Aysen deciduous forest;
  • Puyahuapi Evergreen forest;
  • Baker mixed evergreen forest;
  • evergreencoastal shrubland;
  • Periglacial shrubland;
  • Messier Canalpeat-bogs and swampy evergreen shrubland.

As most of the Reserve is coastal, its relevant characteristics are its many estuaries, mudflats, and coastal and beach lands, in addition to a large area of other wetlands, such as peatbogs, swamps, lakes, lagoons and rivers.

The whole of the North Patagonia Ice Fields is included, covering over 400,000 ha with numerous glacier break-offs, with the well-known San Rafael, the main tourist attraction of the XI Aysen Region and one of the most outstanding glaciers in the country.

Protection Classification

Laguna San Rafael National Park

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