Lauca National Park
Lauca National Park is located in northern Chile, within the Andes and extends on an area of 1379 square kilometers. It was created in 1970.
The area is composed mostly of large volcanoes. One of the biggest attractions of the park is a small lake area, which is formed by Lake Chungara and the lagoons Cotacotani, which are located at the foot of Nevados de Payachata. Majestic volcanoes Guallatiri and Acotango are part of the national park Lauca. The park has many volcanic craters, on the territory is situated the town Parinacota, which is famous for its colonial church, built in the seventeenth century. In the park springs the river Lauca.
The park has many animals and plants. There you can meet llamas, alpacas, guanacos, pumas and tarukas. The park has over one hundred and forty species of birds, for which the park is considered one of the best national parks for birds in Chile. Among the more interesting species are mountain ibis, Andean geese, Patagonian tinamu, crested duck and the Andean condor. Tourists who love to watch birds, often choose a trip to the national park Lauca.
In the national park Lauca are over four hundred species of interesting plants that are adapted to the climate of high mountains.
Tourists visiting the park can go in three separate paths. One trail, named Cotacotani leads to the town and valley Parinacota Lauca. Chungara tour path is short and is preferred by many tourists. It opens a magnificent view of Lake Chungara. Brave tourists climb the path to volcanoes and volcanic craters, for which, however, you must have special permission.
For lovers of campsites, there are places for camping in Chungara, equipped with everything necessary for a good time. Essential for a pleasant stay in the park is good gear - warm clothes, hats, gloves, sunglasses, because the park is cold and windy. Nighttime temperatures can drop to minus twenty degrees. It is advisable to visit the park from September to December when the weather is nice. Between March and May, a visit is also recommended.
The park has volcanoes that rise to six thousand meters altitude. These are the volcanoes Pomerape and Parinakota. Parinakota volcano is a challenge for well-trained climbers. For fans of rock climbing, there are peaks that rise more than six thousand meters high.
Lauca National Park was declared a world biosphere reserve. At Lake Chungara, which is considered the highest located navigable lake in the world, you can see wild and domesticated American camels. Around the lake you can see flocks of flamingos.
Before visiting the park, you should spend at least several hours in the nearby town Putre, to get used to the altitude. Before entering the city, tourists see a sign that informs them that they are coming into magnetic zone. The town has a hotel and a few inns. The nearest town, Socoroma, keeps treasures inherited from ancient travel between Arica and Potosi. Many fossils there date back more than seven millennia.