Lauca Overview

Lauca National Park, located in the extreme north of Chile in the Arica and Parinacota Region, stands as a testament to the breathtaking beauty and diversity of the Andean highlands. Established in 1965, the park spans an impressive area of approximately 1,379 square kilometers (about 532 square miles), featuring a landscape of extraordinary contrasts that range from towering volcanoes and expansive salt flats to serene lagoons and lush wetlands. Situated at altitudes exceeding 4,200 meters (about 13,780 feet) above sea level, Lauca is part of the Andean altiplano, offering visitors spectacular panoramic views and a unique glimpse into the high-altitude ecosystems of the Andes.

The park is renowned for its stunning natural features, including the emblematic Parinacota and Pomerape volcanoes, which dominate the landscape with their perfectly conical shapes and snow-capped peaks. Another highlight is Lake Chungará, one of the world’s highest lakes, known for its crystal-clear waters and the stunning reflections of the surrounding volcanoes. The park’s diverse habitats support an abundant array of wildlife, including vicuñas, llamas, alpacas, and a variety of bird species such as flamingos, which grace the park’s many wetlands and lakes.

Lauca National Park is not only a haven for biodiversity but also a place of significant cultural importance, with several pre-Columbian archaeological sites and indigenous Aymara communities that maintain their traditional way of life within and around the park. The park’s vast landscapes and the rich cultural heritage of its inhabitants offer an unparalleled opportunity for visitors to explore both the natural wonders and the ancient cultures of the Andean highlands.

For outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, Lauca National Park offers a variety of activities, including hiking, bird watching, and photography, providing an immersive experience in one of Chile’s most stunning and remote natural areas. Its designation as part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve “Lauca Biosphere Reserve” underscores its global importance for conservation and sustainable development.

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Park Map
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Lauca National Park Pictures