Lauca Nat Park info
Nov 21, 2012 5:31 PM
Lauca Nat Park infoSpent a few days in Lauca Nat Park the other week, following may be helpful for anyone planning to visit independently:
Transport: Main public transport access to the Park itself are the daily Arica - La Paz buses, which can drop you at Lake Chungara next to the CONAF wardens hut or the turning to Parinacota village (about 4km off main road, you could probably hitch this if you dont fancy walking, road construction workers are currently going there for lunch in hostel mentioned below). There are daily buses from Arica to Putre outside the Park and apparently one bus a week to Parinacota village.
-Alojamiento Uta Kala de Don Leo in Parinacota village. Pretty much first building you come to as you enter village (which is tiny) and impossible to miss. Nice, friendly hostel with plenty of beds, mostly bunks, shared bathrooms. Cost CLP10,000 (just over US$20) per person, which includes dinner and breakfast. They can also do lunches and extras. There are a couple of very basic shops in the village
-CONAF wardens huts: the one in Parinacota is currently shut. The one at Lake Chungara seems to be open part time at the moment (as low season), mainly at weekends, though this should change in the high season. Hut has beds for tourists and visitors can use kitchen and utensils (bring food). You can also camp at the huts if you have a tent. Would be a good idea to contact CONAF office in Arica or Putre beforehand if you plan to stay in the hut to check it will be manned.
-Putre has several hostals, restaurants and shops, and is closest village to Park with facilities.
Parinacota has several hiking options nearby. Chungara has stunning views across lake to main volcano and you could also do some hiking from there. There is a day hike trail between both places via Cotacotani Ponds. Hostal staff and Parks wardens are helpful if you need info.
If you have your own vehicle there is a lot of great exploring you can do on dirt roads in the region. Make sure you fill up with enough fuel in Arica as there are no service stations elsewhere, though we were told you might be able to get fuel from people with cannisters in Putre. If you are going to / coming from Bolivia there is a service station at Tambo Quemado on the Bolivia side of the border.
Maps: Terrace Lodge and Tours in Putre now publish a useful road map with lots of tourist info as well. Covers most attractions on the main road from Arica to Bolivia border and also a road map of whole Arica and northern Chile area, including the route along border from Lauca via Salar de Surire to Isluga Nat Park. Its more of a road map than a trekking map. You can probably find a copy in an agency in Arica, we got one in the tourist restaurant at the Arica fishing docks, who's owners also run Chichorro Expediciones who do tours and boat trips in the area. Arica's tourist info office also has a free map of the area, though not as detailed.
Hope of use to someone, stunning area that's well worth exploring!
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