Welcome to Reserva Nacional Salinas Y Aguada Blanca
One of southern Peru’s finest protected reserves, Reserva Nacional Salinas y Aguada Blanca is a vast Andean expanse of dozing volcanoes and brawny wildlife forging out an existence against the odds several kilometers above sea level. Organized Colca canyon tours unfortunately rush through the area, but drives here take you up to an oxygen-deprived 4910m where, in between light-headed gasps for air, you can ponder weird wind-eroded rock formations, trek on old Inca trails and watch fleet-footed vicuñas run across the desolate pampa at speeds of up to 85km per hour.
As a national reserve, Salinas y Aguada Blanca enjoys better protection than the Colca canyon, primarily because no one lives here bar the odd isolated llama-herder – and a rich variety of high-altitude species such as vicuñas, tarucas envinados (Andean deer), guanacos and various birds, most notably flamingos. Both El Misti and Chachani volcanoes are part of the reserve.