Discover The Beauty And Magic Of Lauca National Park, Chile

Discover The Beauty And Magic Of Lauca National Park, Chile
Adelheid Bethanny
Adelheid Bethanny 
| 2 min read

In the northern part of Chile, near the borders of Bolivia, lies the beautiful landscape of Lauca National Park (Parque Nacional Lauca). Unfortunately, even though this park has a lot to offer, it is still quite underrated and unexplored by travelers visiting Chile; the destinations usually mentioned are San Pedro de Atacama in the north and the magnificent Torres del Paine in the south. So, if you are a traveler who loves to take the road less traveled, Lauca National Park is one of the places that you should invest your time in. Described in a few words, the park is unique, breathtaking, and more affordable than Torres del Paine.

Get to know Lauca National Park

The view of Putre from above.

Lauca National Park is located in the Arica-Parinacota region, Chile, with an altitude between 3000 to 6300 metres above seal level. This park is the home of snow-covered volcanoes, a variety of wild species, glistening lakes and many more. The main attractions of the park are Lago Chungará, Cotacotani, the volcanoes of Payachatas, and the village of Parinacota. Most varieties of wildlife that you will probably see up close include llamas, vicuñas, alpacas, wild rabbits, different bird species (giant coot, crested duck, Andean goose, etc.) and more.

One of the highest lakes in the world

The magnificent sight of Lago Chungará (Lake Chungará).

Lago Chungará, the park’s most famous attraction is indeed a magical sight. The lake was formed approximately 8000 years ago and is one of the highest lakes in the world with the altitude of 4500 metres above sea level. Over the lake, stands the snow-covered volcano, Volcán Parinacota, as if it is guarding the lake and all its inhabitants. Across the border, also lies Volcán Parinacota’s twin brother, Volcán Pomerape.

How and when to get there

The church at Parinacota Village.

Like most national parks, Lauca National Park is located far away from big cities, and getting there by yourself might be a bit of a challenge. What travelers, including myself, usually do is to spend the night in Arica, the port city located about one and a half hour from Lauca National Park. From Arica, travelers would tend to take either one-day tours or multi-day tours to Lauca National Park. The multi-day tours are different from the one-day tours because you will get the experience to stay in either small towns such as Putre, or even travel across the borders of Bolivia. Most of the tours to Lauca National Park can be quite expensive, but you can also find affordable one-day tours starting from 25.000 CLP (approximately 40 USD), which are usually in Spanish.

Best Period to Travel

The cross at Parinacota Village.

When planning to travel in Chile, it is crucial to do research on the weather. Remember that summer takes place at the end of the year and winter takes place over the months of June to September. Visiting in the winter is still an option, but it might not be the most enjoyable considering the altitude and the strong wind. In the end, it all depends on your preference. Visit in the summer if you prefer warmer climate; or visit during the low season, which is around April and May, if you prefer less people.

Discover Lauca National Park

Upon visiting Lauca National Park, be sure to take necessary precautions. The park is situated in the highlands with the highest point to be around 6000 metres above sea level. Altitude sickness is very common and some of my friends even experienced it firsthand and they were unable to walk. To avoid such situations, it is wise to train yourself before traveling by exercising and eating healthy. There are other tips to reduce the sickness on the field, which include drinking lots of water, walking slowly and avoiding alcoholic drinks before and on the day of your trip.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Beth is a 22-year-old Indonesian student with an insatiable passion for globetrotting. She is currently pursuing Spanish studies at a language university in Taiwan, with graduation expected in...Read more

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