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See the map of Lauca National Park

 
 
Ver Mapa San Pedro de Atacama
 
 
       
The most northern part of the country, the “large north” as it is called, offers a unique variety of landscapes, where the highlands and the Atacama desert meet, giving surprising and extremely beautiful results.
A region of extreme contrasts where the drought opposes the fertile valleys and oasis fed by the highlands water. A reunion of extreme and contrasting environments as if the Himalayas, the Sahara and the Bering sea had come together.
Chungará Lake Geo-glyphs Tatio Geysers
The Lauca National Park has an area of 137.883 hectares and is located in the Putre Municipality, Parinacota Province, First Region. It includes the mountains slopes and the highlands of the extreme north east of the Tarapacá Region. It receives rains in the summer and snow in the winter but it is has a dry climate with and average of 280 mm rainfall a year and average temperatures between 12°C and 20°C during the day, and between -3°C and –10°C during the night.
In general, the park’s surface is uneven. Very prominent are the volcanoes Parinacota (6.342 m.a.s.l.), Pomerape (6.282 m.a.s.l.), Guallarite (6.060 m.a.s.l.) and Acotango (6.050 m.a.s.l.). Also are there in the highlands sector of the park (most of the central part of it) volcanic boilers (Ajoya and Tejene) and lava fields such as Cotacotani.
The enchanting town of San Pedro de Atacama, placed at 2.450 m.a.s.l. on the border of the Atacama salt lake ( the largest in the country) is probably the place in Chile with most attractions together.
San Pedro lies at the feet of the Andes, which in this area reaches 6.100 m.a.s.l.. In sight from the town and at just 40 km you find the majestic and mythic Licancabur volcano (5.916 m.a.s.l.). The name means people’s volcano and was worshiped by the Incas, who made ceremonies and left offers in the crater at its top.
At just 15 km from town you find the mysterious Valle de la Luna (Moon valley). And indeed, the colors and shapes of the rocks in that place give the appearance of a moon landscape.
From an archeological standpoint, the area of San Pedro is of great interest. The history of the zone goes back to 11 thousand years B.C., the date of the oldest found human signs. One of the best examples of the historical and archeological richness of the place is the Tulor village, 3.000 years old. The large geological activity in the zone has created the volcanoes and also produced the famous Tatio geysers (4.200 m.a.s.l.). To see the geysers in action, the best time is at sunrise. That means that you have to leave San Pedro for the geysers at 5:30 in the morning to arrive at 7:00. Some geysers reach heights of 3 to 4 meters. The thermal waters near the geysers can give you the pleasure of a delicious warm bath while watching the sunrise. The water can reach temperatures of 54º C. Besides, we have to mention the sky above San Pedro which at night is a spectacle on its own: the Milky Way shines luminous white.
Except for the Elqui Valley sky in the Fourth Region, this is the clearest sky in the planet.
       
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