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South America Destination Guide

Parque Nacional Lauca
Parque Nacional Lauca Parque Nacional Lauca is a 138,000-hectare Altiplano biosphere reserve with vicuna, vizeacha and 150 bird species, plus cultural and archaeological landmarks. The PaIlachata volcanoes behind sprawling Lago Chungara are dormant, but nearby GuaIlatire smokes ominously.

Parque Nacional Lauca Lauca is 160km northeast of Arica, between 3000m and 6300m above sea level. Visitors should adapt to the altitude gradually do not exert yourself at first, and eat and drink moderately. If you suffer altitude sickness try the herbal tea remedy chachacoma; for more on altitude sickness, see Health in the Regional Facts for the Visitor chapter. You'll need sunblock against the brutal tropical rays, but it can also snow during invierno boliviano (Bolivian winter, the summer rainy season).

The park has been under siege from regional authorities and mining interests who want to reduce its size by a third for a highly speculative, destructive gold extraction project. At the same time, courts have ruled that roughly 80% of the park belongs to Aymara residents.

Places to Stay

Refugio Las Cuevas
Refugio Parinaeota
Refugio Chungara

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Valparaiso
Vina Del Mar
Ovalle
La Serena
Copiapo
Calama
San Pedro De Atacama
Iquique
Arica
Parque Nacional Lauca
Talca
Chillan
Concepcion
Los Angeles
Temuco
Villarrica
Pucon
Valdivia
Osorno
Puerto Montt
Chiloe
Castro
Punta Arenas
Puerto Natales
Hanga Roa

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