Description of the attraction
Lauca National Park (in the Aymara language "lawq" means "aquatic grass") was established in Chile in 1970 on the basis of the Lauca Forest Reserve. Its area is 137,883 hectares. The park includes the steppes, the foothills of the Cordilleras, and also called the Titicaca Plateau, a vast plain located in the eastern part of Arica y Parinacota. In 1981, the park was added to the list of UNESCO biosphere reserves.
Before reaching Lake Chungara, in the surrounding wetlands, which are fed by the waters of Lake Kotakotani (4495 m above sea level), you can put up a tent, and in the morning you can meet a wonderful sunrise. In the background you will see the snow-covered double volcano Nevados de Payachata (in the Aymara language "payachata" means "twins or twins") - two volcanoes: Pomepepe (6265 m) and Parinacota (6348 m). You can also see Guallarite (6060 m) and Akotango (6050 meters), which are also the highlight of the park. This view will give you an idea of the picturesque landscapes that await you when you reach the large Chungara Lake (4517 m above sea level).
On the way to the emerald Chungara Lake, you can see the historical monument Tambo de Chungara - a checkpoint built in 1695 (a national monument of Chile since 1983). Walk the streets of Parinacota (a colonial architectural ensemble of the 17th century) - it was declared a national monument of Chile in 1979. Among its tourist and cultural attractions, you can see the church, built at the beginning of the 17th century from volcanic materials, and the museum (they are also national monuments). You can see the ancient city of Chukuyo (in the Aymara language "chukuñuyo" means "paddock"), through which caravans passed from the Potosi gold mine to the port of Arica in the 16th and 17th centuries. It was also a center for the sale of alpaca wool fabric and a checkpoint for the Chilean Carabinieri Corps.
You can also explore the caves at the base of the rocky slopes in Las Cuevas, which served as dwellings for the Chacus Inca - this site is also an archaeological site. You can warm up at the Las Cuevas hot springs (the water flowing from the swamps is heated to 31 ° C), walk along the banks of the Lauca River, which originates from the lake and observe the life of the inhabitants of the wetlands of Bofedal de Parinacota … In short, you will be able to appreciate the impressive landscape of the Lauca Park in its grandeur and historical heritage.
Lauca Park is characterized not only by places of cultural and historical heritage and great natural beauty, but it is also rich in its flora and fauna. This park is home to over 230 different species of animals and birds. It is easiest to see in the vicinity of the park: puma, Peruvian deer, llama, alpaca, vicuña, mountain viscacha (also called giant chinchilla), Andean fox, northern llama (guanaco), Andean shilokak, Chilean flamingo, Andean gull, Andean goose and Andean ostrich.
The main representatives of the flora, in the steppe and in the areas of "wetlands" of the park - fescue, gentian, arrowhead rose, quinoa - pseudo-grain culture, was one of the most important types of food of the Indians. In the Inca civilization, quinoa belonged to the three main types of food, along with corn and potatoes. The Incas called it "the golden grain". In the rocky areas of high heights of the park, an amazing evergreen jaret grows, the life span of which reaches 3000 years. Low shrubs grow on the mountain slopes, ranging from 3200 m to 3800 m.
The park has a dry climate with very large temperature fluctuations per day. Average temperatures range between + 12-20 ° C during the day and -3-25 ° C at night.