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Parinacota

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A Small Altiplano Town at the Foot of a Volcano

Parinacota, which has been declared a national monument, is located about 181 km east of Arica and just 42 km from Putre, which sits at 4,392 meters above sea level.

You may feel the desire to whisper in the quiet streets of Parinacota so as to avoid disturbing the its few townsfolk, expert alpaca weavers. But the town is also full of mysticism. The stone church, a national monument that dates back to the 17th century, is a clear example of the town's resistance to the harsh climate and offers a glimpse into the local culture. The building is alive with local legends. For example, you'll find a table tied to one of the pillars that is said out to announce death's arrival by placing itself at the door of the person who is die or to lose a loved one.

Parinacota is located inside Lauca National Park, which is famous for its breathtaking scenery, snow capped peaks like Pomerape and Sajama, hot springs, high altitude lakes such as Chungará and the Cotacotani Lagoons, and wetlands surrounded by unique and diverse flora and fauna. The wonders of this park continue with the Las Vicuñas Natural Reserve, which has its own high peaks and salt flats such as Surire, home of the native Chilean ñandúe and flamingo birds.

 

Featured Destinations

aParque Nacional Lauca bParinacota
cPutre dSan Miguel de Azapa
eValle de Codpa fSalar de Surire

 

Tours you can do

Arica - Putre - Lago Chungará

 

Getting There

en avion
By Air
 Daily flights leave Santiago for Arica's Chacalluta Airport (2 h 45 min, direct).
You can also fly from Iquique or Lima, Peru.
bus
By Bus
 Buses to Arica depart Santiago daily. The trip takes about thirty hours, so it is best to ride in executive class, which offers seats that fully recline. The trip from Iquique is about four hours long.
en auto
By Car
 From Santiago to Arica, take Route 5 north (2,070 km).
From Arica to Putre and Parinacota, take Ruta Internacional CH-11 (Arica- La Paz).
 

 

Tips

01

Spring is the Season   Provisions  All Wheel Drive
 It is best to come to Parinacota before January, when the "altiplano winter" can make road travel impossible. Putre is one of the few places where you can find basic supplies here. Once you enter the parks, it is difficult to find gas or even drinking water. Make sure you have enough supplies and know where the CONAF and police stations are before you travel. Once you leave the international route, you'll need a 4x4 to cover the gravel and dirt roads to local attractions.

02

Puna Sickness 
To prevent "puna" or altitude sickness, which is caused the lack of oxygen, try to drink at least one liter of water as you journey from Arica to the altiplano. You can also chew coca leaves or drink coca tea, which are sold at the market in Arica or in nearby towns. It's best to come prepared and ready to explore and to move around slowly so as not to overexert yourself.

 

 

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