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Ollagüe, The Altiplano Frontier

You'll find the town of Ollagüe, which is home to just over 300 people, near the Bolivian border, 197 km northeast of Calama. Situated 3,696 meters above sea level, it is surrounded by the amazing scenery of the altiplano and is home to the last train station on the line that links Calama to Uyuni in Bolivia.

Ollagüe is set against the backdrop of a mountain range with peaks that rise over 5000 meters, including the Ollagüe and Aucalquincha Volcanoes. On your way to these snow capped peaks, you can visit the ruins of the sulfur mining camp that drew northerners to the area for many years.

Ollagüe offers basic services and a lodge. There is a police station, which is important to know if you're planning to climb one of the volcanoes. Keep in mind that you should only embark on such an adventure if you are an experienced climber with suitable low-temperature gear.

While you're in the area, take in one of the many local celebrations, which come complete with dancing and the music of drums and trumpets. The festival of Our Lady Rosario of Andacollo is celebrated December 24-28 and the San Antonio Festival is held June 11-15.

Reaching the salt flats of Carcote and Ascotan that lie to the south is considered a feat in itself given that the temperature can range from -23°C to 25°C. During the "Altiplano winter," which actually comes during the summer months of January and February, you might encounter considerable rain, which makes it very difficult to travel by land.


Featured Destinations

AValle de la Muerte and Valle de la

BLos Flamencos National Reserve


DChiu Chiu
EAtacama Salt Flat

FEl Tatio


Tours you can do

Arica - Putre - Lago Chungará



Bundle Up  Best in Spring Roads
Bring extra warm clothes, as temperatures can get very low and change abruptly over the course of the day. Also, watch out for strong winds. It is best to visit in the months leading up to December before the rainy season starts. Some roads are gravel and may be in poor condition, so be sure to ride in appropriate vehicles, carry spare tires and drive at reasonable speed.


Puna Take Precautions Train to Bolivia 
You can prevent Puna or "high altitude sickness" by drinking copious amounts of water (approximately two liters per person) prior to your arrival. Drinking a coca leaf infusion should also do the trick. Be sure to protect yourself from the sun in this area since radiation is always high. There might also be snow, so be sure to bring sunglasses. This train leaves the Calama Station on Wednesdays at 11:00 p.m., and the trip can take 18-20 hours. This is a cargo train as well as a passenger train, so you will not find many services on board. Bring warm clothes as temperatures can dip below 0º C. The train from Uyuni to Calama leaves on Mondays.



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