Las Vicuñas National Reserve
It was created in March 1983. It covers a surface area of 209 131 hectares and is between 4 300 and 5 800 metres above sea level. It is located 230 km from Arica.
The sectors with the highest altitude are the hills and volcanos: Puquintica (5 780 m), Aritinca (5 999 m), Salle (5 403 m), Belén (5 260 m) and Anocariri (5 050 m).
The climate is dry. It rains in the summer and snows in the winter. The average temperature is between 8° C and 15° C during the day and between -5° C and -15° C at night.
The rivers that flow through the area are called the Lauca and the Guallatire. The largest concentration of water is found in the Laguna Paquisa.
You can find various visible traces of Pre-Columbus cultures like the Aymara altars. Some members of this culture still live in small villages. They are llama and alpaca herders.
There is a wide variety of flora in this area in which you see a range of vegetable communities such as grasslands, wetlands, llaretal and groves of queñoa plants.
The animals inhabiting the reserve are mainly mammals like the quirquincho de la Puna, el cuy de la puna, el chingue real, ñandúes, the puma, guanacos, llamas, alpacas, vizcachas, el gato colorado and la vicuña. In spite of the fact that vicuñas were an endangered species in 1970 there is now a large population. There are also three types of flamingos.
Predominant birds in the reserve are condors, la kiula or the partridge, el juarjual duck, the harrier, Andean geese, el cojón and el pitío de la Puna. There are also amphibians like el sapo, el sapo rulo, sapito de cuatro ojos and in terms of reptiles there are many different species of lizards.
The reserve offers a panoramic view of the Andean high plateau.