Putre (“murmuring of waters” in the Aymara language) is located 145 Km from the city of Arica. It is the starting point for those who want to see the natural attractions of the Parinacota province, such as the Lauca National Park, declared by UNESCO as a Natural Patrimony of Humanity and Biosphere Reserve.
What to see
The most visited attraction is the Lauca National Park: This world biosphere reserve, rich in flora and fauna, is the natural habitat of animals such as guanacos, vizcachas and vicuñas, together with over 130 bird species including flamingos and condors. The park has an area of 137,883 hectares between 3,200 and 6,342 meters above sea level.
Inside and outside the park:
- Chungará Lake: One of the highest in the world at 4,517 meters above sea level; surrounded by snowcapped mountaintops such as the twin volcanoes Payachatas.
- Catacotani lagoons: Group of lagoons located in a field of volcanic lava of great scenic beauty.
- Las Cuevas sector: Large “bofedales” (swampy fields located in high altitudes with abundant vegetation) along with rocky formations.
- Parinacota village: Pre-Columbian origin, with a colonial church.
- Surire Natural Monument: Salt Lake surrounded by snowcapped mountaintops, with blue-water lagoons and thermal springs, as well as the presence of 3 different species of flamingos.
- Reserva Nacional Las Vicuñas: abundance of vicuñas on the route to Surire
- Cerro Milagro and Suriplaza: beautifully “painted” mountains at 5,000 meters above sea level.
- Wilakawrani painted caves: at 90 minutes walking distance from Putre.
- Quebrada de Allanes: colored canyons, rivers and stunning views.
- Jurasi area: surreal landscapes. A “must” for trekkers and photographers.
- Tacora volcano, Aguas Calientes and more…
What to do
Trekking, Mountain climbing, Horseback riding, Flora and fauna observation, Bird-watching, Cave painting observation and archaeological sites visits, Thermal baths, Photography. Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts will appreciate Barbara Knapton’s guide service and tours. She does not provide accommodation.
The zone presents rain during summer (December thru February/March). The climate is dry during the rest of the year and thermal variation between day and night is very evident. During the day the average temperature oscillates between 12ºC and 22ºC all year long and only during winter (June thru September) can temperatures reach below zero during the night. We recommend wearing warm, windproof clothes, hat, sun glasses and sun block. Due to the altitude of the zone, we suggest acclimatizing in Putre before continuing with expeditions to even higher places. A minimum stay of two nights is strongly recommended. Sometimes Terrace Lodge does not accept reservations for one night only. Car rental. During the wet season (loosely from Dec. to Mar) it is recommended a 4×4 or at least a high clearance pick-up. In case of bad weather some areas (e.g. Salar de Surire) could be inaccessible.