Stunning Lauca National Park is in the northernmost reaches of Chile, close to the border with Peru and Bolivia. Although just 3 hours' drive from the Pacific port of Arica, Lauca feels worlds apart, high up in the Andes at over 4,000m above sea level. Much wetter than the Atacama desert, this high altitude park springs into life with paintbox green wetlands and coarse tufted prairies. The landscape is dotted with 6,000m snow-tipped volcanic cones, often sitting on the shores of ice-cold lakes of gemstone clarity. The wildlife here is copious, with grazing herds of llamas, alpacas, vicuñas and vizcachas (chinchillas) easily spotted, along with the more elusive deer, foxes and armadillos.
Where to go when - our guide to Lauca National Park
The weather in Lauca National Park is wide and varied
Rising high into the Andes, at over 4,000m above sea level, are the snow-dipped volcanoes and teeming wetlands of Lauca National Park. Close to the border with Peru, this high-altitude park in northern Chile receives more rain than the Atacama but maintains a fairly dry climate. It's these clear skies that create the perfect conditions for stargazing, though you’d do well to avoid the full moon if you wish to see the stars at their brightest. While the park is open throughout the year, there are seasonal weather fluctuations to consider. September - December are ideal months for visiting as temperatures are pleasantly warm and there is minimal rainfall. While January - March can offer the hottest climate, some years these months are subject to the natural phenomenon of the ‘Bolivian Winter’, where humid air arrives from the north and increases rainfall significantly. During the coldest months of June - August there is snowfall and temperatures dip below freezing at night.View our Lauca National Park weather guide
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Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.
Sally Dodge - Travel Expert
A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.
Juliet Ellwood - Travel Expert
After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and History and having been fascinated by Latin America since childhood by the book featuring photos of Nazca, Juliet first visited the region in 2003. Since then, Juliet has visited the majority of countries in Latin America but has particularly extensive experience with Peru, a country she loves for many reasons but not least, its incredible archaeological richness and delicious food!
Charlotte Daubeney - Travel Expert
Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.