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Parinacota - Other Activity - Chile

Twenty kilometers (12 mi) east of Las Cuevas is Parinacota. This indigenous-colonial village, long a rest stop for indigenous and later Spanish travelers, was declared a Monumento Nacional y Zona TĂ­pica. Its name derives from the Aymara word Parinaquita, meaning Lagoon of Flamencos. Parinacota is the starting point to Bofedales de Parinacota (the flamingo bogs) and many come to climb Cerro Guane Guane.


Parinacota is a hamlet of white-washed homes. Payachatas, composed of the twin volcanoes Parinacota (which, according to local lore, is San Miguel Arcángel) and Pomerape (or María Isabel, says the legend), provides a dramatic backdrop. Its 17th century church, Iglesia de la Natividad, is made of adobe and thatched with paja brava. The temple’s interior walls are painted with frescoes. Among the church’s treasures are hand-carved saints.


High quality alpaca sweaters, shawls and other woolens are produced here. A community shop across from the church sells them. Prices are much lower than in Arica and other cities. Don Leonel Terán’s Albergue Uta Kala and other families lodge guests ($6-8 per person). A small store has very basic supplies.


(Altitude: 4392 meters / 14274 feet, Population: 29)


Other Activity Types:

Getting There
Parinacota is right in the center of Parque Nacional Lauca, 28 kilometers (17 mi) from Parque Nacional Lauca’s west entrance and 29 kilometers (17.5 mi) from the west end, Tambo Quemado border into Bolivia.

Price Description: Free.

Relative price: Budget

Travel Skills: None

Hiking and climbing to the other attractions in Parque Nacional Lauca: Las Cuevas, Bofedales de Parinacota, Cerro Guane Guane, Laguna de Cotacotani and Lago Chungará. Visiting Putre and the villages of the Precordillera de Belén, Reserva Nacional Las Vicuñas, Monumento Natural Salar de Surire.

Currencies accepted
Chilean Peso

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

25 Jun 2009

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