About Altiplano

About Altiplano

The clearest skies of the world, salt lakes, lagoons, national parks, snow-capped volcanoes with peaks reaching over 6.000 m, pampas, valleys, ravines and canyons with a surprising and avid amount of flora and fauna, warm beaches… Altiplano is the perfect destination for travellers seeking authentic and memorable experiences off the beaten track.

At an altitude between 3.500 and 4.500 m above sea level only the most specialized fauna can survive: flamencos (there are 3 of the existing 6 flamenco species in the world), Andean camels (llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, guanacos), viscachas, ñandus, Andes seagulls, condors, among others.

Get amazed by the richly coloured Andean cultures, comprising the Chinchorro Culture and the Aymara culture, which is regarded as precursor of the Inca culture in the Andean world. Strewn along the plains, there are picturesque villages with stone and mud houses, corrals and agricultural terraces, which shows that these cultures are still alive.

Saltpetre, a source of immense fortunes in the past, was extracted from the northern regions. Witnesses of the formerly saltpeter mines prosperity are the famous “ghost villages” of Humberstone and Santa Laura, well known as World Heritage Sites.

TRAVEL SEASON

All year round.

FLIGHT TIMES

  • Arica – Santiago: 2h 40min
  • Arica – Antofagasta: 1h 10min
  • Iquique – Santiago: 2h 25min

CLIMATE

Dry weather, with uniform temperatures in coastal regions. Rainfall and vegetation increase with elevation and distance from the sea. The temperature oscillates between day and night time. Heavy rains in January and February are possible (so called “Altiplanic Winter”).

DISTANCES

  • Arica – Putre: 149km
  • Arica – Iquique: 316km
  • Iquique – Antofagasta: 406km

SPECIAL NOTES

  • Be aware that Putre is located at 3.500m above sea level and National Parks (Lauca, Volcan Isluga) and Salar de Surire at up to 4.200m above sea level.
  • The colorful carnival in Arica (Carnaval Ginga) takes place in February, and La Tirana Festival in July, nearby Iquique.