The reserve stands out for the protection of species such as the tuco tuco de la puna, culpeo fox, puma, parina grande, Chilean flamingo, parina chico, vicuña, and guanaco. It also serves as a conservation area for vulnerable flora, including tamarugo and carob trees.
This reserve has also implemented a unique model of participatory management of the unit in the country, in which Atacameño indigenous communities have established partnerships for more than 10 years to implement ecotourism projects together with Conaf Antofagasta. In this case, the Chaxa Lagoon area is managed jointly with the Atacameño Indigenous Community of Toconao. It has an interpretive trail where you can learn about interesting aspects of the great Salar de Atacama.
This area of Los Flamencos National Reserve is open all year round, so this trail can be visited at any time of the year.
This sector of the reserve can be accessed by private transportation or by hiring a tour in the town of San Pedro de Atacama (cost per person approximately $16,000/US$23). In the case of a tour, each operator will provide the program of the service provided to tourists, which often includes visits to other lagoons and salt flats such as Miscante-Miñiques, Talar, among others.
From the town of San Pedro de Atacama, ~98km southeast of Calama, take route CH-23 in a southeasterly direction that leads to the town of Toconao, 38km from San Pedro de Atacama. Once in the town of Toconao you must continue along the same route CH-23 for ~3km more until you reach a detour to the southwest (right) where there is a sign indicating the access to the sector of the Chaxa Lagoon - Salar de Atacama See photo 1. This detour is a dirt road in good condition, so it is passable for all types of vehicles. You must continue for ~22km until you reach the park entrance, a place that has parking lots. Consider 1h from San Pedro de Atacama.
The reserve has a parking area next to the gatehouse. There are restrooms and an area with tables and chairs in the porter's lodge.Less
1 hour approx.