Alto Andino Nature
Wildflower trips & Botanizing: extreme northern Chile
extreme alpine plants, cushion bogs, Polylepis, Atacama
Desert, Cactus scrub, tola grasslands
Native plant habitats we visit from sea level to 4,800 m:
scrub & pre-puna shrublands from the Atacama Desert to above Putre
bogs & altiplano wetlands: altiplano alpine tundra
Andean "alpine" rock gardens
tola - grassland (resinous shrubs & Festuca, Stipa bunchgrass)
remnant Polylepis copses
Atacama Desert arroyos & washes, Prosopis tamarugo restoration
"Extreme tropical alpine" slopes near 4,800 masl
Lluta, San Jose, Lauca, Isluga rivers, Taipicagua gorge (riparian)
Andean Desert Gardening & Village Life
Samplers Arica to Lauca
Cushion Bog in
Alpine plants in Lauca
Parinacota Province pre-puna flora
3-5 day wildflower itinerary, depending on season:
Day 1: Start in Arica. Native vegetation of the transverse
lowland valleys, Atacama Desert arroyos, cactus scrub, precordillera
pre-puna gorges and pampas. OV Putre
2: Parque Nacional Lauca altiplano cushion bogs, tola grassland,
altiplano tundra, riparian. Lago Chungara, Chucullo
bog. OV Putre
3: Parque Nacional Lauca "extreme" tropical alpines,
then OV Putre, or take 5 pm bus or tour van back to Arica.
As usual we
suggest an additional day for altitude acclimatization, a "free
day" in the pueblo of Putre,
where there are abundant native plants within
easy walking distance of town.
At times we extend the tour to Parque Nacional
Volcán Isluga to see the cacti,
Cumulopuntia, "Lobivia", etc. Another extention
would be a 5th day touring the mid-level desert areas close to the
coastal range, Prosopis tamarugo, desert oases, etc.
exquisite wild iris
blooms in April at about 3,000 masl, just above the Atacama Desert near Putre,
There are no comprehensive publications for wildflowers that cover the
extreme north of Chile, so Barb is compling a photographic catalog of
the vegetation of the first 2 regions, a ongoing project begun in 1996.
The catalog, arranged taxonomically, will be available on tours but is
not available commercially.
In addition we are
composing a roadside site guide for use along the road system,
which will be available for use in our 2012 botanical guide service.