Alto Andino Nature Tours

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:   

Cactus scrub & pre-puna shrublands from the Atacama Desert to above Putre

Cushion 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 projects

"Extreme tropical alpine" slopes near 4,800 masl

Lluta, San Jose, Lauca, Isluga rivers, Taipicagua gorge (riparian)
Blog: Andean Desert Gardening & Village Life

Wildflower Samplers Arica to Lauca


Cushion Bog in Parque Nacional Lauca
Alpine plants in Lauca
Parinacota Province pre-puna  flora 
Atacama Desert arroyo

Suggested 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

Day 2:  Parque Nacional Lauca altiplano cushion bogs, tola grassland,  altiplano tundra, riparian.   Lago Chungara, Chucullo bog.   OV Putre

Day 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
, including Echinopsis, 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.  

Mastigostyla cyrtophylla, Iris Family, near Putre  Chile

his exquisite wild iris Mastigostyla cyrtophylla blooms in April at about 3,000 masl, just above the Atacama Desert near Putre, Chile.  © Barbara Knapton

There are no comprehensive publicaWildflowers of Arica y Parinacota, Tarapaca, Chiletions 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 beRoadside Wildflowers Arica to Parque Nacional Lauca   northern Chile available for use in our 2012 botanical guide service. 

More about naturalist guide service

birding  |  reservations  |  wildlife, culture guiding  | when to come  |  FAQ  |  Putre  |  Surire  |  Isluga  | botanizing, native plants and wildflowers   resources  flora  Lauca's  alpines  |  birds  |  desert flowers  | seabirds  |  Diademed Sandpiper -plover 
Blog: Andean Desert Gardening & Village Life

photos and text ©              Alto Andino Nature Tours                                       Putre, Chile