Puna Rhea in Parque Nacional Lauca, Chile

Alto Andino Nature Tours

 
 
Isluga Volcano National Park:  altiplano wildlife, Andean alpine wildflowers 

Seldom visited by tourists, Isluga is a prime destination for botanizing, nature, and culture.  Because the park and its surroundings are located at a somewhat lower elevation than is Lauca National Park, the vegetation varies and there are some different birds.  More crops are grown, one of which is the nutritious and amino-acid-balanced quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), sold in health food stores in Europe and North America.   The altiplano giant cactus Echinopsis atacamensis is abundant on certain east-facing slopes, although sadly the entire Chilean population lies outside of any protected area.   

The Isluga church lies at the foot of a steaming volcano, also named Isluga

Azorella compacta and Homo sapiens

Echinopsis cactus near Isluga, Chile

Left: Azorella compacta, a high-altitude cushion plant, is in the same family,  as the familiar carrot. (Apiaceae, Umbelliferae).  Above right:  Echinopsis atacamensis.

Note damage caused by Andean Flickers

Chilean Flamingo in Parque Nacional Volcán Isluga

Isluga is blessed with picturesque churches. The holes in the wall of the church are caused by the Andean Flicker, the most ground-dwelling of the flickers. Right:  Chilean Flamingos (note red "knees" and feet, salmon-colored plumage, characteristic bill)  Phoenicopterus chilensis, can usually be spotted on the way to Isluga.

All photos copyright © Barbara Knapton


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