Located between Arequipa and Moquegua, the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve stretches over 366,936 hectares and contains breathtaking views of volcanoes such as Pichupichu, Misti, Ubinas, and Chachani.
In 2003, Lake Salinas and Lake Del Indio which are both located in the reserve were designated as Ramsar sites. The reserve was created on August 9, 1979 to protect its local fauna, flora, and landscape formation.
The reserves boast 169 animal species. The majority of these are birds as the reserve boasts 138 species. There are also 23 species of mammals, 4 species of amphibians, 3 species of reptiles, and 3 species of fish. The animals that can be found here include the Andean flamingos, eagles, blue-billed ducks, kestrels, foxes, Tamarugo conebill, camelids, condors, and parihuana.
Two of the amphibian species that exist in the reserve are considered threatened – the Telmatobius arequipensis and Rhinella spinulosa.
What To Do There
Because of the reserve’s various paths, visitors can go trekking or biking as they enjoy the marvelous landscape. There’s spots to go camping and rock climbing. Enjoy bird watching, trout fishing, and fauna and flora observation. And because the volcanic landscape, it’s become quite popular for mountaineers. And if you like, you can even visit volcanic and geothermal land features which include Umalaso hot springs or the Chucura volcanic crater. The reserve also has beautiful lagoons and wetlands where you will find the majestic Andean flamingos. Visitors also look forward to seeing the Vicuna and Taruca, an endangered Andean deer.
Fifty-thousand tourists visit the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve every year to see the lagoons, volcanoes, prehistoric remains, and rock formations.
Check out the Sumbay Caves, Mollepunco, La Pulpera and Tarucani caves where you can see cave paintings that date back to the Stone Age. You may be surprised to know that people inhabit the reserve and they’re worldview is very connected to nature. They breed domesticated South American camelids for its wool and meat. With the wool, they make clothes or yarn. Their deep-rooted to the traditions of tinkan or the giving back to earth and water.
How To Get There
It takes 1 hour and 30 minutes for a flight from Lima to Arequipa. However, if you go by land, the travel time will be 14 hours. From Arequipa, it is another 1 hour and 30 minutes to either Yura or Cabrerías - Cañahuas Checkpoint and 3 hours to Chihuata - San Juan de Tarucani.
Photos from Wikipedia