Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve

Travel information

The Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, compared to other  Bolivia´s protected areas, has levels of biodiversity particularly low, biological communities in general are very simplified although with a high degree of specialization and adaptation to valid conditions. But it has importance because it contributes to the protection of important elements of our heritage as:

  • Unique andean ecosystems that do not exist in other protected areas, such as salt lagoons, wetlands with particular characteristics, deserts and others.
  • Presenting the largest population of vicuñas of the protected southern race, as well as an important population of yareta.
  • Preserving genetic resources of camelid cattle of the own region.
  • Having archaeological sites that tell us about the history of the cultures that inhabited it more than 10,000 years ago and that are the origin of actual bolivian population.

Colored Lagoons

In an almost desert region, wetlands such as lagoons and wetlands build oases that concentrate and maintain diverse manifestations of local and regional biodiversity and are natural values of the first level. Laguna Colorada and Verde Lagoon are almost emblematic elements of the region; however, there are many others of enormous importance. The case of Totoral lagoon can become almost unique for the high number of species that it shelters, not only in the wetland but also in its surrounding areas; it considers that it is a small lagoon in terms of surface area. Other lakes such as Turquiri, Katalcito, Kalina, Loro Mayu, Hedionda, Mama Khuru, Kastor or Celeste, are enormous value from the ecological, scientific and scenic point of view. Some of these, like the last three mentioned, are in the area of influence in the area of potential expansion of the Reserve.

Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve is located in the province Sud Lipez of the city of Potosi, with the following limits: to the Northwest, the sources of Silala or Siloli River, located in the foothills of the same name, in the line of Bolivian- Chilean border. The boundary will follow in a straight line, from North to East, pass through the peaks of Chico and Sanabria hills, to the town of Quetena Chico or Barrancas. From this population the border will continue towards the Southeast, by the slopes of Hualakhonkhana, Uturunco hill and will pass by the South of Coruto Lagoon until finding the Abra Located between Baja and Vilama hill in the border with the Argentine Republic. The South will limit with the Republics of Chile and Argentina. To the West with the Republic of Chile, the bolivian-chilean border is called Hito Cajón or Hito Cajones and the closest chilean city from the border is San Pedro de Atacama.


Management Category: Andean Fauna National Reserve equivalent to National Wildlife Reserve.

Extent: It has an area of 714,745 ha (7147 km ²).

Location: Located in the southern, most part of the Department of Potosi, in Sud Lipez Province, bordering the South by the Republic of Argentina and the West with the Republic of Chile. 

Biogeographic subregions, altitudinal and weather: Subregion of Puna, where the climate is cold and dry, with annual rainfall less than 100 mm. The altitudinal range between 4,200 and 6,000 meters.

Vegetation and flora: A total of 102 species of flora and it is estimated that there are approximately 200 species of higher plants. Ecologically characterized by extensive ice deserts and prairie Altoandina semidesert. They are salt lakes of glacial origin, wetlands and peatlands. In patches of vegetation stand yaretales of compact Azorella queñua groves (Polylepis tarapacana), currently threatened species. The conditions of soil salinity in many areas determine the presence of a resistant plant cover these conditions, with very low grass species.

Fauna: For the REA have been recorded 96 species of wildlife. Notable species that are highly threatened, as the vicuna, the Andean cat or titi, suri (Pterocnemia pennata), the chocka (Fulica gigantea) and the three species of flamingos (Phoenicopterus andinus jamesi Phoenicopterus chilensis and Phoenicopterus) that nest in huge colonies.


Local Population: The REA occupies almost 40% of the municipality of San Pablo de Lipez, the southern region of the municipality, where the Reserve is, practically has no people. Inside the REA it is estimated to be a total population of less than 50 families (about 250 people) of Aymara origin, concentrated in a few settlements as Quetena Grande, Chasquilla, Juntucha, Carcanis, Khastor and Lachitas. Eduardo Abaroa Reserve is located about 300 km south of the town of Uyuni (11,372 inhabitants), which is linked by two major routes: one by the Uyuni Salt Flat and the community of San Juan, and the other by Uyuni - Culpina - Zoniquera - Quetena and Laguna Colorada.

Tourism: There are salt lakes of glacial origin, wetlands and peatlands. Among the highlights gaps Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde. Huge colonies of nesting flamingos are another attraction of the Reserve Eduardo Abaroa. They also highlight strange landscapes and rock formations, the giant volcanoes, hot springs and fumaroles.

The richness of the fauna in the highland region is low in number of species but has the presence of endemic species like flamingoes, there are three species: the Andean flamingo, Chilean and Puna flamingo which can be found especially in the Laguna Colorada and Laguna Hedionda.

The area is dominated by a product of volcanic landscape with acidic lava solidified, fumarolic activity area with demonstrations of sulfur gases and water vapor from volcanoes, suggests that the magmatic activity still exists, as in the "Sol de la mañana", where you can see fumaroles and boiling mud volcanos plus a pseudo geyser at sunrise sunlight and clouds of steam arising in the region that build a landscape that takes back to the time of formation of the earth. The deserts of the Dali Valley and Siloli Desert are the most important in the region.

How to get to Eduardo Abaroa Reserve: You can enter the area from Uyuni, crossing the Salar de Uyuni. To reach this city you can take the train from Oruro heading to Villazon or the buses that depart daily from this city. It is also possible to take buses daily from Potosi. Another option is to enter your own vehicle from Tupiza or use the daily shuttle to Laguna Verde from the Chilean city of San Pedro de Atacama.

Services and Facilities: In Uyuni you can find basic accommodation and meals, local tour operators, guide service, car rental, shuttle service, telephone service and fuel sales. In the town of San Juan minimum room and board, staffed by local people, in Quetena there is a hostel of the protected area in the Laguna Colorada you will find basic accommodation and food by local people and the Laguna Verde there is a private shelter.

Recommendations: Visit the area especially in November due to the presence of many different species of birds (including flamingos) and by milder weather conditions. Do not linger in "Morning Sun" because the gases from geysers, fumaroles and vulcanitos can cause dizziness and nausea, used quite warm clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses, binoculars.


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