Visiting Lauca National Park:
Practical Information to Do It Yourself
***All information is valid as of 02/2017***
Access From Arica
You can buy a ticket (CLP 5,000) and board the bus from the main bus terminal in Arica. The bus company Nordic runs the route daily from Arica, Chile to La Paz, Bolivia. This route runs through the park, and can drop you off at the Refugio or the Boarder Station.
Nordic has a bus at 7am and a bus a 9am. Although I would recommend Nordic, and a morning departure there are other bus companies who run this route throughout the day, check ahead of time at the station. Tell the driver you want to get off at the CONAF Refugio (pronounced phonetically: Con-aff), in Lauca National Park. You can also clarify by saying Lago Chungará.
Besides your bus ticket you must pay the exit tax for the station. This can be bought in a little booth at the entrance of the bus station, and costs CLP 350
Access Via Putre
There is also a 7am buss from Arica to Putre, which is a small town at the edge of the park. There are some basic tourist services here such as guest houses and comedors, but no bank or ATM. It is here that you can book a tour of Lauca with a tour agency, if this is what you prefer.
Access From La Paz
The same bus companies run back and forth from Arica to La Paz. It is certainly possible to get dropped off in the park entering Chile from Bolivia.
Travel Within the Park and Onwards
It is very easy to hitchhike with commercial truckers running to and from the boarder along route 11, however they will most likely not let you pass through the boarder with them in their vehicles.
If you are going onwards to Bolivia you can catch a ride to the boarder, and then wait for a bus to inquire about fare and passage into Bolivia.
While I was walking along the road and at staying the CONAF Refugio, I saw more than a dozen busses pass going in both directions along highway 11. They came usually in spurts in the mid morning, afternoon and early evening. Evidence that there are many options for onward travel times.
If you are traveling to Arica from Peru you will be transferring in Tacna. There is a market located right next to the bus terminal, stop in and stock up on food and supplies as this is a cheap market by Peruvian standards, and Chile is much more expensive. Note: You cannot bring fresh fruits or vegetables across the boarder.
Expect to Pay
CPL 10,000 | $15.60
Free Park Entry
Free Camping CONAF Refugio
Guest Houses in Putre Unknown
Bus Ticket (on way)
CLP 5,000 | $7.80
Depends on preferences
and length of stay
Bus: 3.5 Hours
From Arica to CONAF Refugio
Depends on preference