ANDEAN FAUNA RESERVE
Images that will stick in the mind of any traveler. Impressive landscapes that will attract, capture or trap the attention of the most demanding tourist. Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna Reserve is one of Bolivia's choice tourism areas because it is home to silently bubbling volcanoes, and to a great number of flamingoes that nest near its colorful lakes that extend like immense shining gemstones.
The reserve, located in the province of Sud Lipez, Department of Potosi, presents numerous attractions: glacial lakes that harbor bird colonies, large plains and plateaus...in short, a whole world to explore and admire.
Created in 1973, this precinct has an area of over 700,000 hectares and is at an average altitude of 4,000 meters above sea level Its climate varies according to the season of the year: winter (May through August) is dry, while the summer season (December through April) has abundant rainfall.
Flora and fauna
Andean landscapes covered with pasture grasslands (paja brava),
forming small and medium-sized semicircles on plains and slopes,
keņua trees (Polylepis tarapacana), famous for
being the tree species that grows at the highest altitudes in
the world (over 5,000 meters above sea level) and the yareta (Azorella
compacta) typical of the rocky canyons at over 4,000 meters
above sea level are a few of the things that make this one of
the most important reserves on the continent.
However, this is not all. This corner of the Bolivian high plateau
harbors over 45 bird species, among which three are flamingoes:
the Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus Andinus), the Chilean
flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis) and the Puna Flamingo
(small parina) (Phoenicoparrus Jamesi), that have become
the main attraction here.
Description of the flamingoes
The Andean flamingo receives the local name of "chururu",
although it is also called "big parina". Due to its height
of over one meter, it is the largest within its species. Its coloring
is quite light, and its plumage is pinkish. The upper part of
its breast is violet, its beak is black and its legs are yellow.
Known as "tokoko", the Chilean flamingo is one meter
tall and features a reddish plumage, except for the flying feathers
of the wings, which are black. It has a pinkish-white beak with
a black tip, and its legs are light blue.
On its side, the Puna flamingo or "small parina", called
"jututu" by the locals, is the smallest of the three
species (90 centimeters tall). Its plumage is pink, and it has
a yellow beak with small black spots on the tip. Its legs are
These three species concentrate on Colorada Lagoon (Red Lagoon); however, from May through August, the young flamingoes leave the lake to the adult birds and those still unable to fly.
The best time to visit this area is in November, when climatic conditions favor the appearance of many different bird species.
The volcanic origin of the Reserve is a compelling reason to explores all its surprising and imagination-provoking trails: the Green and Red Lakes and the Morning Sun Geyser are the spectacular attractions of the Reserve.
Colorada Lagoon (Red Lagoon): The area of this lake is about 60 square kilometers. It is located at 4,278 meters above sea level and the temperature of its water -colored red by sediments in suspension- varies between 10 and -10 degrees Celsius. This is the greatest attraction of all, because it is the only lake in the world where the three different species of flamingoes all nest together.
Sol de Maņana (Morning Sun): This are covers almost one square kilometer and is at the southern tip of Red Lake. It features intense volcanic activity.
The craters exhibit a large amount of furiously boiling lava. The fumaroles here also spout fumes and steam from ten to fifty meters up into the air.
Verde Lagoon (Green Lagoon): This is at the extreme south of the Reserve, and covers 17 square kilometers. Its waters are colored green due to their magnesium content. Nearby stands Llicancabur Volcano, whose height is 5,868 meters.