Journey into Sajama National Park for an authentic Bolivian adventure off the beaten track high in the Andes mountains. Full of adventure including hiking volcanoes, thermal baths, geysers, lagoons, Sajama lines, and years of history. It is no surprise that Bolivia’s best kept secret is a geological natural wonder.
Although many travelers skip this part of the country, it is a perfect addition to the famous Salar de Uyuni. Enjoy feeling alone as you are driven in a 4×4 through Sajama National Park as the brown and red dust flows behind the car and you enjoy spectacular Andean landscapes.
About The Protected Park
Located about a 4-hour car ride from La Paz in the Bolivia’s Altiplano sits Bolivia’s oldest national park full of history and diverse flora and fauna that thrive up to 21,463 feet or 6,542 meters. This magical place has been protected since 1930 to protect The Andes, Sajama Volcano, and the highest queñuas forest. Queñuas are a typical Andean tree which live at high elevation and have given way to life for more than just themselves in the protected forest that borders Chile and Bolivia.
Sajama National Park is also home to vicuñas, alpacas, llamas, viscachas, flamingos, armadillos, and small villages such as Sajama or Tomarapi. A combined paradise for nature lovers, hikers, climbers, and history buffs will let your eyes and mind experience the majestic natural and cultural atmosphere that lives in this region. This amount of cultural and natural significance is the reason this national park was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2003.
Things To Do
1 Lago Huanakota
The first stop on your day trip, Lago Huanakota is just North of Sajama and a great start for a full day. Although this shimmering blue lake is centered around the natural scenic beauty, it is an amazing place for landscapes photos. If you are lucky, once you step out of your 4×4 you will see the flamingos flying above Lago Huanakota or simply lingering around.
2 The Geysers
This unique display of bubbling baths spread over hundreds of meters as they push the bubbling water up from the magma deep under the Earth’s core. Are you an egg lover or just an adventure seeker? If so, do not forget to ask your tour guide for some eggs to boil in the slightly sulfuric geysers.
3 Thermal Baths
The warmest place in Bolivia, these thermal baths will rejuvenate your soul and body after your big adventure. Lay back and relax while enjoying the backdrop of Nevado Sajama. After your climb, hike, or tour these thermal baths are the icing on the cake and key to a perfect time here.
4 Sajama Lines
Thousands of nearly perfectly straight paths etched into the rugged ground that could wrap around The United States three times. The mystery of the lines, chullpas (burial towers), wak’as (shrines), prehistoric artifacts, and ceramics will enchant you as these lines were recently discovered not even 100 years ago.
With very little information, what is known that these varying lines were formed as the dark metal of oxidized rock was scraped away to reveal the lighter layers. Further, is it is believed that these lines were created by indigenous individuals as navigation routes to sacred sites.
– Sajama Volcano (Nevado Sajama)
The parks most popular attraction also happens to be the highest point in the park and the entire country of Bolivia. Sitting at 21,463 feet (6,542 m), this ice-capped volcano looks out over the indigenous country of Bolivia. Built up of layer after layer of hardened lava, this extinct volcano now has turned into a climber and hiker’s dream.
– Nevados de Payachatas
Nevados de Payachatas is combined of the majestic Volcán Parinacota and Volcán Pomerape. It was believed by the ancient indigenous people who lived here that these twin peaks were believed to be gods. If you are an avid climber or hiker but do not want to climb the highest ice-capped volcano, either one of the twin peaks has a multiple day guided treks at more than 6,000 meters.
6 Lagunas de Altura Trek
This 2-day trek will take you from the small village of Sajama all the way through the crystal clear lagunas and finally to the thermal baths. This frequented trek will show you the up-close views of Nevado Sajama, Parinacota, Pomerape, and of course the unique landscapes of geysers and Casilla, a small, abandoned church.
7 Climber and Hiker’s Paradise
While this terrain is a bit rough, the best way to climb mountains and hike these trails is with a guide. Through the plains and the rolling hills of Sajama National Park there are hundreds of different paths to go on for day trips or extended camping trips.
While you will find spots to go climbing off many trails, the most popular location to go climbing is the impressive Nevado Sajama. Whereas the most popular trails will take you on your way to visit Volcán Parinacota, Volcán Pomerape, Nevado Sajama, and Tres Lagunas trail with stops to geysers and ending at the thermal baths.
When To Visit
The optimal time to visit between April and November is the coldest time of year, but also the driest time of year. However, if traveling through December to March, you should note that there may be limited tourist attractions due to the heavy rainfall. Regardless of when you visit, remember the weather changes quickly here so pack for all types of weather.
How To Enjoy the Experience with Kuoda
While independent travel is liberating, custom made journeys make life easier in small remote parts of Latin America. Your personalized journey will be curated to your desires and physical capabilities, as hikes or climbs can vary from day trips to extraneous multi day trek through the Bolivian landscapes. To avoid the headache of multiple transportation changes, you can trust that Kuoda will organize the easiest and safest journey for you to learn about Bolivian traditions and history.
Hop on your private 4×4 down the dirt road to experience Sajama National Park to have a glance at extensive flora and fauna scattered across the volcanos, geysers, lagoons, and miles of sand. Contact us today to discuss how you can visit this national park on your way to Salar de Uyuni.