The Flamenco National Reserve was created in 1990, it has a total surface of 182,82 acres and it is divides in seven sectors located within the commune of San Pedro de Atacama. Each sector has a relief, flora, fauna and different hydrograph system.
The salar (saline terrain) of Tara sector- Aguas Calientes (Hot Waters) is on the east of San Pedro de Atacama, to 5 hours trip. Here is the Salar and lagoon of Tara, the Zapaleri River, the Aguas Calientes salar and Laguna Negra (Black Lagoon). The animals that inhabit in this north area are the vicuna, culpeo fox and the flora is composed by the tola and amaia.
The sector of Salar Pujsa is located a little more to the south than the Tara – Aguas Calientes , like the previous one, the relief presents waved planes a depression intermountain and the Negro de Pujsa and Balle hills. The fauna is composed by vizcachas, chululos, flamenco, ñandúes, condors and eaglets, among others.
The area of The Flamenco National Reserve that includes the Miscanti – Miñiques Lagoons is located to the south of the town of Socaire and it is characterized by the beautiful lagoons that give the name, by rich and varied fauna composed by flamenco, ducks juarjual, ñandúes, eaglets and tucúqueres, among others. Its mountainous relief is made up of hills and volcanoes, reaching peaks of 19.389,76 feet above sea level. It is conformed by Pampas waved in the middle of a volcanic relief, where fertile valleys, small water curses, saline grounds and lagoons exist above the 13.451,44 feet of altitude.
In the Salar of Atacama there are two sectors of The Flamenco National Reserves: Soncor and Quelana. Being part of this salar, the relief of these zones is flat and saline, to a height of 7.545,93 feet above sea level. There inhabit several species of birds being the most characteristic the flamenco. The Puilar, chaxas, and Barro Negro lagoons emphasize, like part of the hydro system of the reserve, and cachiyuyo, the salty tar and grass, like part of the flora.
The Moon Valley also is part of The Flamenco National Reserve, there inhabit the fox chilla and culpeo in addition eaglets, chercanes, zorzales and others. The Mountain range of the Salt is the responsible of the existence of this valley and is not any water source in the sector.
The Flamenco National Reserve is the third protected area most visited of the country. The first one is the National Park Towers of the Paine, then is the National Park the the Campana and the third one the Flamenco, with almost 80 thousand visits in 2005.
The Entrance is paid in the 3 sectors of the National Reserve Flamenco: in the Valley of Moon $1,500 by person. In Soncor, $2,000 by person. In Miscanti-Miñiques $2,000, children $500. The technical administration of The Flamenco National Reserve is by CONAF and its Administrative Seat is in the outskirts of San Pedro de Atacama.
The tourist administration was given to Communities Likan Antai (atacameños).
The different sectors of The Flamenco National Reserve have great climatic differences, but in all of them rains are concentrated from December to March, in the named Altiplánico Winter or Boliviano, and in the plateau are frequently related with electrical storms.
In the Plateau the precipitation oscillates between 1,9685 in and 5,9055 in a year. The average Maxima temperature goes to 12° C and the average minim between -3° C and 5º C. In the rest of the reserve the precipitation is very little, smaller to 1,9685 in a year. The maximum average temperature oscillates of 10° C to 20° C and the average minim between 0º C and 16° C.
The main water mass in the plateau sectors are the lagoons Míscanti and Miñiques, and salares of Tara, Waters Cállenles and Pujsa with its internal lagoons as the lagoons Tara and Negro. Within the Salar de Atacama there is a set of small brief water lagoons interconnected by small natural channels, the main ones are Pullar, Chaxa and Barros Negros. These lagoons, Next to the Salar de Tara, have been declared wetlands of International Importance by the Convention on wetlands RAMSAR.
In the plateau sectors, the predominant species are brave straw, tola of water and tola amaia forming dry land prairies. In the borders of salares and the bottoms of the gorges there are small fertile valleys and bofedales (peat). In the area of the Salar de Atacama the tar and grama salty grow to the side of the water curses, and in the Sector of Tambillo is a remarkable forest of tamarugos planted in the decade of 1970.
Appear strong variations in the different sectors of The Flamenco National Reserve. In the nursery and hills of the plateau there are vicuna, culpeo, ñandú fox or suri, perdiz of puna, chululo, and in the rocks there are vizcachas. In fertile valleys and water courses are concentrate birds like: flamenco of James, flamenco Chilean, caití, Andean guáyala, Andean gull, , chorlo of puna, chick of sea, juarjual duck, Jergón duck, colegial, miner of puna, eaglet.
In the Salar of Atacama the most representative are the 3 species of flamenco – Andean, Chilean and of James -, accompanied by other birds like playero of Baird, chorlo of puna, caití, Andean gull, chick of sea, colegial, eaglet, wanderer of black back. The fauna of the Valley of the Moon is little; it emphasizes the culpeo fox and some birds associated to the oasis. In the Tambillo Sector the species are: white wanderer of black back, chincol, lechuza, perdiguero hawk, chululo and culpeo fox.
Archaeologically, the most outstanding place of The Flamenco National Reserve is the Village of Tulor, in the Sector Valley of the Moon. There are other archaeological sites to the north of the Salar de Tara and in places bordering to the lagoons Miscanti and Miñiques.
In order to cross the main footpaths of The Flamenco National Reserve, is recommended to protect of the strong solar radiation and the wind drifts and to carry out liquids.
In the plateau, the footpaths are over the 13.451,44 feet of altitude. By lack of oxygen is mandatory to walk slowly and to wear shelter clothes, ideally for High Mountain. In summer, the routes must be made in the morning, because after noon storms with electrical unloading can happen.
The Footpath of the Greater Dune has a length of 984,25 yards, for 2 hours trip. It goes from the way that crosses the Valley of the Moon until the hill covered with sand. Do not enter vehicles to the base of the dune or the pedestrian footpath.
The Footpath Valley of the Moon has a length of 4,97 mi to 7,46 mi, for 3 to 4 hours. It is a parallel route to the way that crosses the Valley of the Moon.
The Footpath Salar de Tara has a length of 4,97 mi to 6,21 mi, for 3 to 4 hours, is mainly for vehicles 4WD. To cross the North edge of the Salar de Tara until the flow of the Zapaleri river.
The Footpath Lagoons Miscanti and Miñiques, has a length of 4,97 mi to 7,46 mi, for 3 to 4 hours. It is recommended to circulate, on foot, by the border of those lagoons.
The Soncor Footpath has a length of 2,49 mi to 3,11 mi, for 2 to 3 hours. It is an attractive long walk next to a group of lagoons in the center of the Salar de Atacama.
The Footpath Village of Tulor has a length of 0,62 mi, for one hour. It is an excellent long walk by the most important archaeological site of the reserve.