Nevado Tres Cruces National Park is a protected wild area with a surface of 59.081 hectares. Within the park two zones can be identified:
Zone 1.Santa Rosa Lagoon, Maricunga Salt flat and Lamas River course, of 46.944,50 hectares.
Zone 2.the other one Negro Francisco Lagoon and the Astaburuaga River mouth of 12.136,50 hectares.
Both parts of Nevado Tres Cruces National Park are interandean basins, confined by the volcanic groups and full of early sediments. In the lowest areas you will find salt flats and brackish water lagoons, without any visible drainage.
At Nevado Tres Cruces Nacional Park there are 10 species of mammals, 62 birds and 4 reptiles. From all of them, 17 have troubles in conservation. The most remarkable species there are three kind of flamingos that reaches almost 10.000 of them during summer and – for being rare in the region – the taguas cornudas (Fulica cornuda). You can also observe guanacos and vicuñas.
Nevado Tres Cruces National Park climate:
The air dryness and the oscillation of temperatures that takes place during the day and night is one of the features of this area. Day is warm by direct sun and nights are extremely cold. Rains reach between 100 and 120 mm per year, considering the snow fallen during winter season.
93.2 miles from Copiapó, through the international road, which goes from Copiapó by Paipote canyon to La Puerta and from there to Portezuelo de Santa Rosa, arriving to Santa Rosa Lagoon’s side. To reach Negro Francisco Lagoon follow the same route but continue up to the south west side of Maricunga Salt flat following the road which leads to Rio Astaburuaga’s canyon by Valle Ancho (Wide Valley) and then to Negro Francisco Lagoon.
Pathways at Nevado Tres Cruces National Park:
-At the southwest side of El Negro Francisco Lagoon.
-From La Gallina river. You can get there by car up to the entrance of the station.
-Santa Rosa Canyon. You can get by car until the initial station
CONAF offers two refuges; the first one located to the south of Negro Francisco Lagoon, with water, kitchen, bedroom and bathrooms. The second one is at the west of Santa Rosa Lagoon and does not have water nor bathrooms.
Visits can be made from October to April from 8 to 18 hours. The entrance fee is $2.000 and $500 for children. Management office is located at Negro Francisco Lagoon and has a guest house composed by 3 rooms, kitchen and bathroom with hot water, it costs $7.000 per person on daily basis.
Travel recommendations for a visit to Nevado Tres Cruces Nacional Park: The trip is done by tourists in urban cars during summer. The higher side of the mountain chain and the salt flats can be accessed from October to March, depending on the weather. If weather has been bad, travel through El Salvador which has better roads for the salt flats. Inform policemen from Paipote about your trip plan and report your arrival at San Francisco’s Border Office. During summer, ask for road condition at the Tourism Road Department in Copiapó.
** Information related to rates and hours might change without any previous notice