bicycle travelling
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TourSur – Info – Chile-NP Route

Apr 25, 2014


This page gives detailled information for other cyclists about the route we took in April 2014 from Arica up to Putre and Lago Chungará, and then all the way south on the chilean side - crossing Parque Nacional Lauca, Monumente Nacional Salar de Surire and Parque Nacional Volcán Isluga. Finally reaching Colchane at the bolivian border. 400 kilometers in total, half of it on gravel road.


  • be fully acclimatized. do not underestimate the altitude. you will always be between 4.000 and 4.500 meters.
  • carry always enough water and food. do not rely on a single supply point! after Putre there is no single possibility to buy something.
  • there have been just 2-4 cars a day, so be self sufficient. do not rely on quick help from other people.
  • we had bad experience with the unmotivated CONAF people (park rangers). unreliable or wrong information, nearly all stations closed.

We got information from the following 2 websites. Thank you very much for your effort!

On this website, additional information about this route can be found here:


Please note that i have taken all information carefully. But nevertheless i will take no responsibilities for any wrong information or mistakes. The situation can also change during the time. Check carefully with locals before heading off.


  • the given altitude is most likely not exact in absolute terms, but should help in relative terms
  • when written "supposed to be", then it means we got the information from above external webpages, but did not check out by ourselves
  • when written "water is drinkable", then we ourselves drank the water without any problems

Situation in April 2014

point no. point km km total altitude (m) road no. road condition remarks
1 Arica 0,0 0,0 15 CH-5 excellent pavement big city. Head for direction of Tacna/Peru on the Panamericana.
2 roundabout 11,0 11,0 - CH-11 excellent pavement Turn right for Putre. During the first 42 km some shops and villages with basic supplies
3 solar plant 60,0 71,0 - CH-11 excellent pavement kilometers not exact (estimated). got water from the security guy. location marked accurate on
4 tourist cafe 34,0 105,0 - CH-11 excellent pavement kilometers not exact (estimated). Overpriced tourist place. Water. location marked accurate on
5 Zapahuira 11,0 116,0 - CH-11 excellent pavement kilometers not exact (estimated). Some restaurants, including basic shop
6 Putre 34,0 150,0 3500 A-149 excellent pavement shops, hotels (all with WiFi), bank (ATM does not work, cash change USD, EUR possible), tourist information, internet, no gas station. take main road out of town.
7 left turnoff 1,5 151,5 3590 A-149 not paved, good gravel we turned left for shortcut, some steep sections ahead
8 join with main road 6,0 157,5 4020 CH-11 excellent pavement we kept left (straight) for Lago Chungará
9 military base (active) 1,2 158,7 4100 CH-11 pavement probably good for water (?)
10 right turnoff for direct access of NP Lauca 12,2 170,9 4420 CH-11 pavement we went straight for Parinacota and Lago Chungará
11 top of ridge 2,9 173,8 4470 CH-11 pavement first total view at Volcán Parinacota
12 Chucuyo 12,7 186,5 4240 CH-11 pavement, sometimes bad 2-3 restaurants (including very small „shop“), maybe all closed
13 top of ridge 11,9 198,4 4500 CH-11 pavement, sometimes bad  
14 CONAF base – Lago Chungará 6,1 204,5 4435 CH-11 pavement, sometimes bad rooms, camping, water (often closed, then no water and rooms)
15 Chungará (border post with Bolivia) 6,5 211,0 4430 A-95 gravel, bit of sand no village, border only. Ignore border stuff, turn right 200 m behind border buildings for NP. Water from police
16 top of ridge 6,5 217,5 4560 A-95 gravel, bit of sand entering Reserva Nacional Las Vicunas
17 Termas Chirigualla 4,5 222,0 4330 A-95 gravel, stony very small outdoor pool, larger pool in small building. Stream beside termas supposed to be drinkable
18 join with main road (from point no. 10) 11,5 233,5 4240 A-235/A-95 good gravel keep straight (left)
19 Ancuta 11,5 245,0 4135 A-235/A-95 good gravel small village, probably good for water (?)
20 Guallatiri 9,5 254,5 4170 A-235/A-95 good gravel village. Water at church, police, CONAF (maybe closed), small hospedaje (maybe closed)
21 Vislubio 6,9 261,4 4040 A-235/A-95 good gravel 2 houses. probably good for water (?)
22 broken bridge 1,3 262,7 4010 A-235/A-95 good gravel  
23 Puente Rio Lauca 3,2 265,9 4000 A-235/A-95 good gravel  
24 top of ridge 26,0 291,9 4265 A-95 good gravel first view on Salar de Surire
25 Quiborax station (salt mining) 5,7 297,6 4200 A-397/A-95 good gravel probably good for water and sleeping (?)
26 CONAF base – Salar de Surire 7,9 305,5 4215 A-397/A-95 good gravel Rooms, water (if open), otherwise the stream behind the station is drinkable. camping for free
27 junction 9,1 314,6 4220 A-251 good gravel main road goes right, we kept straight for Termas Polloquere
28 Termas Polloquere 10,9 325,5 4225 A-251 good gravel great, natural thermal pool! No drinkable water!
29 small road to the right 0,2 325,7 4235 A-251 good gravel ignore, go straight
30 crossroads – no signs 3,5 329,2 4250 A-257 good gravel take most right option (kind of straight) up the hill on road A-257
31 top of ridge – bolivian border 2,8 332,0 4435 A-257 stones, small road border crossing to bolivia (no customs), go down on „main“ road
32 chile border 3,7 335,7   A-257 steep down, rocks, sandy no customs. marked by a fence with clothes on it and a „Bolivia“ marker to the right
33 join with main road (from point no. 27) 3,4 339,1 4265 A-95 lot of washboard. loose gravel, sandy or stony keep straight, use better tracks in parallel to main track
34 river crossing 7,1 346,2 4255 A-95 lot of washboard. loose gravel, sandy or stony water is drinkable
35 Villacollo 5,6 351,8 4245 A-95 lot of washboard. loose gravel, sandy or stony we saw no people around, but obviously inhabited
36 left turnoff to Chichillane 4,7 356,5 4260 A-385 lot of washboard. loose gravel, sandy or stony turn left for the hot water of Chichillane (not indicated, supposed to be 3 km away). we kept straight
37 junction 2,1 358,6 4215 A-385 lot of washboard. loose gravel, sandy or stony turn right for Mauque and the geysires of Puchuldiza. we kept straight.
38 junction 17,4 376,0 3950 A-385 lot of washboard. loose gravel, sandy or stony road from Mauque joins (see point no. 37). keep straight
39 Enquelga 2,6 378,6 3925 A-385 gravel first „real“ village. shop, water, hostal. road improves now.
40 Isluga 10,6 389,2 3835 A-385 gravel we saw no people around, but obviously inhabited
41 junction 6,5 395,7 3775 CH-15 excellent pavement right for Iquique, we turned left for Colchane
42 Colchane 5,6 401,3 3760 CH-15 excellent pavement village with about 2 shops (maybe closed), 2 hotels (one has WIFI), limited electricity. Not really much. 2 flat kilometers to the bolivian border and Pisiga (better supplies).
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