Acotango Vulcan. Sajama, Bolivia

Acotango is a colossal stratovolcano located within the Andes mountain range, straddling the border between Bolivia and Chile. As part of the Central Volcanic Zone of the Andes, Acotango is one of the several stratovolcanoes that contribute to the immense geological diversity of this region. It stands as a testament to the powerful natural forces that have shaped the landscape of South America over millions of years.

Reaching heights of approximately 6,052 meters, Acotango marks one of the highest points in the Andes. Its imposing presence is further emphasized by its extensive volcanic edifice, which stretches across a vast terrain. The volcano’s summit comprises three peaks, rendering a unique visual spectacle that is simultaneously awe-inspiring and intimidating. Nonetheless, despite its magnitude and potential for activity, Acotango remains largely unstudied compared to its counterparts in the Andean Volcanic Belt.

Acotango’s location between Bolivia and Chile has significant implications for both countries. In Bolivia, it forms part of Oruro Department’s natural landscape, while in Chile, it lies within the Tarapacá Region. The stratovolcano’s vicinity to these areas presents both challenges and opportunities for local communities. On one hand, any potential volcanic activity could pose substantial risks. On the other hand, Acotango’s striking landscape offers considerable potential for tourism and scientific exploration.

Acotango is more than just a geographical landmark in the Andes. It is a symbol of the potent geological forces that have sculpted the landscapes of Bolivia and Chile. As one of the many stratovolcanoes in this region, Acotango offers invaluable insights into our planet’s volcanic activity and earth history. As we continue to explore and understand these natural phenomena, we can better appreciate their profound influence on our world.

Fast Facts

Acotango volcano in wonderful Lauca National Park, Chile | Emiliano Barbieri

Country: Bolivia, Chile

State/Province: Oruro, Arica y Parinacota

County/Region: Parinacota

Mountain Range: Kimsa Chata, Andes

Parents: Guallatiri

Elevation: 19,856 feet / 6,052 meters

Prominence: 2,818 feet / 859 meters

Isolation: 3.84 miles / 6.19 kilometers

Nearest Higher Neighbor (NHN): Guallatiri

First Ascent: 1965 by Club Andino de Chile

Fun Fact: Acotango is the highest peak in the Kimsa Chata volcano group.

Flora and Fauna

Acotango, a stratovolcano located in the Andes mountain range, presents a fascinating array of flora and fauna, making it a unique ecosystem straddling the border of Bolivia and Chile. The diverse climate conditions, varying from arid to semi-arid, contributes to the rich biodiversity in this region. Due to the extreme altitude, the vegetation is sparse but resilient, adapted to withstand harsh weather conditions. The flora in Acotango primarily consists of high-altitude plants like ‘Yareta’, a cushion plant that can live for thousands of years, and ‘Puya Raimondi’, the world’s tallest bromeliad which blooms once every 80-100 years.

The fauna in Acotango is equally remarkable and is characterized by species that have evolved to survive in high-altitude environments. Animals such as the Vicuna, a relative of the llama, and the Andean fox, can be spotted here. Bird species like Andean condor and flamingos are also found in this region. The Acotango area is also home to endemic species such as the Bolivian viscacha, a rabbit-like rodent unique to the Andes.

Despite the challenging environmental conditions, Acotango maintains an extraordinary variety of flora and fauna. It serves as an excellent example of nature’s resiliency and adaptability. The distinct ecosystem of Acotango in both Bolivia and Chile continues to draw the attention of biologists and ecologists worldwide for its unique composition of plants and animal species found nowhere else on Earth. The preservation of this unique biodiversity is crucial for maintaining the ecological balance and understanding the effects of climate change on such delicate high-altitude ecosystems.

Volcanos Acotango and Capurata, in the wonderful Lauca National Park, Chile | Emiliano Barbieri


The Acotango trails, located within the majestic Andes Mountains, span across two South American countries – Bolivia and Chile. These trails offer an invigorating mix of natural beauty, challenging terrain, and cultural immersion. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a novice adventurer, the Acotango trails provide an unforgettable journey through one of the world’s most spectacular mountain ranges.

Acotango, a towering stratovolcano nestled in the Andes, is the centerpiece of these trails. Located on the border of Bolivia and Chile, Acotango stands at over 6,000 meters, making it a significant challenge even for seasoned hikers. The routes leading to its summit are replete with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, providing a visual reward to complement the physical accomplishment of reaching the peak.

The trails in this region vary in difficulty and length, catering to a wide range of hiking abilities. Some routes are short and manageable for beginners, while others demand a higher degree of fitness and hiking experience. Regardless of the route chosen, each trail unfolds against the stunning backdrop of the Andes, offering breathtaking views at every turn.

The Acotango trails are not just about physical exploration but also cultural discovery. The paths wind through regions inhabited by indigenous communities, providing opportunities for interaction and learning. It’s not uncommon for hikers to come across local markets selling traditional crafts or to encounter festivals celebrating ancient customs.

Hiking the Acotango trails is more than just an outdoor adventure—it’s a journey into the heart of the Andes, where Bolivia and Chile converge, and where nature and culture coexist harmoniously. It’s about pushing physical boundaries, immersing oneself in diverse cultures, and experiencing one of the most stunning landscapes on earth. No matter which route you choose, the Acotango trails promise an enriching experience that goes beyond the ordinary.

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