A visit to Surire requres an expensive tour from Arica or your own vehicle. If you the latter, you can approach from one of three directions. The first, the longest, is from Colchane on the road from Iquique to the Bolivian border via the deserted village of Isluga. Ther second is from the north from Putre, via Guallatire. This may be the easiest. The third is from the Arica road south of Putre via Belen. This is rough ('ripio') but the most fun. The view over the Salar as you approach is stupendous.
The Salar contains large amounts of Borax which is removed by the company Quiborax. There are all thrtee kinds of Andean flamingoes, lots of vicunas and vizcachas (tame near the CONAF refugio. If lucky, you may see a condor or suris (rheas). Don't expect to be overwhelmed by tourists! You can stay in the Refugio although, in early 2014, it is closed for an upgrade. Contact CONAF before starting.
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