• The Pecan Monks in the Salar de Tara:
Also called the Salar Protectors.
Before going up to the Monks of the Pacana, we advise visitors to spend a couple of days in San Pedro de Atacama, before going up to altitudes above 4,000 meters, such as the Salar de Tara and its surroundings.
To access these natural monuments, you must take the road from San Pedro de Atacama to the Jama pass on route ch-27.
Monks of the Pacana are one of the attractions not so well known in San Pedro de Atacama, easy sighting, understanding, and can go on their own by car. It is on the international road to Paso Jama, to Bolivia and is the obligatory entrance for those who wish to venture into the Salar de Tara, one of the attractions next to the Laguna Legía (Huaitiquina), the toughest to visit in San Pedro de Atacama. This sector is part of the Flamingos National Reserve, which at this point should be a National Park, due to the superlative need for the protection of biodiversity.
The Monks of the Pacana Sentinels of Tara or Moais de Tara by the similarity of some formations with the Easter Island are imposing stone pillars, located vertically in the plain near the Salar de Aguas Calientes. Because of their thin and random shapes similar to the silhouettes of monks, they were called like that. There are those who defend the thesis that the name of sentinels was granted by walkers who saw erect sentinels, protectors of the place, due to their large size and many times resembling human figures.
These beautiful rock formations, with volcanic characteristics, were molded during millions of years by the erosion of the wind.
These Moais de Tara, as they are also called, as we said before, by the similarity with the Moais of Easter Island is the prelude to other phenomenal excursions such as the Salar de Tara, which can only be reached with guide and / or indication of GPS. Many people have lost their way and have had to be rescued from Tara, especially in summer when the Bolivian winter rages.
It is common for the sector to walk very characteristic animals of the highlands such as vicuñas and flamingos, because it is in that area, that of the Aguas Calientes salt flat, where they get their main food. Also in older times, the roads that led to this sector served as grazing routes for some camelids because there was a lot of fertile plains and bofedales.
Generally in the place there are excursions throughout the year, as there are no great climatic variations and it is very close to other tourist places such as the Salar de Tara, the salar de Puja, the Salar de Aguas Caliente.
We recommend visiting the Moais de Tara, the Monks of the Pacana or the Tara Sentinels, as these formations are called, due to the great beauty, the overwhelming aspect of these capricious formations, raised spaced in different sectors of the place, as distributed in a Huge outdoor museum, which can be accessed by any vehicle, without the need to use a 4x4. For the most daring, this can be the access to one of the most beautiful adventures of San Pedro de Atacama: the visit to the Salar de Tara.