The Reserve is on the high Andean plain northwest of the city of La Paz, with an average altitude of over 4000 meters above sea level. Its western border is the political border with Peru. The park is about 2,000 km² in size and is populated by about 12,000 people, most of them of Aymara origin. The park protects part of the Central Andean wet punaecoregion. It is also the home of the Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) (reportedly the largest flying bird in the world), as well as significant populations of alpacas, and the largest group of vicuñas (Vicugna vicugna) in Bolivia.
The park was designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1977.