Guanacos live in the steppes and mountainous regions of South America. They are found in the Altiplano of Peru, Bolivia and Chile as well as in Patagonia.
In Paraguay, a small relict population has been reported in the northwestern Chaco. Also on the Falkland Islands exists a small introduced population of about 400 guanacos.
In Argentina most of the world’s remaining Guanacos are found. They can be found in the Patagonian regions as well as very numerously in the “Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego,” since there is little pasture competition from domesticated cattle.
Surprisingly, guanacos also live in the Atacama Desert, where it has not rained for more than 50 years in some areas. They live on a mountainous coastline, allowing them to survive.
In so-called fog oases, the cool water touches the heated ground, producing water vapor. Cacti and lichens absorb this fog like a sponge. Guanacos then eat the moist cactus flowers and lichens .
In 2011, the number of guanacos worldwide was estimated at 400 – 600 thousand.