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Posts Tagged ‘Lagoons’

No, we’re just in Bolivia.

I found myself asking this question multiple times on our four day tour through the Salar de Uyuni. First, the tour name is a little misleading as we didn’t even see the famous Salt Flats (Salar de Uyuni) until the morning of our fourth day. It would be more accurate to describe this as a tour of southwest Bolivia.

On this tour that brought us through a good portion of the southwestern part of the country, I was constantly astounded at the uniqueness and beauty that surrounded us. The entire country of Bolivia has been this way, but it was never more evident than in our four day jeep trip. This tour brought us through such a myriad of landscapes that the four of us (Megan and I, and Steve and Lisa, from Australia-who were fantastic traveling companions for this four day trip) found ourselves using words like “lunar” and “Mars” to describe our surroundings.

So instead of the usual chronological posts about a trip like this, I have decided to change it up a little bit. I’m not going to give a blow by blow account of everything we did from day one until day four. Instead, I’m going to break it down into three different posts intertwining all four days that I feel will accurately depict what we experienced over this four day tour: Lagoons, Landscape, and Salar de Uyuni.

Lagoons

On the morning of the second day of our tour, we came across the first of many lagoons that we saw over the course of the trip. This particular one was the Laguna Morejo, which was at 4855 meters.

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The great thing about the lagoons was that they were all different. Every one we saw had a certain uniqueness to it, which really became the theme to the four day tour. Every corner we came around, every direction we turned, it seemed as though it was completely different. I have never experienced anything like it before. We have been fortunate to see some beautiful and unique things throughout all our travels since we have been together, but I have never been as speechless as I was during the Salar de Uyuni tour (and for those of you who know me, “speechless” usually isn’t how people describe me).

Another great thing about the lagoons was the wildlife that was abundant in them, particularly the pink flamingos. We first saw them at the first lagoon named Laguna Hedionda (there was a second lagoon of the same name on the third day). There were at least a hundred pink flamingos chilling out in the shallow lagoon, most sticking their heads underneath the water eating. We tried to be as quiet as possible approaching them so we could get some good pictures, but once they heard our presence, they all took off flying. At first we were bummed, but luckily Megan was ready with camera in hand, and she managed to get some great pictures of the flamingos flying off in unison, their reflections in the lagoon below. It was a fantastic sight to see.

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(Aside: In the above pics, you will also notice clumps of salt in the lagoons. We saw salt in bits and pieces as we set out our first day, and as went along and got closer to the Salt Flats themselves, more and more clumps and piles of salt came about.)

Soon after we left Laguna Hedionda, we came across another lagoon and our first salt flat. It was kind of odd that one was called a lagoon and the other a salar, as Kollpa Laguna didn’t much look like a lagoon as it did a huge lake of salt, and Salar de Chalvari looked more like a lagoon, but hey, they didn’t ask me to name them, so I’ll try to refrain from criticism. As you can see in the pictures below, Kollpa Laguna almost looks like a frozen lake in the wintertime that has been covered in snow, but there is no snow, only salt. There were so many different colors evident in the salt as well, which created a very interesting and unique look.

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The Salar de Chalvari was a stopping point, first because there was a hot spring for us to relax in, as we had been working so hard sitting in a jeep for six hours, and then for lunch. In the Salar de Chalvari pictures, you can notice the steam coming up from all around the water, and at the front of all three pics, there is a small pool, which is where we all got to hang out for about a half hour before lunch in the almost 100 degree water. It was quite relaxing.

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Near where we stayed on the second night was Laguna Colorada, which is where we spent the first hour or so on the third morning. Again, flamingos were everywhere at this lagoon, and there were mountains all around, some reflecting in the lagoon. Salt was again everywhere, and some of the different minerals around us gave parts of the lagoon a reddish hue. Again, the rainbow of colors was astounding.

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We were lucky enough to see many flamingos in the lagoons, but the second Laguna Hedionda provided flamingos that didn’t seem too scared of us. At one point, I was about 10 feet away from some, and they didn’t seem to mind at all. This lagoon wasn’t the most spectacular, but it did afford us the chance to get several up close and personal pics of the flamingos.

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While Laguna Colorada was a great way to start the day, we saw the most spectacular of the lagoons the day before, Laguna Verde. Verde is the Spanish word for green, so we knew we were in for something out of the ordinary while driving there. When we were driving towards what we thought was Laguna Verde, we saw a lagoon that was kind of green, but it was a bit of a letdown. Then we turned the corner, and I heard my wife gasp. Like I stated earlier, turning corners became quite exciting because we knew we were most likely in for a treat every time we did so. This was no exception. We had jumped the gun, and the first lagoon we saw was not in fact Laguna Verde, because once we turned this corner, there was no doubt where we were. The rich color in the Lagoon is caused by high arsenic and magnesium content in the water (see, I told you it was like we weren’t even on Earth anymore). The pics look good, but honestly, it was much more dramatic in person. The pictures, while great, really don’t do it justice.

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While the lagoons were impressive and provided some beautiful scenery for the four day tour, to me, the constantly changing landscapes and abundance of differing colors in the mountains and rock formations awed me most, but that will have to be saved for next time.

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