Lagoons of the plateau

A mandatory tour to get deep into the Bolivian territory. The Bolivian Southwest lodges a group of colorful lagoons lying over 5,000 meters above sea level and dwelled by all kinds of birds, among which the pink flamingoes stand out.

Far Away... So High

At a height of over 5,000 meters, beautiful lagoons of various colors may be spotted. La Colorada and la Verde are the most outstanding. Not only can visitors appreciate the flora and fauna of the plateau, but they can also be easily delighted by the thousands of flamingos who are the protagonists in a kingdom of pink that teaches us how survival is possible at thousands of meters of height.

Seeing them is a unique, special show. In addition to having an unequalled color that attracts the sight from hundreds of meters away, these birds have such a glamorous and majestic gait that watching them walk is fascinating. Elegance is the most appropriate word to describe such a phenomenon.

The “Eduardo Avaroa” National Andean Fauna Reserve is located in the South of the District of Potosí. In an area of 7,147 square kilometers, it lodges extraordinary lagoons, a huge diversity of flora and a group of geysers and geothermal activity wells of amazing beauty.

  • The Bolivian Southwest

    The Bolivian Southwest

  • Stone Tree

    Stone Tree

  • Among which the pink flamingoes stand out

    Among which the pink flamingoes stand out

  • At a height of over 5,000 meters

    At a height of over 5,000 meters

  • “Eduardo Avaroa” National Andean Fauna Reserve

    “Eduardo Avaroa” National Andean Fauna Reserve

The weather is cold and dry and heights range between 4,200 and 6,000 meters above sea level.

Over a hundred fauna species are registered there and it is estimated that there are approximately two hundred species of plants. The place is characterized by its large icy deserts and for being the best representative of the high Andean semi-desert.

Fauna is made up mostly by vicuñas, Andean cats and vizcachas, as well as by the three species of flamingos nesting there in huge colonies, so attractive to visitors that they cannot help taking photographs.

I see something you don't see... and the color of it is...

This is maybe the most attractive lagoon in the whole set formed by the lagoons of the plateau. Its sediments, rich in iron as well as in zooplakton and phytoplankton, contribute with a special reddish shade that covers its surface and catches the attention of anyone who can spot it from several kilometers away.

Located 4,278 meters above sea level, the Colorada Lagoon spreads across a surface of 60 square kilometers. The red color of the lagoon is enhanced by the local attraction: the pink flamingoes. There are many legends in the area which assure that the flamingoes acquired their characteristic pink shade once they got in contact with these waters.

Thousands of incredible birds alight on its surface and co-exist in large flocks that offer a special show for the eyes of visitors.

At times, the quietness of the place is hard to believe. To such an extent that it is only interrupted when the flamingoes hear some sound or pick up a sign of danger. And when this happens, thousands of birds start to run on their large legs and soar into the sky, generating real pink clouds and flying without direction until, once the danger has passed, they resolve to land once more on the lagoon. Impressive. Worthy of a thousand photographs.

Just to have an idea of the number of birds sheltered by this lagoon, it is necessary to bear in mind that it is known as the “Nest of the Andes” and that, according to biological research, over 30,000 flamingoes of three different species make their nests there.

One hour away from the Colorada Lagoon, and after crossing several geysers and natural rock monuments, visitors may come across the Verde Lagoon, which is located in the Southwestern end of Potosí. It occupies a surface of 20 square kilometers. Although there are practically no flamingoes in the area, the very view of it is simply spectacular. Along with the Celeste Lagoon, it offers real postcards for visitors. Close to this place, the border with Chile may be made out, which leads to the small settlement of San Pedro de Atacama, a beautiful spot to start a tour inside the Chilean territory. To keep on looking, to keep on seeing...

Autor Pablo Etchevers Fotografo Gentileza

How to get hereHow to get here: In order to reach the colorful lagoons, it is necessary to leave from Uyuni (Bolivia) towards the district of San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), which is reached after traveling approximately 400 kilometers. This is a journey along rubble roads that cross several salt deposits up to the lagoons. Take extra fuel and food, as such supplies can only be bought at the City of Uyuni.
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