Sunset Over Laguna Chaxa
Laguna Chaxa is a pristinely beautiful spot to observe flamingos in their natural habitat and watch the sunset.
I had never seen a flamingo in real life prior to traveling to Chile.
To be honest, I’ve never really understood the attraction that people have to flamingos. But, maybe that stems from the fact that I’m not really a bird person. I guess I always assumed the allure had something to do with how unique and elegant these birds are. Or the way they perfectly balance themselves while perched on one leg… However, after having seen these birds now, the allure for me isn’t their peculiarity. Instead, I was amazed at how beautiful flamingos are when in flight. Not only are they very graceful once they are soaring through the air, but their pink color also pops against the blue sky and the mountain backdrop.
Did you know flamingos get their pink color from the bacteria in the brine shrimp that they eat? The brighter or more red colored ones are the healthier and more well-fed flamingos.
I think we could have watched the flamingos fly back and forth across the Salar de Atacama (the Atacama Salt Flat) all evening. And we did for quite a while. It’s a little tricky to capture a good photo of the flamingos in the air, but I think Luke was able to get a few good shots. What do you think?
Laguna Chaxa is located about 2 hours from San Pedro de Atacama. It sits just outside of the Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos, a nature reserve known for, you guessed it – flamingos, that spans across the border of Chile and Argentina. Because of the (relatively) close proximity to San Pedro, Laguna Chaxa is probably one of the more popular spots in the area to see the flamingos and the salt flats. Salar de Tara is another option, but it’s potentially less accessible especially on a shorter trip.
We spent five full days in the Atacama, and we didn’t make it out to Salar de Tara. It’s funny – when I was initially planning our vacation, I thought five days would be more than enough time to see everything in the Atacama. On day five, we weren’t ready to leave. We felt like there were still so many more things that we wanted to see and do.
I’ve often noticed that people from outside the U.S. talk about “knowing” a place when they travel. It always struck me as an odd thing to say, and I just attributed the word choice to a mistranslation. I think I get it now. I feel lucky that I got to know the Atacama pretty well, but I wish that I had more time to know the Atacama better.
Anyway, from my research, if you like what you see here at Laguna Chaxa or in the Lagunas Altiplanicas, it might be worth the extra time it takes to get out to Salar de Tara. Regardless of which salt flat you choose to visit, I’d highly recommend visiting at sunset.
SUNSET AT LAGUNA CHAXA
The sunset we saw at Laguna Chaxa was hands down the most beautiful sunset I’ve seen in my entire life.
Living on the west coast, we are blessed to be able to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. I’m probably biased, but the sunset over the ocean is nothing like watching the sunset behind the mountains. (Time for another confession: I
love adore mountains. That is the #1 reason I love living in the Pacific Northwest.)
What a perfect ending to another perfect day in the Atacama desert. Can you imagine anything better than savoring this sunset while sipping wine with the one you love?
Tour: Full Day XL – Tuyacto + Piedras Rojas + Lagunas Altiplanicas + Salar de Atacama (excl. the closed portion of the Lagunas Altiplanicas)
Total Time: around 8 hours because of the closures at Lagunas Miscanti and Miñiques. I believe the full tour would have been longer!
Activity Intensity: Very Easy – some light walking around the salt flat
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