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Altiplanic Lagoons
Altiplanic Lagoons

Altiplanic Lagoons

Free admission
Caracoles 174b, Chile

The Basics

The volcano-surrounded lagoons were created by cooling molten lava and therefore create a visual spectacle that’s best appreciated on foot. The Altiplanic Lagoons are a common feature of tours of the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth. Excursions typically explore the desert in a 4WD Jeep and cover highlights such as the Chaza Lagoon, the Atacama Salt Flats (Salar de Atacama), and the handicraft villages of Tocaire.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Most trips to the Altiplanic Lagoons involve at least some walking, so ensure that you’re wearing sturdy shoes and plenty of sunscreen.

  • Due to the high altitude, the area surrounding the lake is generally quite chilly, so be sure to take a jacket.

  • Swimming in the lakes is not permitted.

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How to Get There

The Altiplanic Lagoons are located 71 miles (114 kilometers) from San pedro de Atacama. No public transport services the area and the only way to tackle the desert’s harsh terrain is by 4WD drive as part of a tour.

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When to Get There

The conditions of the Atacama Desert remain steady throughout the year; expect no rain and cool temperatures due to the altitude. In order to beat the crowds, try to visit during the shoulder season, which runs from September to November and between March and May.

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Exploring the Otherworldly Landscapes of the Atacama Desert

Chile’s Atacama Desert is home to wealth of natural wonders; its landscapes are more reminiscent of Mars than they are Earth. Must-see sights include the wind-sculpted valleys of Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna); the steaming El Tatio Geyser, which is powered by geothermic activity; and Laguna Baltinache, whose high salt content allows you to float.

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