Day 2 of our Bolivian Salt Flats tour was spent exploring the country’s best national park: Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve (that’s a mouthful). The national park is meant to protect the volcanoes, hot springs, geysers and flamingoes in the area. This translates into lots of fun and colorful things to explore!

Flamingoes at Red Lagoon - Bolivia Salt Flats Tour - Wanderlusters


Warming Up in the Hot Springs

The best way to start our day off was a dip in one of the natural hot springs formed outside one of the many lagoons in the area. The only manmade developments are walls to contain the water and a small shack with see-through curtains that you can change behind. We were the only ones there, getting toasty in the hot waters and enjoying the surrounding views. And, it only cost us 60 cents! Worth it.

Hot Spring - Bolivia Salt Flats Tour - WanderlustersBathing in Hot Springs - Bolivia Salt Flats Tour - WanderlustersLaguna Chalviri - Bolivia Salt Flats Tour - Wanderlusters


Geysers, Mud Pots, and Sulphur

Similar to our recent trip to Iceland, there are geothermal pools and geysers in Bolivia. However, unlike in Iceland, there was no ropes to keep you back from falling into a pool of 220 degree mud/water/steam.

We were able to wander around the multiple mud pots, ink pots, and fumaroles all to ourselves and get as close as we felt comfortable. We were only warned that there was a high concentration of (poisonous) sulfur dioxide gas coming from the ground so we could only stay for 15 minutes maximum. They have to draw the line somewhere and I guess noxious gas is the limit.

Geysirs Sol de Manana - Bolivia Salt Flat Tour - WanderlustersGeysers - Bolivia Salt Flats Tour - WanderlustersGeysers Sol de Manana at Bolivia Salt Flats Tour - Wanderlusters

This was also the highest point of the day, at just below 5000m, so it required the most bundling.


Dali Desert

The scenery on the drive was also fantastic today taking us high up into the Andes, right up to the Chilean border, and through desert-type landscapes.

Desert Landscapes - Bolivia Salt Flats Tour - WanderlustersDriving Jeep Through Desert - Bolivia Salt Flats Tour - Wanderlusters

One part of our drive went through this area called the “Dali Desert” with its interesting rock formations. Someone named it after the painter Salvador Dali, as the natural rocks reminded them of his surrealist paintings. We agree that the whole scene looked quite surreal! There is no driving allowed in the Dali Desert, so we took some shots from afar:

Dali Desert - Bolivia Salt Flats - Wanderlusters 1


Green Lagoon

As if the day wasn’t amazing enough already, we then visited two very unique lagoons. The first was the green lagoon (Laguna Verde) which as the name suggests is a turquoise green color. This lagoon is rich in copper, lead, magnesium, and arsenic. When the wind blows these minerals are stirred up and make the lagoon turn color.

Green Lagoon - Lagoon Verde - Bolivia Salt Flats Tour - WanderlustersUs at the Green Lagoon - Bolivia Salt Flats Tour - Wanderlusters

The wind only picked up when we arrived there, so we literally watched the lagoon turn color right before our eyes!

The mountain in the background is a volcano, so the surrounding area is all of a lava field with large dried up lava rocks. Notice how there is no wildlife… that’s because the lagoon is toxic from the arsenic.

Weathervane at Green Lagoon - Bolivia Salt Flats Tour - WanderlustersLava Rock at Laguna Verde - Green Lagoon - Bolivia Salt Flats Tour - WanderlustersLaguna Verde - Green Lagoon - Bolivia Salt Flats Tour - Wanderlusters


Red Lagoon & Flamingoes

Along with the colorful lagoon theme we also saw the red lagoon (Laguna Colorada) which is teeming with flocks of flamingoes.

Laguna Colorada - Red Lagoon - Bolivia Salt Flats Tour - WanderlustersRed Lagoon in Bolivia Salt Flats Tour - Wanderlusters

You might think the lagoon is reddish because of them, but it’s actually because of algae that have red pigment. The flamingoes just happen to be drawn to this for food. Either way it was quite amazing to see a lagoon this intense rustic color.

Laguna Colorada Flamingoes - Red Lagoon - Bolivia Salt Flats - Wanderlusters

Neither of us have ever seen flamingoes in their natural habitat, so this was a first! They are actually are quite entertaining. They look sketchy when landing because their lanky legs just flop down and they have to try to slow down from a flying speed (we captured this starfish action for your viewing pleasure). They also seem to have “highways” in the water where they all walk in single file to get from one point to another; it appears very organized.

Flamingoes in Bolivia - Bolivia Salt Flats Tour - WanderlustersFlamingo Line - Laguna Colorada - Red Lagoon - Bolivia Salt Flats TourFlying Flamingo - Red Lagoon - Bolivia Salt Flat Tours - Wanderlusters

If you’re wondering what’s up with the grey ones, those are the baby flamingoes.

That wraps up Day 2. This was one of our favorite days of the whole tour, only to be rivalled by the finale at the Salt Flats. Onto day 3…