Scenic Volcanic Mountains
It was a cold morning when we set off for another day of desert exploration. The volcanic mountains in the morning sun were stunning and it was hard to stop taking photos as we moved through the spectacular ever-changing environment.
The Rock Tree
The rock tree was an impressive structure standing by itself. I had seen it on several Bolivian brochures so was glad to see it for myself.
None of these wonders are that close to each other so it was several hours and a lot of bumpy desert roads before we reached the Red Lagoon. When we first approached the Red Lagoon, it didn’t seem red at all. Paola was amazed at how low the lagoon waters were. Usually by this time during the rainy season, there would be a lot of rain. We kept driving around the lagoon going higher and higher until it suddenly appeared and finally, I could see why they called it the Red Lagoon. I was totally amazed at how many flamingos were there. Some tourists were walking down the slope to get closer to the flamingos but honestly, I didn’t have the energy to walk that far or to come back up. This area of the desert is one of the highest elevations and all my energy was focused on holding the camera and taking photos.
Geysers (Sol de Manana)
From the Red Lagoon, we traveled on to see the geysers or as my guide kept saying, “geezers”. I expected water like “Old Faithful” but it was actually steam coming from the ground. Sol de Mañana, meaning Morning Sun in Spanish, is a geothermal field in south-western Bolivia. This area is characterized by intense volcanic activity and the sulphur springs field, not geysers, is full of mud lakes and steam pools with boiling mud. There are still several holes. The best known emits pressurized steam, only visible in the morning up to 50 meters high. This is not a geyser, but a well in the artificial geothermal field. The major mud lakes are located at 4850 m.
Polques Hot Springs
After the “geysers” we continued on to Polques Hot Springs – a small pool of water fed from geothermic springs. It was also time for a short break. There were some tourists enjoying the heated pool but you had to provide everything yourself. I was content to touch the water with my hand and found it was very warm.
The Green Lagoon
On the Chilean border, Laguna Verde displays its emerald green water at the foot of the Licacahur volcano, which is 21,320ft high. It has mineral suspensions of arsenic and other minerals which renders color to the lake waters. Its color varies from turquoise to dark emerald depending on the disturbance caused to sediments in the lake by winds. As you can see there are no flamingos here.
This was the last of the scenic wonders and now we were on our way back to Uyuni. In two days, we had traveled more than 700 miles. It had been exhausting but totally worth while to see these amazing natural wonders.
We had one last lunch in the desert. I must say that all the desert lunches were satisfying and I especially enjoyed the setting! I really appreciated all the effort that went into making lunch time so pleasant and picturesque. As we were sitting there, we saw a rabbit-like rodent. It is actually related to the chinchilla but looks more like a rabbit with a long tail. It is dorsally gray or brown in color, with a bushy tail and long, furry ears. This species lives in large colonies separated into individual family units, like an apartment complex. It eats a wide range of plant matter, settling for almost anything it can find growing in the harsh, rocky environment. We threw him some of our veggie leftovers. The movement frightened him and he ran back into the rocks but later returned to look for the food scrapes.