AM: 7:00 AM: Buffet Breakfast – For your first desert sunrise, sit down to a sumptuous buffet breakfast featuring a wide variety of dishes, in addition to Chilean specialties and fresh fruit juices – and of course coffee.
8:00 AM: Altiplano Lagoons – Starting out on this full-day tour, we’ll drive for an hour and a half, ascending the vast and barren Altiplano high plateau, suspended at 14,763 feet. (4,500m) above sea level. Once arriving, you’ll soak in the stunning scenery of Miscanti and Miniques Lakes, two natural jewels of northern Chile.
Split from a single body of water by volcanic lava flow, the two brackish-water lakes lie in the shadows of the mighty Miniques Volcano and are at the foot of the towering Cerro Miscanti Mountain. As such, these two lagunas provide a magical contrast, with their deep blue surfaces perfectly reflecting the white, snowcapped mountains that surround them.
Located in the breathtakingly beautiful Los Flamencos National Reserve, these lagoons were witnesses to the first human settlements in the area – some 6,000 years ago! Today, this mix of highland deserts, mountains, and ice is the ideal site for not only photography but also wildlife watching; as you’ll see in the lakes’ sparkling waters and white shores playing host to an array of intriguing wildlife.
The flamingos here are the most eye-catching of all, their pink silhouettes contrasting with the blue of the lagoons, though there are many other bird species here, including the Horned Coot, Baird’s Sandpiper, Puna Plover, and Crested Duck, as well as foxes, llama-like vicunas and alpacas, and ostrich-like ñandus.
Finding yourself immersed in this postcard-perfect valley surrounded by arresting mountainous relief, you’ll see for yourself how the amazing scenic beauty of the heart-shaped Miscanti Lake and the Miñiques Lagoon are true gifts of nature.