© iStock/StreetFlash
© iStock/StreetFlash

Colored lagoons and hot springs in Bolivia's highlands

3 minutes to read

Do you like blue lagoons? What about red, green and white ones?

In addition to their intense colors, these lagoons are located in the middle of the highest deserts in the world and have imponent mountains and volcanoes as a background. All this magic happens inside the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve, the most important Andean reserve of Bolivia. Let’s discover!

Laguna Verde and Laguna Blanca

At more than 4000 meters above the sea level, Laguna Blanca (White Lagoon) and the Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon) are next to each other, precisely in the south-western extreme of Bolivia, near the Chilean border.

This area of Bolivia is rich in various minerals, and a suspension of different combinations of them is what has colored both lagoons!

Adding some more art to the scene, Licancabur Volcano is in the background of both lakes, showing itself imponent, with its 5916 meters of elevation.

Laguna Verde
Laguna Verde
Laguna Blanca
Laguna Blanca
Licancabur Volcano
Licancabur Volcano
© iStock/abriendomundo
© iStock/abriendomundo

Laguna Colorada

Some kilometers north from the first lagoons, Laguna Colorada (Red Lagoon) can be found contrasting with them.

In this case, it is not a mineral but an alga, which creates several shades of red in the lagoon. This same alga seems to be one of the favorite meals of the pink flamingos, that love to hang around on the lagoon that perfectly matches their plumage. But, is it a coincidence that pink flamingos live in the Red Lagoon? Actually, it is not! Pink flamingos are not genetically pink; instead they acquire their color from the alga they eat in the lake!

Laguna Colorada
Laguna Colorada
© iStock/elleon
© iStock/elleon

Laguna Hedionda

This one is another lagoon full of minerals, though, this time, the minerals did not tint the water in any intense color; instead, they gave it a specific smell. Laguna Hedionda (Stinking Lagoon), with a salinity level higher than 65%, has a wonderful volcanic landscape and some flamingo species adding more charm to it.

Laguna Hedionda
Laguna Hedionda
© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada
© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada

Laguna Cañapa

Laguna Cañapa (Cañapa Lagoon) has a beautiful deep blue color. Blue finally seems like a normal color for a lagoon, right? Still, this lagoon is not less unique than the others: the white color of the salt surrounding it, in contrast with the mountains in the background and its yellow vegetation, make it an extraordinary place to admire, with photogenic colors that need no filters.

Laguna Cañapa
Laguna Cañapa
© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada
© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada

Hot springs

Having the mentioned (and many other) lagoons around may make us feel like taking a swim for a while; nevertheless, it is not a good idea since the concentration of minerals in them is very high, and some of those can be harmful to our health. But do not worry! With more than 7000 km2 of extension, Eduardo Avaroa Reserve has a spot for everything. A place called Termas de Polques has healthy mineral water at a perfect temperature, running through an outdoor pool that will warm up while you relax and enjoy a magnificent view!

Termas de Polques
Termas de Polques
© iStock/marktucan
© iStock/marktucan

While the lagoons of colors and hot springs are convincing enough to visit this region, many more treasures are found inside the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve, so grab your winter clothes and let nature surprise you!


The author

Vanesa Zegada

Vanesa Zegada

I am Vanesa and I am from Bolivia. I am in love with my homeland. It never stops surprising me, even if I am a local. It is a place full of diversity, traditions, interesting spots that I want to share with you through my stories on itinari.

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