Laguna Roja, Chile - Would you ever have thought that water in paradise is red as blood?

This year I decided to spend Christmas and new year's eve with @lezra, in her home country, Chile.
In order not to pay too much for the plane ticket, I took a three-part flight, departing from Milan, with stopovers in Paris and Atlanta and finally in Santiago... With a total flight time of more than 30 hours...
In Santiago, there was @lezra waiting for me at the airport, and from there we took another plane together to finally get to Arica.
From Arica, we used a car to travel back to Santiago... truly an endless odyssey, but it was worth it, as it was one of the coolest trips I have ever made ...

Of all the places I have had the good fortune to visit in the north of Chile, Laguna Roja is probably the one that has impressed me the most, both because the place itself is so breathtakingly beautiful and also because the road to get there is unforgettable ... I will now explain why ­čśů

The Laguna is located at an altitude of about 5000 m and is not exactly easy to reach. You have to make your way between some small villages in the Chilean hinterland until you reach the town of Camina. Here you can pass police office to register your presence, and to indicate how many cars and people you intend to visit the lagoon with.

We arrived in town after lunch, around 4 pm, and when we told the police that we intended to go up to the lagoon, they advised us not to go saying that it was late... But that didn't stop us, and we decided to go up anyway...

Here I feel like giving you some advice, which I think is useful for all such trips. Let's start with an assumption, I am European and one of the things that impressed me most about Chile is the huge distances between the various towns/villages. Especially in the north of the country, it is the huge expanses of desert, where you may not meet a living soul for hours... In this type of travel, two things are very important:

  • Refuelling your car whenever you get the chance. Sometimes you can drive hundreds of kilometers before you find a petrol station... And especially if you need a specific one, you may not encounter one for hours. These are usually concentrated in the big cities so that in some mountain villages there are no petrol stations at all and the only way to fill up is to buy 10-20 liter jerry cans from shops (at more than double the price, of course)...
  • Download offline maps of the places you intend to visit. Internet connection in some areas is totally non-existent, and is mainly concentrated in the cities ... So even then you can spend whole hours without having any internet access.

In order to get to the lagoon, we then filled up the tank before setting off and above all downloaded the maps to get there... And here I began to understand the extent of this 'adventure'... The navigator gave a distance of 50 km, with a journey time of 2 hours... 2 hours yes... And it was 4 pm in the afternoon.

So we set off on our way, and the first 30 km doesn't even seem that prohibitive, it's on a mountain dirt road, so obviously, you can't go very fast, but you can keep up a 50/60 km/h pace. So I was really starting to wonder if the navigator's journey time wasn't wrong. But then I realized... At a certain point, the gravel road ended, and in front of us, there was an uneven expanse of large stones (not small stones, but real boulders) with what looked like a road in the middle... Let me just tell you that to do the last 5 km, we had to cross a river and from there on the worst part began and it took us 40 min to do it... Running on foot at a normal pace I would have done it sooner...
More than for myself (the road itself was not in an elevated position or with ravines on either side) I was worried about the car, whose suspension was being put to the test... Every time I felt the bottom touch against the stones a part of my heart would break...

When we arrived at the lagoon, we parked the car a few hundred meters from the lagoon and continued on foot from there. You will recognize the place to park because it is to the left of the only habitable building you can see within 50 km.
I recommend that you bring waterproof shoes because there is a small river to cross.

And from there on you go up the lagoon.... You slowly see the ground begin to turn red, first with a few specks and then more and more until you see the first rivulets of water that look blood-red given the color of the ground... And finally, we come to the area of the lakes. There are four in total and the main one is as red as it seems that it is filled with blood.... A spectacle for the eyes...

The main lagoon, colored red, is the one that is clearly larger than the others, and getting good photos without the aid of a drone is not easy, because the area is very flat around it... But luckily for us, we had a drone at our disposal and the photos/videos we took are spectacular.

The return journey was obviously as eventful as the outward journey, with the addition that we left at 7 pm and traveled most of the way at night...
Perhaps having lost the element of surprise, the return journey was not as frightening as the outward journey. The hardest part was this time the change in altitude after having been at that very high altitude which gave us a big headache.

the video/gif was made by me using a drone

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All photos were taken with our phones or with the drone.
Farewell image and text separators, created by me with Canva

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