Day 75: Early morning flamingos, Altiplanic Lagoons & Red Stones

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Early morning today as we set off on our second tour at 7am. Luckily we were the first to be picked up and were happy to see our tour guide was Osi again from yesterday. We watched the sun rise driving around picking others up and then were on to the Laguna Chaxa to see the last of the flamingoes before they migrate. It was FREEZING, but well worth it to see these guys in the wild, and a beautiful setting to have breakfast and get to know the rest of our group (two of which were on our tour yesterday too!).

Next we visited the town of Socaire which was a tiny sleepy village and practically empty except for another tour and two little friendly scruffy inhabitants who helped us explore the towns newest church. We had a quick peak at it’s bell tower and inside, and then looked at the other church in the village, which is basic but beautiful in its own way, and very impressively still standing and still in regular use despite being HOW OLD? Very. (We don’t remember, and can’t seem to find the year it was built online).

A long drive (and a small nap) afterwards and we were off to Laguna Miscanti, which is another beautiful, crystal clear lagoon flanked by incredible views of the volcanoes and mountains in Chile and the ‘Red Rocks’ phenomenon. There were no flamingoes here but there were our first look at some Chilean salt flats. A short drive away from here was Laguna Miniques, where we climbed a hill to take in the views from a different direction, and admire the ‘Red Rocks’ from a different perspective. We all agreed this was the most beautiful place we visited, but it was certainly the windiest and also the highest, so feeling a bit woozy, we decided to head to lunch, back in Socaire.

Lunch was a delightful schlop of vegetable soup and fried quinoa (both kinda nice) and talk of Brexit with our Argentinian friends wondering how it will affect them in the future as they love London and want to live there for a year. It was a bit surreal to be honest.

Feeling sleepy again and we were back on the road to our last stop which was the sweet little town of Toconao. Here we went through the back door of a shop to see our first llama up close and personal. She was in an enclosure with two sheep and we all felt a bit uncomfortable seeing her in such a small place, but were assured this was only for tourist visits and the rest of the day she roamed freely around the town. Not sure about that, but we weren’t about to argue with the locals.

Calmallama down ?

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There was a tiny town square and another church to wander about, but it wasn’t long before we were back in the car and headed back to San Pedro.

In the evening, we had planned to meet up with the rest of our group to have pizza but we had to go and book our salt flat tour and by the time we were done with all that, we couldn’t find the restaurant anywhere, which was frustrating, but we are all booked on the early morning tour tomorrow so we will see them there!

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