Laguna Cejar

Our second tour that had its start in San Pedro de Atacama was the one to Laguna Cejar. It is actually not only one lagoon that is visited, but five. The thing that caught our, and especially my, interest was that two of the lagoons were possible to swim in, and are as salt as the dead sea. I long ago saw pictures of people swimming in the dead sea and got very fascinated about it, it looked very relaxing and strange.

The first stop on the tour was to pay the admissions, this time a hefty €18, but here showers etc. are supplied to get rid of the salt after the swim in the lagoon. Our guide started explaining about the salt flats of Atacama, that the lagoons are situated in the middle of. The salt is roughly 1000 meters thick, and floats on water that is below it. The salt is there because very long ago the ocean used to be there, and when it got cut off by the mountains it ultimately dried up and left all the salt.

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The first lagoon we saw was the one actually called Cejar. It was only for viewing and not swimming in, why our guide Carlos (who spoke really good English!), said that go there first and take a few pictures, then change clothes and enjoy a swim in the two lagoons which you can swim in.

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Ahh! Why can not all water you swim in be like this, as long as you dont roll over to your side you can lie there all day long, relaxed! Some people even brought phones and cameras as the water lifts you so high you dont have to worry about them getting close to it.

Apparently one of the lagoons is 35 meters deep, and the other one of unknown depth. A descendant of Jacques Cousteau had been there with the intention of getting to the bottom of it, but gave up at 100 meters depth. It therefore remains a mystery how deep it is.

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Did I mention that the water is SALT?! This is Linns legs, even after showering. Because of our salty and wet hands we didnt capture how it looked before the shower, but it will suffice to say that the showers were a welcome amenity.

After everyone were finished getting amazed by the salty lagoons and got cleaned up we got back in the tour bus and headed to the next stop, Los ojos del salar. The eyes of the salt flat is two sweet(!) water “eyes” in the middle of the salt flat, and the fact that there is two of them and that they are adjacent to each other gave them their name, as they look like two eyes.

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It is two rather big eyes, in the middle of the desert.

The reason they are not salt is probably because a nearby river disappears underground and shows in these two holes in the salt flat. The only salt in them is what the wind brings there, and after a dip in one of them I can account for the fact that they are very much like our lake Mälaren at home, maybe a bit cleaner.

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The final stop was at the last lagoon, this one was in the process of evaporation, that is the water is on its way to leave which creates a very white layer of salt, similar to the salt flats in Uyuni.

The day was finished with some Pisco sour, cheese, olives while watching the sunset. Wikivoyage was completely right about the fact that the tourists are way more chatty on their way back from the tour.

2 thoughts on “Laguna Cejar

  • 6 April, 2017 at 20:06
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    Just a note to inform other readers that swimming is not allowed in the Ojos del Salar, because of the delicate bacteria and microorganism that lives in them can easily be destroyed by people’s PH, perfumes, deodorant and sunblock. One of them has already been heavily contaminated by tourists and the ‘sweet water’ seems to be no longer. Let’s promote responsible tourist protocols!

    Reply
    • 21 May, 2017 at 13:08
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      This needs to be promoted more if that is the case, all the guides were letting everyone swim til their hearts content. They even drove the bus close so people could jump from the roof into the water. Great with some insight, do you know if the guides have stopped doing this?

      Reply

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