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Chaxa Lagoon (Laguna Chaxa)
Chaxa Lagoon (Laguna Chaxa)

Chaxa Lagoon (Laguna Chaxa)

Free admission
Reserna Nacional los Flamencos, Chile

The basics

As it is so accessible, Chaxa Lagoon often serves as an introduction to the Chilean salt flat. The salt-encrusted ground is fascinating but the wild flamingos are the main draw. A variety of other birds can be seen here as well, including the Andean avocet, the puna plover, and a type of sandpiper, a small bird with a long beak that feeds on small organisms in the mineral-rich water.

Multiple tour operators run excursions here from San Pedro de Atacama; ideal for those without vehicles or unwilling to tackle the drive. These tours typically include stops at such other nearby attractions as the village of Toconao and the valley of Quebrada de Jerez. This is an excellent way to check off several spots in one day

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Piedras Rojas - Altiplanicas - Chaxa
Piedras Rojas - Altiplanicas - Chaxa
$80.00 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Highly recommend tour and tour company!
Alejando, the owner of the tour company was so helpful and beyond just questions about the tour. The tour itself was amazing. Absolutely spectacular scenery. And at the end of the day seeing a fox was a special highlight.
Lloyd_N, Aug 2022

Things to know before you go

  • There is a small admission fee to access the lagoon.
  • The temperature can drop drastically after sunset so dress in layers.
  • It’s a good idea to bring a zoom lens as the birds tend to keep their distance.
  • Stay hydrated as the altitude and aridity can take its toll.
  • There is a small information center where you can learn about the flamingos. Displays are in Spanish and English.
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How to get there

Chaxa Lagoon is just under a 2-hour drive from San Pedro de Atacama. While part of the road is gravel, most vehicles can handle the drive. If you’d rather skip the driving, take a tour from San Pedro de Atacama instead.

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Trip ideas

How to Spend 2 Days in San Pedro de Atacama

How to Spend 2 Days in San Pedro de Atacama

How to Spend 1 Day in San Pedro de Atacama

How to Spend 1 Day in San Pedro de Atacama

Top Archaeological Sights in San Pedro de Atacama

Top Archaeological Sights in San Pedro de Atacama


When to get there

You can visit Chaxa Lagoon year-round. Summer, from December through February, promises pleasant day temperatures and warmer nights, but it is also the busiest time of year: fall and spring shoulder seasons are a quieter alternative. Sunrise and sunset are the best times for watching the birds.

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Toconao

Halfway between Chaxa Lagoon and San Pedro de Atacama, the small village of Toconao is worth a stop. Its name means “place of stones” in the indigenous Kunza (Atacameño) language and its buildings are made of a volcanic rock called liparita (pumice). The best-known piece of architecture is the 18th-century San Lucas Bell Tower and its also a great spot to shop for alpaca textiles and fruit.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Chaxa Lagoon (Laguna Chaxa)?
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in San Pedro de Atacama?
A:
As well as visiting the Chaxa Lagoon (Laguna Chaxa), check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: