The jaw-dropping Laguna Colorada (Red Lagoon) has been placed alongside the Salar de Uyuni salt flats as ‘Bolivia’s most incredible natural wonder.’ It’s not hard to understand why when you see its beauty, peculiarity and spectacular setting. The water of the lake is only one meter deep and magnificently shifts between deep blue and dark red. Despite folklore suggesting that the water is the blood of Gods, the bloody red color is in fact caused by red sediments and algae in the water.
Laguna Colorada is located close to the Chilean border and stretches across 6000 hectares. Dotted across the lagoon are white borax island, whose color contrasts with that of the water. The various colours across the lake combine with the clear blue sky and distant snow-capped Andes mountains to create a setting that photographers all around the world are desperate to capture.
One of Laguna Colorada’s biggest attractions is spotting the flocks of flamingos that settle here. Three of the world’s six species of flamingo are found here because of the abundance of plankton in the lake. The largest population of the incredibly rare James’ Flamingo can be found here. Amazingly, the James’ Flamingo was even thought to be extinct until a small population was rediscovered in 1956. Although they are plentiful here, they remain a continually threatened specie and are still classified as endangered. The other two species of flamingo that you will come across here are the Chilean and Andean.
Those who want to see the flamingos should come during the summer as the lake is packed with them at this time of year. Whereas, the handful that remain during the Winter are the ones who don’t have the strength to migrate from the bitter cold season.
Interesting fact: Flamingos are born with white and grey feathers, which gradually turn pink because of a natural pink dye called canthaxanthin which comes from the food they eat. The red algae in Laguna Colorada stains their feathers to a beautiful vibrant pink.
Laguna Colorada is easy to access and also part of all 3-day Salar de Uyuni tours.