Laguna Hedionda is a salt lake situated near Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat and one of South America’s most popular attractions. It is most famous for its migratory species of pink and white flamingos. This lake has a high saline content of 66-80% and an average depth of just under one foot. The name Laguna Hedionda fittingly means ‘Stinking Lake’ in Spanish after the unappealing smell caused by its high sulfur content. Luckily, the peculiar smell isn’t too strong and won’t impact your visit.
Set in the backdrop of stunning snow-covered mountains, Laguna Hedionda is the most beautiful of a group of six lagoons located within close proximity to each other. An array of flamingos can be found roaming the salt flats and bofedales (wetlands) that are spread over the periphery of the lake.
Visitors are enthralled by the unusual flora and native fauna surrounding the lake. Contrary to Laguna Colorada, the flamingos that you will find here are mostly white because the algae that causes the pink color is significantly less in Laguna Hedionda. Other bird species who flock to this tranquil lake include ducks and the Andean goose. Llamas and alpacas can be seen grazing in the surrounds along with the potential sighting of vicuñas for those who are lucky enough to arrive on the right day. The catchment area of the lake is covered with dwarf scrub and semi-desert steppe. This is topped off black volcanic rock and coal deposits that are scattered around the edge of the lake, creating a setting like something out of another planet.
Laguna Hedionda is the lunch stop for 3 day Salar de Uyuni tours. Savor the incredibly scenic views while enjoying a delicious chicken milanesa in the nearby restaurant. There is also a small hotel here for those who want to visit outside the tour and stay the night.