Laguna Colorada, or the Red Lagoon, is a shallow salt lake located at an altitude of 14,000 feet in the southwest of the altiplano of Bolivia, within Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve and close to the border with Chile. Dotted with white islands of massive borax deposits, the nearly 15,000-acre salt lake is less than three feet deep, and is tinted blood red due to a variety of algae which thrive in the salt water. The plankton rich lake draws a large number of endangered James flamingos, which is another highlight of the lake.
The altiplano has many large lagoons also known for their brilliant colours due to the minerals in their waters, for instance, Laguna Verde is known for its remarkable emerald-green waters. But Laguna Colorada is the only large red lagoon in the Reserve.
The majority of the landscape around Laguna Colorada is desert rocks and salt deposits. The air temperature is often below freezing at dawn but warms decently during the summer months making excursions into the Reserve quite pleasant. Another famous location, the salt flats of Salar De Uyuni, lies not far away.
The Reserve around Laguna Colorada is home to a wide variety of indigenous birds and animals that amazingly thrive in the hostile landscape. Three of the world's six flamingo species - Chilean, Andean and James flamingoes - inhabit the freshwater lakes and saltwater lagoons of the Reserve. The Reserve also provides habitat to mammals include pumas, Andean foxes and cats, domesticated llamas and alpacas, as well as reptiles, amphibians and fish.
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