The two lagoons Laguna Verde and Laguna Blanca are located in the southwest of Bolivia. Due to minerals, the water shimmers in a rich green and bright white respectively, conjuring up breathtaking plays of colour in the reddish-brown desert landscape of the Bolivian Andes.
Laguna Verde is located in the southwest of Bolivia on the border with Chile. It is located in the Andina Eduardo Abaro National Park at the foot of the Licancabur volcano and is one of our top 10 sights of Bolivia.
In the midst of the breathtaking lunar landscape of the Bolivian Andes, also called Altiplano, the Laguna Verde is an unmistakable splash of colour. Anyone who sees the lagoon knows immediately where its name "Green Lagoon" comes from. At the foot of the 4,329-metre-high Licancabur in the midst of Bolivia's dark mountains, the bright green lake looks like something from another world.
The intense colour is caused by minerals. Magnesium, calcium carbonate, lead and arsenic make the water glow depending on the sunlight. The stronger the wind blows over the water surface, the more sediment is stirred up and the darker the green becomes. The colour shades range from delicate turquoise to intense emerald green.
By the way, the mineral mixture of the Laguna Verde is not for flamingos. Instead, the pink-feathered birds prefer to stay at the neighbouring Laguna Blanca. This is only separated from the Laguna Verde by a narrow channel, but has a completely different mineral composition.
With a surface area of almost 11 square kilometres, the Laguna Blanca ("White Lagoon") is almost twice as large as the Laguna Verde. Here again, other minerals are at work, which make the lagoon shine in a very light green, almost white. When the sun shines on the surface of the water, the Laguna Blanca is a truly dazzling sight.
The bright colours of the two lagoons against the reddish-brown mountains leave an unforgettable image in the memory of every visitor.
Tip: The high altitude of the two lagoons requires acclimatisation to the altitude air as slowly as possible. On the way from San Pedro de Atacama, it is advisable to take several breaks. Even though it is not hot, but just pleasantly warm when the sun is shining - sun protection is an absolute must!
Approach to Laguna Blanca and Laguna Verde
The best way to reach the two lagoons is from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. Crossing the Bolivian crater landscape in the southwest of Bolivia by off-road vehicle is no problem. The border crossing formalities for Chile can be done directly in San Pedro de Atacama, for entry into Bolivia there is a small hut on the way to the lagoons.
Those who want to avoid the border crossing can book a three- to five-day tour from Bolivia's Uyuni at the famous Salar de Uyuni.
Tip: The Laguna Colorada, a blood-red lake with swarms of flamingos, is also nearby and completes the colour shades of green and white with its rich red.