Toconao & Salar de Atacama
Northern Chile, Chile
Head into the Atacama Desert to visit the atmospheric village of Toconao, before continuing to the great Salar de Atacama, a huge saltpan where flamingos and many bird species feed against a majestic backdrop of the high Andes.
Head south of San Pedro to Toconao, famous for its buildings made of liparite volcanic stone. There, you can visit its church and historic bell tower, as well as visit the booths of craftspeople who offer their goods in the square. Next to Toconao is Jere creek, a canyon with the only running fresh water in these surroundings. This spring crosses and irrigates a rich orchard of fruit trees and farmed vegetables. Then, continue on to Chaxa pond, a National Reserve located at the Atacama Salt Flat. This pond is surrounded by salt crusts and gypsum produced by the evaporation of salty ground water. Here we can observe the flamingos that inhabit the Salt Flat, as well as other native bird species. This is undoubtedly a landscape of captivating beauty from which you can see the Domeyko Range, the Salt Range and the Andes Range - a panorama that becomes particularly splendid at dusk.