The night was cold. Very cold. And what was worse, still no peanut soup.
We had been warned that we would be sleeping in typical local housing. This means with no heating and little to no insulation. We had sleeping bags plus three covers and we felt like we were freezing to death. Another interesting experience that night was linked to the hight. I’ve never been this out of breath from turning over in my bed. But the morning came and with that the long awaited Reserva nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa. Quite a mouthful, eh?
We were the lucky first to be able to enter the national park after a long period of snow. This however, doesn’t mean that the park presented itself quite in the useful way. We became aware of this when our driver started sneaking pictures more and more frequently through his window. When asked, he confirmed that in the 20 years he’d been doing this tour he’d never seen that much snow in the park. Good for us. Even better was the stop before lunch.. Still slightly frozen we stopped at the hot springs.. and we weren’t the only ones, birds and vicuñas were also hanging around enjoying the warmth and the non-frozen water.
From there we drove to the Laguna Verde y Blanca. Our driver already told us to keep expectations low. Even though the laguna is reachable again we’d still need some wind to turn the laguna from a perfect mirror into the radiating green that gave it its name.
We arrived at the laguna and realized that it was still completely frozen. Not only that but we’d rejoined the main circuit of the salt flat tours and the number of tourists tripled.. There were almost 30 people there. Our guide stopped and told us we’d have lunch here and wait to see if the laguna would unfreeze in the mean time. It had the nice side effect that after twenty minutes all the other cars (except one) had left and we were completely by ourselves with the most amazing views.
The next thing that happened was that the one remaining car wouldn’t start. Our driver asked for permission to come to the rescue. Of course, we didn’t want to be responsible for those people being left behind. So we ended up spending almost two hours on the spot and in the end the laguna started unfreezing!! Almost simultaneously a light breeze picked up and revealed why the green lagoon is called the green lagoon.
Very happy (I think the other car may have been even slightler more happy than us when the car finally started) we drove on towards the laguna colorada, where the flamencos were waiting for us.. And the lamas and some quoiche.
Unfortunately by the time we arrived there, it was absolutely wind still again. So we didn’t get to see the coloring of the laguna colorada. We did get an absolutely lovely mirroring of the surrounding mountains though and we were quite distracted by the flamencos anyways.