Laguna Baltinache in Black and White

Pool of water at Laguna Baltinache in black and white

So where did I leave off? Oh yes, my South America trip. After Easter Island, I headed back to the mainland of Chile. I started in Santiago, then moved north to Antofagasta, before driving across the Atacama Desert. The desert was beautiful, but it can’t hold a candle to Death Valley, in my opinion. Still, there was one highlight, and that was a trip to Laguna Baltinache. In today’s blog post I tell you everything you need to know about visiting, plus share with you my best photos of Laguna Baltinache in black and white.

I visited the Atacama Desert March 5 through 9 of this year. My trip to the Laguna Baltinache was the last thing on my agenda in the desert and it was worth the wait. I thought the colors of the Atacama Desert paled (literally) next to that of Death Valley and the geological formations just weren’t epic enough in comparison to what I had experienced in California. Still, the stunning oasis of water in the middle of the desert at Laguna Baltinache blew me away.

Color photo of winding stream at Laguna Baltinache

Of course, nothing comes for free, and the road out to Laguna Baltinache was the worst I had experienced during my trip. The road was bumpy and littered with shredded tires from cars that didn’t fare well on their trip. Many times during the trip I considered turning back, but I’m glad I pushed forward. Well, dear readers, my car survived in order that I would share with you these photos.


This is Laguna Baltinache in color:

Color photo of Laguna Baltinache salt formations

And this is Laguna Baltinache in black and white:

Black and white photo of salt formations at Laguna Baltinache

Personally, I’m more a fan of Laguna Baltinache in black and white. Something about the contrast between the white salt deposits and the black volcanic rock comes across better.

Line of salt formations Laguna Baltinache in black and white

In case you are curious about the scientific origins of the lagoons, they are the remainders of the great Chilean ocean that once existed where the Atacama Desert stands today. The remaining lagoons are the condensed puddles of that great body of water, and accordingly, the water salinity level is extremely high. At times the water is said to be saltier than even the Dead Sea.

Mountain and Laguna Baltinache in black and white

If you are planning your own trip to Laguna Baltinache (and there are several other lagoons in the Atacama Desert worth visiting, such as Laguna Chaxa with the flamingos), know that you should plan about two hours to get there from San Pedro de Atacama. Drive a car with a spare tire (a four-wheel drive vehicle would be even better), and drive slowly. When you arrive, the cost is 5,000 Chilean pesos. There are sufficient toilet and shower facilities as well as picnic tables at Laguna Baltinache, but no food for sale. There are seven lagoons in total at Laguna Baltinache, and you can swim in the first and last lagoons. Personally, I found the water to be a bit chilly. Note that the rocky bottom of the lagoon is quite painful, so wear reef shoes.

Pathway at Laguna Baltinache in black and white

Eventually, I’ll have more photos from the rest of my trip, including my tango photo shoot in Buenos Aires. If you would like to see a preview of these images, then head over to my Instagram account — @KellyWilliamsPhotographer. Furthermore, I have the highlights from my South American trip posted on my travel and street photography website,

Side of lagoon at Laguna Baltinache in black and white

Wide vista of Laguna Baltinache in black and white

Rocks jutting out of Laguna Baltinache in black and white

High contrast image of Laguna Baltinache in black and white

S-curved pathway at Laguna Baltinache in black and white

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