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The Altiplano (Spanish for high plain), where the Andes are at their widest, is the most extensive area of high plateau on earth outside of Tibet.

In the case of the Andes, it is an area of inland drainage lying in the central Andes, occupying parts of Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. Its height averages about 3,300 meters (11,000 feet), somewhat less than that of Tibet. Unlike the Tibetan Plateau, however, the Altiplano is dominated by the massive peaks of active volcanoes to the west. The Atacama Desert, the second-driest area on the whole planet, lies to the southwest of the Altiplano.

Lagunas Miñiques and Miscanti



Laguna Miscanti is a brackish water lake located in the altiplano. Miñiques volcano and Cerro Miscanti tower over this lake. This heart-shaped lake has a deep blue color. The western shoreline of the lake is separated by less than 1 km from the drainage divide between the lake and the Salar de Atacama basins.

A lava flow from an eruption of Miñiques separated Laguna Miscanti from Laguna Miñiques.

The lakes are part of one of the seven sectors of Los Flamencos National Reserve and are flamingo breeding sites.

After viewing the birds at Laguna Chaxa in the morning and breakfast at the viewing site (our guide had brought packed sandwiches, cheese and beverages), we headed further south and up the altiplano towards the Lagunas Miniques and Miscanti. They are located 117 km. from San Pedro.

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Altiplano_Miniques

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