Located just 20 miles from the town of San Pedro de Atacama, this unusual desert sinkhole attracts many visitors. Filled with water, Cejar Lagoon (Laguna Cejar) is popular for the opportunity it provides to take a dip in the middle of the desert. The water can have salt concentrations up to 30 percent, which makes floating not only easy, but also pretty much impossible to avoid. For this reason, the lake is often compared to the Dead Sea and is sometimes called the “floating lake.” The top few inches of water are often warm from the sun, while there are cold currents down below, making for a mixed swimming experience.
Even if you decide not to swim in this “floating lake,” enjoy the view and how the glassy surface reflects the scenery back to you, including the Domeyko mountain range. Flamingos occasionally fly overhead and the lake is ringed white with residual salt, while the blue of the lake contrasts with the yellow tussock grass that grows all around.
Cejar Lagoon can be visited on a half-day trip, so it's still manageable if you have an afternoon flight out of Calama. Those with sensitive skin should bring fresh water to rinse off the salt and keep their faces out of the lagoon water.