Cejar Lagoon (Laguna Cejar)
The Cejar Lagoon is a unique sight amid the dusty plains and sandy plateaus of the Atacama Desert. Admire the views from the shore, then stroll down to the beach and take a swim in the salty waters—with a salt concentration of around 20%, you will find yourself floating effortlessly on the surface. Visit the lagoon on a half-day tour from San Pedro de Atacama or combine it with other lagoons such as the Ojos del Salar on a full-day tour.
Things to know before you go
- Pack sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water to combat the desert heat, and don’t forget your swimsuit. Bring warm clothing for the evening, too, as temperatures can drop quickly—even in summer.
- There is an admission fee to swim in the lagoon, but you can admire the views from afar without paying.
- The salty water can be very drying to your skin; you will probably want to shower upon returning to your hotel. When swimming, take care not to get the water in your eyes.
- The desert has scarce cellphone service, and only a few San Pedro de Atacama hotels offer Wi-Fi.
- The Cejar Lagoon is surrounded by natural banks of salt deposits, which can be uneven and loose in places; access for wheelchairs and strollers is limited.
How to get there
Cejar Lagoon lies in the Atacama Desert, about 18 miles (29 kilometers) south of San Pedro de Atacama. Regular taxis, shared taxis, and tours run from San Pedro de Atacama to the lake; about a 30-minute journey.
When to get there
Summer (December–February) is the most popular time to explore; with warm weather fit for swimming in the lagoon. Winter (June–August) visits can be equally rewarding and it’s still possible to swim, although temperatures can plummet below freezing at night.
Lagoons of the Atacama Desert
One of the most unusual features of the Atacama Desert is the Atacama Salt Lake (Salar de Atacama), which stretches over an area of 40,000 square miles (100,000 square kilometers), and is one of the world’s largest reserves of salt and lithium. Cejar Lagoon is one of several lagoons created by the salt lake. Other popular spots to visit include the Miscanti and Chaxa lagoons in Los Flamencos National Reserve; the Ojos del Salar, two sinkholes that resemble a gigantic pair of eyes; and the Tebinquiche Lagoon, where you can walk across the glittering salt flats.
- Puritama Hot Springs (Termas Baños de Puritama)
- Atacama Desert
- Los Flamencos National Reserve (Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos)
- Ojos del Salar
- Institute of Archaeological Research and R. P. G. Le Page Museum (Instituto de Investigacio
- Church of San Pedro de Atacama
- Rainbow Valley (Valle del Arcoiris)
- El Tatio Geysers
- Pukara de Quitor
- Chaxa Lagoon (Laguna Chaxa)
- Tulor Village
- Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna)
- Tebenquiche Lagoon
- Atacama Salt Flats (Salar de Atacama)