Another early rise, as today would be our longest day of travel, attempting to cover the main attractions of the Eduardo Avaroa Reserve.
Continuing along the valley road we met up with some of the locals, who seemed much more interested in each other than with their visitors, if you catch my drift.
The Reserve continues to open out in new ways, today the shrubs and cacti are replaced by the odd tuft of grass. We've officially gone to Harshness Level 2.0.
But its never too high or harsh for a cheeky star jump!
While we were treated to clear skies today, it was chilly out in the wind.
One of the first stops of the day is a lake where the minerals extracted form one of the ingredients of shampoo. Definitely not the perfumed aspect, it stank! Flamingos here were shy and were beyond the range of my ancient telefoto.
We drive out to see Lagunas Blanca and Verde that sit next to each other but have completely different characteristics. Laguna Blanca is the larger and more sedate of the two, frequented by flamingos in the centre of the valley and backed by Volcan Juriques.
Laguna Verde on the other hand (pictured above) is highly toxic to wildlife and sprawls dramatically in the shadow of Volcan Licancabur (on the right, Volcan Juriques is on the left).
The different chemical balances here in the Eduardo Avaroa Reserve are so fine that while everything keeps to the 'big and rocky' theme, even to the untrained eye there is nuance and subtlety to this landscape.
Lunch was delayed by a dip in the Termas Polques on the shores of Laguna Chalviri.
We could have stayed in there all day to be honest!
The strong smell of sulphur announced our arrival at Geiser Sol de Manana. Bubbling pools of mud and small craters surrounded the main 'vent'.
The force was relentless, which made me wonder how much of a surge it would take to blow apart the ground that we were standing on. I still don't understand how something can function with such ferocious consistency for a seemingly indefinite period of time. Like Rotorua in New Zealand or Old Faithful in the USA, some geysers appear nowhere near as crazy as the volcanoes that surround them, but they must be on a knife edge below ground.
The last stop for the day was Laguna Colorado, one of the most famous landmarks in the entire reserve, known for its distinctive brown colour. The clouds had come over at this point which stripped the lake of some of it's radiance, but still made for an interesting view.
We stopped on a promontory in front of the flamingo colonies who seemed totally unbothered by us which made photographs easy. After a brief detour in the wrong direction along the banks, we were reunited with our Jeeps. The day was finished by a long and technical descent to Villa Mar.