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A day trip to Salinas and Aguada Blanca Reserve


Roughly 110km northeast of Arequipa you find the Salinas and Aguada Blanca – a vast natural reserve spanning more than 350.000 hectares, which was created in 1979 to guarantee the protection of the vicuña, the national animal Peru. The reserve comprises a range of spectacular natural scenery such as wetlands, meadows, thermal springs, salt lakes and volcanoes. With its spectacular vistas and unique wildlife this was one of my favourite destinations in Peru. Indeed, being cheap to visit, very accessible and relatively untouristed you simply have no excuse for not adding this place to your Peru itinerary. Not convinced? Well, let me tell you the story of my visit and see if it changes your mind…

salinas y aguada blanca arequipa
salinas y aguada blanca arequipa


Getting to and from Salinas and Aguada Blanca is relatively painfree as it’s only a 2 hours drive from Arequipa. Most tours commence in the early morning hours so that you can make it back for lunch. In my case I was picked up at my hostel Arequipay Hostel at 5.30am and after a quick stop for a coffee and a sandwich at the local at the local San Camilo Market, we were making our way towards the natural reserve. As it’s a guided tour you will be told interesting things along the way about the nature and wildlife and we made several stops at places that provided spectacular views of the volcanic range that surrounds Arequipa. Our entrance at the natural reserve was immediately evident by a drastic change of scenery from dry, desert-like climate to more fertile wetlands populated with huge, wild flocks of camelides including both llamas, alpacas and the rare-to-spot vicuñas. I am not usually into wildlife, but this was an unforgettable experience that rivals some of my African safaris.

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The actual destination of the tour was a small flat area close to a lake, where we stopped for an hour and had time to explore the surroundings. The area includes a lake packed with flamingoes, large herds of camelides, which you can get very close to, a dried up salt field surrounding the lake as well as natural hot springs coming from the underground, where you can take a refreshing dip – the temperature of the water was almost 30°C! All of this combined with the spectacular view of the Arequipean volcanoes in the horizon made this one hour visit one of my best nature experiences in all of Peru rivalling the views from Machu Picchu and the Colca Canyon.

Spectacular view over The Salinas and Aguda Blanca


Do you want to know about this amazing place? visit salinas and aguada blanca reserve






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