Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve

Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve

Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve
4.5
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Duration: More than 3 hours
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles260 reviews
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Seth Orch
Greater Sydney, Australia7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
Do not leave Arequipa without visiting this park. It has hot springs, salt flats, wildlife and beautiful Andean views. Too bad most tourists miss it. A day is enough but stay longer if you can.
Written 14 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

appetite4trvl
Chicago, IL1,940 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2012 • Friends
I was part of a group trip and this was one location on the agenda. I was nervous for this day because I knew we would be traveling to a height up to 16,100 feet above sea level. I had never been to high altitude and truly didn't know how my body would respond. Our bus stopped just outside of Arequipa for coca leaves before receiving instruction on the proper way to consume them. Coca leaves are sacred to the Quechua people and the consumption process definitely deserves respect. After driving for a few hours we came to a crossroads where we purchased coca tea and continued on our journey. The drive was definitely one that I will remember forever. The mountains are absolutely breathtaking and seeing the vicunas was a great treat. You're reminded how beautiful nature truly is when there's nothing around you.

I have a few pointers for first time high altitude-rs like me: #1 If you have the opportunity to purchase coca leaves, I would definitely tell you to take advantage of it. Don't let the fact that it's manufactured into an illegal substance discourage you. It tastes exactly like green leaves and does NOT give you a high or make your mouth tingle. It's not exactly delicious but I found that chewing the leaves helped with the altitude. #2 If you have the opportunity to purchase coca tea, I would tell you to drink it. The tea served at the tourist spot along the route was very delicious and didn't taste any different than most bush teas served primarily in the Caribbean. Most of the people in my group had coca tea and we never suffered stomach issues from drinking the water. The tea helped with the altitude as well. #3 Take it SLOOOOOW whenever you get out of your vehicle. For me at least, I definitely noticed the thin air. I felt extremely out of breath and no matter how much I panted and took deep breaths, I never felt as though it helped. #4 Any doctor will tell you to drink lots of water when you're heading into high altitude. That's mostly because your body evaporates water the higher you rise, even though you won't sweat or even realize that it's happening. Also, don't be surprised to notice that you're making quick trips to the restroom a little more frequently. That's another byproduct of being in high altitude. Drinking water helped my symptoms be not as severe. #5 Another common side effect of dealing with high altitude is headaches. I certainly noticed a throbbing headache at the back of my neck the higher we rose. The best way to describe it was similar to a tension headache when you need a good neck rub to feel better. Some people in my group took aspirin and said they felt better. #6 As we got closer to the peak I definitely felt the need to request oxygen. If you're traveling in a group or with a bona fide travel company, they should have a tank of oxygen available exactly for those moments. With my group we were allowed five minutes of oxygen free. Maybe I could have used ten minutes, but I definitely felt better after five. #7 At the rest stop where you purchase coca tea there are restrooms for you to use. Be prepared to pay S/1 for use of the toilet (approximately US$0.40). You are told that the payment is to help them maintain the facilities, but don't be alarmed that not all of the toilets actually flush. There is low water pressure at the faucet and not much in the way of soap for you to wash your hands, although there are portioned pieces of toilet paper for you to grab. #8 The ultimate takeaway is that you shouldn't be shocked at the toilets, and while it wouldn't hurt to carry your own roll of toilet paper with you (just remember you are NOT allowed to throw it in the toilet, but in the garbage instead), you DEFINITELY need to carry hand sanitizer with you at all times.
Written 1 January 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RobertS975
Massachusetts263 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2015 • Couples
We had our hotel staff (Libertador) arrange for an English speaking guide/driver to take us up towards Colca Canyon but not all the way... after the first noisy half-hour, one leaves the city. Once the road passes an enormous concrete plant, the countryside becomes more and more enthralling with every kilometer. The climb from the elevation of the AQP airport (8,400 feet above sea level) to the Reserve is gradual, and much to my delight, the condition of the road was generally excellent. Also, for those with a tendency towards acrophobia, you need not worry. There are no scary cliff side roads and there are ample guard rails. There are fantastic panoramas of the snow capped volcanic mountains El Misti and Chachani .

We saw a baby llama with its mother, several wild groups of vicuna, and many alpaca herds, including some crossing the road seemingly oblivious to the cars and buses.Just to see the wild life on the altiplanos (flat, high altitude pampas) was worth the trip. Just to see the scenic volcanos was also worth the trip.

There is a rest stop near Sumbay with a place to buy inexpensive refreshments, snacks as well as a decent selection of crafts and textile products from the native Andinas.

The road does get up to over 15,000 feet above sea level, and although were fine while seated in the car, upon getting out at the stop, we both felt a bit dizzy, almost as if we were a bit inebriated (hadn't touched a drop!). No headache or anything, but I was glad that our time at such a high altitude was to be brief, as we were driven back to Arequipa. I realized that I had never experienced such a thin atmosphere in my entire life ( 63 years old) with my previous high altitude being Pike's Peak Colorado as a teenager!

So, in summary, if your time is short and you do not want to go all the way to Colca Valley, the trip up to the high pass to the valley is well worth the time and effort. Total round trip was about 4 1/2 hours.

Written 25 April 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

asykeees
Bristol, UK40 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2018
We had a lovely day at Lake Salinas. We got picked up by our guide from our hotel at 7. Then we headed up through Arequipa to the mountain road. The road was narrow and windy and was also a gravel track for about 2/3 of the way. The views from the tops are truly breathtaking (definitely on par with the colca canyon). We saw alpacas, llamas and loads of flamingoes. Our guide then took us on to one of the little villages to look around- it’s astonishing to see that some people live up there!

On the way back down was a little bit dodgy. There is an extremely narrow piece of road with a 500m drop off the edge, to make it worse, the road has fallen rocks and boulders scattered all over it for drivers to dodge. I can’t believe that they still have the road open (or that they let tourists on it!). We relaxed after that part. As we came off the really windy road at the bottom disaster almost struck. Our car came off the road and into a drainage ditch on the side, somehow our driver managed to recover and came out of the ditch. We were very shaken but thankful we didn’t actually crash or that it hadn’t happened at a point with a bigger drop!

Overall, a good day with amazing scenery and an insight into local life. However, the road is dangerous and not for the feint hearted!
Written 1 April 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robertmsnz
Sumter, SC90 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2017 • Couples
We decided we wanted to visit the Laguna de Salinas (salt lake) not far from Arequipa. It is famous for wildlife viewing -- especially flamingos. We hired a private, local tour company. They advertised private transportation, a guide and a "box lunch." What they didn't tell us was the trip included about two hours of body-punishing, extreme dirt road battling for space with dozens of massive trucks carrying ore from a mine! I haven't had such a punishing ride since I used to play in a 4x4 in the Arizona desert, but minus the big trucks, that was much safer! For some reason, the driver favored hugging the left shoulder -- but that was the side with the unprotected, extreme drop from hundreds to perhaps 1,000+ feet. Breathtaking, but so was the pounding from the badly worn road. We did reach the lake (demonstrating the power of prayer) and got to admire thousands of flamingos. We also enjoyed seeing scores of vicuna, relatively rare, the guide said. A lunch break in a tiny village was interesting. But, the "box lunch" turned out to be a brown paper sack with a snack bar, a chocolate bar, some hard candies, an apple, a tangerine, an orange and a bottle of water. Yummy! Then, we resumed praying as we had to go back the other way over the mountainous mine road. Yay. Thank God for getting us over and back safely! Would I do it again? Ummm, no. Better to watch videos on YouTube.
Written 3 July 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RobyRoby26
London, UK29 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2015 • Couples
I went with a friend and we were very lucky to find this great guide Julio. He took us on a 4x4 in many places including teh salinas and the National reserve. What an amazing place. Nobody was around, so peaceful..such a magic atmosphere. You should not miss it if you are in Arequipa.
Written 18 July 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

minimize940314
Los Angeles, CA3,548 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2016 • Solo
Where you can see a lot of vicunas! They are very cute animals. Puno - Chivay route or Puno - Arequipa route tourist buses will stop at this point.
Written 6 June 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

stephandgio_m
Lima, Peru1,018 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2015 • Friends
Much of the route from Arequipa to Colca winds through the Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve. It’s definitely worth taking the time to stop a few times en route as it’s breathtakingly beautiful. There’s also lots of opportunities for photos of llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas.
Written 7 January 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DaisyandThyme
London, UK157 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2015 • Solo
I heard about Laguna de las Salinas in the Lonely Planet and immediately added to my list of places to visit in Arequipa! As I was travelling on my own and there is no organised tours I had to book a private one, it was expensive but totally worth it! This place is breathtaking, one of the most beautiful places that I visited during my trip. The laguna is surrounded by two volcanoes and their reflection in the salted water is stunning. Unfortunately there were no flamingos when I visited it but I saw a lot of alpacas and lamas. This place is out of the beaten track so it was just me and my guide there. Highly recommend it!
Written 1 October 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ninni N
8 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2017 • Couples
We did this trip with Jack from Peru Trek Calle Jerusalen 309A. You have to go to his office and the travel agent there will call him for you. They don't have a web page.
Jack is very nice and easy going. We talked to him, he explained the trip and payed. Next day 7am (he was punctual) he picked us up at the hotel with his 4x4 and 3 bikes in different sizes for two people. He told us that he only has tours with max 5 people, which makes it a very personal experience. We drove up to Pichupichu mountain. Along the way you get awesome views of Misti volcano and the landscape. We picked up a little boy who we left at school. We thought that this was very sweet of Jack.
Jack also stopped several times for good picture stops and told us a bit about the landscape.
When we arrived to the lake it was breathtaking beautiful. Only us, llamas and alpacas and two little farms of locals. The lake is surrounded by snow capped mountains. On the way back, we stopped to mount the mountain bikes. Jack had gloves, arm and leg protectors and a helmet for us. He drove very slowly behind us making sure everything goes well. At the entrance of Arequipa we climbed back in the car and he left us at the hotel.

The nice thing is that we were completely free to do what we wanted. He offered to stop whenever we want. We also had an hour or if we wanted a bit more to walk around the lake.

A great, must do trip with Jack!
Written 17 November 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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SALINAS Y AGUADA BLANCA NATIONAL RESERVE (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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