Biking to Laguna Cejar - San Pedro, Chile
Apr 15, 2008
|We liked San Pedro so much that we decided to stay an extra day to bike around. Our goal was to bike to Laguna Cejar and to the Valley of the moon for another sunset.
At 8AM, we set off with four bikes. Nathan for the first time will be biking for more than 50km (distance to Laguna Cejar is 25km one way) and Jonathan has Joani on his bike.
The first half was fairly easy as the weather was cool and road was flat and hard. Then we started to hit rough roads, with bumps and sands. After almost two hours and not knowing whether we are going in the right direction, the Laguna Cejar suddenly appeared in front of us!
Laguna Cejar is a small but beautiful aqua colored salted lake with salt crystals all around its edges. There were even flamingos flying around us. The main attraction here is to float in the salted lake as the very, very salty water increases the buoyancy and one can easy float without any effort. When we each took turn swimming in the lake, we all laugh in amazement as we had never felt the sensation of the water pushing us up as if in space. One´s legs just kept floating up even when one tries to keep it down.
The salt crystal however was very sharp. Our feet and hands were getting cut badly by the sharp crystals, such that we all decided to wear our socks. Once, Jonathan is helping to hold Joani, lean towards the ground and supported himself by his hands, resulting in about 15 cuts on the palm. Because of the saltiness, it was not recommended to put one´s head down as the salt will stay inside the ear canal. Also, when one is swimming in the salt lake, one can feel all the sores in the body as everywhere will begin to sting. When we came up, our body and clothing were quickly cover with a layer of salt. Our swimming suit and socks begin rock hard with a layer of salt. It gave us lots of fun laugh.
Biking back, however, was no laughing matter as we were tired and biking through bumps and sand took a lot out of us. Jonathan´s both leg started cramping badly having to carry Joani on his bike. We also ran out of water in the middle of this hot desert. And then wind began to blow so hard against us that we had to get down and walk our bikes. It took us four hours to get back and we were so thirsty that we all ran to the first store we saw to get a large bottle of nice, icy soft drink. Hummmmm…. That was good. We were really proud of Nathan for biking all this way – the longest and the roughest surface he had done. He got a nice ice cream for his reward!
We were so tired and it was too late to go to the Valley of the Moon for sunset. We settled for a very needed shower to wash away all the salt, some large meals, and began packing for our trip to Bolivia through the Uyuni Salt Field.
1) Bike is 3,000 Pesos for 5 hours and 5,000 Pesos for 12 hours, but one can usually bargain for 24 hours and some more discounts for multiple bikes.