Atacama Salt Flat is the biggest salt deposit in Chile. It has a rough white surface below which there is a large salt lake. The salt flat has a surface area of 750,000 acres (300,000 km2), which can be appreciated in its entirety thanks to the clarity of the air. However, this great visibility distorts one's perception of distance.
The lake under the salt flat has one of the largest lithium reserves in the world. This mineral is highly used in the technology industry, and it is exploited in the southern area of the flat. This salt layer has holes which have become small lagoons which are home to a number of aquatic birds, such as flamingoes, red-gartered coots, and guallatas. There are also fauna species like the Chilean and the Andean Flamingo, Puna Plover, Hudson Mohawk, Andean Seagull, Austral Negrito, Burrowing Owl, and some types of Swallow.
The surroundings of the salt flat also have a large number of attractions. On the North and West side there is the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountain Range), a chain of hills with in the shape of dinosaurs located by the route connecting Calama and San Pedro de Atacama.
Chaxa Lagoon: Chaxa Lagoon is part of Los Flamencos National Reserve and it is located 56 kms south of San Pedro de Atacama. On its surface you can see floating salt pieces blocks created by the evaporation of subterranean water. There is also a varied avifauna, the main species being the flamingo. Chaxa is not apt for swimming, and its surroundings have sharp, slippery rocks, so it is recommended to wear good shoes.