Photoblog: Lagoons, Sierras and Salt Flats of Uyuni, Bolivia

Posted on July 12, 2009 by

The Southern part of Bolivia lies the vast area of Reserva Natural Andina (Andean Nature Reserve) that is blessed with incredible landscape, larger-than-life mountain range, volcanoes and lagoons. Llamas and alpacas roam freely in the wild and cactus fill the endless deserts. The stunning Salar (salt flats) of Uyuni that stretches across 13,000km2 of area is amazing in its grandeur, reflecting the clear skies on its white surface.

We went on a 4-day safari through the wilderness where electricity and heating were minimal. Climbing as high as 5000m, it was freezing cold especially in the night. Life in the mountains can be bitter especially for the native Bolivians who call the mountains home. Let Alberto’s photos tell the stories of this amazing part of Bolivia that truly captures the soul of the country.

Sierra de Silla             Sierra de Sillar (Saddle Mountain Range)

Laguna HediondaLaguna Hedionda (Hedionda means ‘smelly’ in Spanish)

Aguascalientes                                        Aguascalientes (Thermal Spring) right in the heart of the reserve

Laguna Verde   Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon is named for its color thanks to the plankton)

Geyser                                                                  Geysers Sol de Manana

Llama at Laguna Colorada                                                     Llama grazing Laguna Colorada in the morning light

tn_IMG_2406                                                           Llamas and Flamencos at Laguna Colorada

What used to be the sea millions of years ago, the Salar de Uyuni (Salt Flats) is formed naturally by the salt water carried down along the slopes of the surrounding mountains. With time, the water gets evaporated, creating an entire area of thick layer of salt. The Salt flat is so vast that from the distance, one can even see the curvature of the Earth.

Salar at daybreak                                                                  Salar de Uyuni at sunrise

View from Isla de Pescado                                                View of the Salar from Isla del Pescado (Fish Island)

The island stands in the midst of the endless salt flat, with countless cactus standing proudly reaching into the clear blue skies.

Cactus on Isla del Pescado                                                                            Cactus on Isla del Pescado

Salt Hotel                                                              Salt Hotel built entirely with salt

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Jeep tour La Torre Tours organizes 4-day trips through the white deserts and lagoons of the Nature Reserve and Salar de Uyuni, for 1200Bolivianos (120euros). The trip starts from Tupiza and ends in Uyuni. All meals and basic accommodation are included.

Remember to stock up on medication (especially for altitude sickness) and warm clothing (it gets as low as –20degC at night).

Contact [email protected] for information.

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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

27 Responses to “Photoblog: Lagoons, Sierras and Salt Flats of Uyuni, Bolivia”

  1. The Travel Tart July 12, 2009 1:36 am #

    I did this trip in 2007 and loved it. I note you have photos of the Aguas Calientes pool. I took a dip in there when it was -15 degrees C air temperature. Since the water is around 35 degrees C, or near body temperature, it felt hot as soon as I entered the pool. However, I dipped my head underneath the water, and when I came back up, my hair had frozen in a few minutes! I could hear my hair crackling (ie. the ice) whenever I touched it! It's spectacular part of the world there!

  2. Liane July 12, 2009 7:04 am #

    this is beautiful!… i love your travel adventures! :) keep writing! hope u r well!

  3. Cat July 12, 2009 1:19 pm #

    What fantastic photos! I'm currently working on a salt flats tour provider ranking website. I'd really appreciate it if you could spare 2 minutes to fill in our review form for the salt flats tour you did so that other people booking can easily choose a tour company that's what they want. You'll find the form at http://www.triptiv.com/uyunisaltflats/submitreview . You can see our comparison pages at http://www.triptiv.com/uyunisaltflats . Thank you! Cat

  4. Samuel Peterson July 13, 2009 11:34 pm #

    These snaps are really beautiful the place is awesome, I like you travel blog very much; keep it up you done well.

    • Nellie October 12, 2009 2:44 pm #

      Aww Samuel, thanks for the encouraging words!

  5. Nick July 21, 2009 3:34 am #

    i did the 4WD tour in 2005 – your pics brings back such fond memories !!

  6. Amanda December 8, 2009 10:29 am #

    Looks like quite the adventure! Your photography is beautiful. I'll be sure to visit the Salt Flats of Uyuni if i ever travel to Bolivia! Trust me its on my ever growing list of places to visit. Although I'm sure i need a very large amount of time to do such a varied content justice. I travelled to the salt flats in Northern Namibia, heart of the famous Etosha National Park, which is teeming with wildlife – around, not within, the salt flat itself. It seems like Uyuni offers even more varied & spectacular landscapes than Namibia!

    • Nellie December 9, 2009 4:11 pm #

      Thanks Amanda for the kind words. I'd love to see the landscapes of Namibia as well, always wanted to explore the sand dunes there. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Gee July 9, 2010 1:35 am #

    Gosh! what a view…
    I'm curious how they built the entire hotel with salt, whoa..

    • admin July 9, 2010 8:18 pm #

      It’s incredible to see and touch the salt hotel for yourself. I guess building a hotel with salt isn’t exactly the sturdiest way, that’s why they have prohibited further construction on the salt flat itself.

  8. Juno July 9, 2010 6:56 pm #

    Oh man… Sweet!! Most of all, I like llama. Haha!!

  9. Matt October 15, 2010 2:41 am #

    I wanna stay in the salt hotel…

    • admin October 19, 2010 4:30 pm #

      The Salt Hotel is extremely interesting, but be sure to bundle yourself up, we were freezing our asses to death there!

  10. Lisa @chickybus September 6, 2011 12:20 am #

    I've been to Bolivia (only briefly), but didn't make it to the salt flats. Must get over there. Looks incredible…definitely other-worldly!

  11. Jacqulyn Camcam February 28, 2012 8:19 am #

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