Panorama of the Week: Bolivian Salt Flats

The Bolivian Salt Flats. If you haven’t already been to the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, put it on your bucket list.

When we meet travelers headed to South America, Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni is among our top recommendations. And while the all-white salt flats are the goal, it’s the 1000 km (620 miles) four-day jeep trip from Tupiza to Uyuni that features some of the world’s most beautiful and otherworldly landscapes around. It’s definitely worth taking the longer tour from the south instead of the shorter one from Uyuni.

Open the panorama below for a sample of the colors you’ll see on a four-day salt flat tour.

Panorama: Sol de Mañana Geyser and Fumaroles in Bolivia

panorama directions

From 3,000 – 5,000 meters in elevation, the air thins, the nights chill and the land grows barren. This region is so rich in minerals (it is, after all, the home of the world’s largest lithium deposits) that the ground and lakes ooze unreal hues; a green lake here, a red lake there, and volcanic fumaroles shaded in pink, grey, green and brown.

Only llamas, vicuñas and flamingos — and the intrepid traveler — can survive such bizarre conditions. A fantastic trip.

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  1. says

    Awesome panorama! Salar de Uyuni was one of the highlights of my trip across South America in 2010. I just found it fascinating – the diversity in landscape & scenery. One memory I have is of our vehicle constantly breaking down & our driving performing makeshift repairs several times a day! Did you encounter any problems like this?

  2. says

    @Samuel: The salar de uyuni tour was a highlight of our South America trip as well. The conditions are really tough on the vehicles. Our vehicle had to be repaired once, but fortunately there weren’t regular break downs. If you’re stuck out there…you’re really stuck! Did you go from Tupiza or Uyuni?

  3. says

    Great spot to stop for a photo. We took the trip from Uyuni down all the way to Calama in Chile. We were there in January, the rainy season, which turns the salar into a giant mirror with an inch of water floating on the hard dry salt. Being up in the Altiplano was like being on another world.

  4. says

    @Mark: Must have been incredible to go through the salar during the rainy season. I’ve seen photos of it, but know that seeing it live must have been a completely different experience. Sounds like you also had a fantastic trip.

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