10 Natural Wonders of Bolivian Altiplano

Have you ever been on another planet? No? Well, neither have I! Although I have been to a place that looks like out of this world, or at least to my imagination. Wondering where that is? In Bolivia, and more exactly in the south west.

 

The place is known as Altiplano, in English it means high plateau.  

 

I spent four days cruising around bolivian altiplano in a 4x4 Toyota on a trip from Tupiza to Uyuni and I had the time of my life. Why? Because I loooove photographing landscapes, not to mention, rugged-and-untouched-by-the-humans landscapes. On this trip there was plenty of them.

 

There are 10 things though which have found a special place in my memory. Here they are: 

1. San Antonio, Uturuncu, Licancabur and Ollagüe

Those are not the names of some guys I met on the road…those are the names of volcanoes. There isn’t a shortage of them on the bolivian plateau. My personal favorite was Uturuncu and the llamas that admired the view together with me.

Volcano San Antonio
Volcano San Antonio
Volcano Uturuncu with some llamas in the foreground
Volcano Uturuncu with some llamas in the foreground
A friend I met on the road posing in front of the active Volcano Ollagüe
A friend I met on the road posing in front of the active Volcano Ollagüe
Volcano Licancabur reflecting in the Green Lagoon
Volcano Licancabur reflecting in the Green Lagoon

Volcano Ollagüe
Volcano Ollagüe

2. Flamingos, flamingos and more flamingos

Some birds can be really annoying with the sound they are making, especially if there is one just outside of your window and you are trying to sleep, but flamingos are different. I could sit on the shore for hours and listen to the calming sound they were making.

3. Steamy geysers

 

 This was the highest point of the trip. 4900 a s.l. Watching the Mars-like landscape was truly like a candy to an eye. The smell though was totally the opposite. The sulfurous odour that was floating in the air was repulsive, but it didn’t stop me from taking photos. Oh no, I am not scared easily. I was the last one to get back into the car. 

Mud from the geysers
Mud from the geysers

4. Relaxing hot springs

 Ahhh, if it wasn’t for the smelly geysers there wouldn’t be hot springs on the altiplano:) There is nothing better after driving for a long time, then jumping into a thermal bath. Especially with a view like this! 

View from the thermal springs
View from the thermal springs
In the early morning
In the early morning

5. Dali and Siloli Deserts

 

 Landscapes that resemble surrealists paintings of Salvador Dali, and he painted them without ever seeing the actual place? I don’t know whether it’s impressive or scary. Maybe the guy could travel in his dreams, maybe it is just coincidence. Either way, I would rather pay again to see the desert life than see it on a painting (not like I could afford Dali’s painting anyway;) 

Me on the Dali Desert
Me on the Dali Desert

6. Tree of rock

This was another proof on how amazing and powerful the nature can be. Thousand or maybe even millions of years had created these beautful rock formations on the siloli desert. 

7. The Green Lagoon

 It was probably the most anticipated moment of my trip across bolivian altiplano. I have googled so many photos before visiting the place that I almost was disappointed once I got there. The water was greenish, but nothing like on the photos I have seen! Have I been tricked by photoshop again? Luckily the wind picked up and the water in the lagoon started stirring up and I got to see how the water changes its colour into emerald green. 

The beginning of the process. The water is starting to change colours
The beginning of the process. The water is starting to change colours
And here it is!
And here it is!

8. Laguna Colorada

This is the place where I could just sit for hours and observe flamingoes. The reddish colour of the lagoon comes from the algae. The same algae also stain the feather of flamingoes. The birds are actually white, but their feathers get tinted with pink. 

9. Laguna Ramaditas, Honda and Canape

Bolivian altiplano has countless lagoon. Each and every one offers dramatic landscapes. It is probably not difficult to spot that I love to photograph reflections, so these 3 lagoons had to make it onto the list. 

10. Salar de Uyuni

And last but not least. The great Salar de Uyuni. The biggest Salt Flats in the world. In the rain season called the mirror of the world. Why? Just look at the pictures! The time has finally come when my fellow travellers and I could create some fun illusions and take some pics of ourselves. 



The trip made me quite hungry! ;)
The trip made me quite hungry! ;)

 My tip: If you ever consider doing the trip around altiplano, do it the reverse way, which is starting in Tupiza (a place itself well worth visiting) end ending in Uyuni. You will avoid the crowds, have one extra day for exploring and see some things you wouldn’t see on the standard Uyuni-Uyuni trip. 


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I am Marta Kulesza - the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.comI come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me somewhere in the mountains. 

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