Four of the most incredible days on the Bolivian Altiplano (a photo blog)

I’ve said it before, but this planet doesn’t stop amazing me. I spent the past 4 days cruising through the Bolivian Altiplano (high plateau) and I can’t recall being bored once over the 1,000km journey – the scenery and landscapes are otherworldly – I’ve never seen anything like it!

Most people choose to do a 3 day/2 night tour of the Salar de Uyuni salt flats and a number of other sites from Uyuni, going in a circle and ending where it started. Having time on my hands, I’d read you could do a similar tour originating in a town called Tupiza. The tour will take 4 days and will deposit you in Uyuni at the end. I opted for this route as the variety of scenery really appealed to me – I was not short-changed in this expectation!


Tupiza is your typical little town that exists solely for tourism. Thankfully though, seeing that the Tupiza – Uyuni tour is much less busy than its Uyuni counterpart, the town isn’t over-run with tourists as Uyuni is. I really liked Tupiza – it had a relaxed vibe about it and it was tiny and easily to navigate.

Now the tour…

As I type this, I’ve been trying to think of a place I have been to that has as varied landscapes as this region of Bolivia, but I’m coming up short. With the photos below, I am trying to portray just how varied the Altiplano is. The landscapes are extreme. They aren’t the soft and pretty rolling hills sort of landscapes. Instead they are dry, arid, sharp and hard. The high altitude and extreme weather means that you won’t be finding any gentle flowers here and the salt and mineral-rich sand ensures that the many lagunas you encounter are of weird and wonderful colours. The landscape is almost alien – I imagine Mars to look a bit like parts of the Altiplano.

The tour ended with us visiting Salar de Uyuni, the 200 square mile, startlingly flat salt flats. You need to see this place to believe it! I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!



The Salvador Dali desert. Some say that these landscapes inspired Dali’s creative masterpieces.



Vicuña roaming the desert.



More of the Salvador Dali desert.


I think this sea gull was lost?



I stalked this Vicuña for a while to get it under the dome of the volcano in the background!


Laguna Colorado – it really is this red thanks to bacteria growing in the water.


The high altitude ensured we encountered a lot of ice!


Geysers bubbling with pools of sulphuric water.


Jesus Flamingo. Not his real name – I just call him that as he can walk on water 🙂



Two Viscacha enjoying the sun. They’re like rabbits, but with tails.



Watching the sunrise over Salar de Uyuni.



The Dakar rally is held on the flats.

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