One of the biggest questions I get is how to see Bolivia’s salt flats.
You may have seen photos of what seems like a mirage of endless skies, or an indiscernible landscape that makes it impossible to tell what is up or down!
This is a terrific place to visually play with perspective. Due to the reflections, clean backgrounds, and clear skies, Salar de Uyuni produces some of the most interesting images from creative photographers.
Read on for how to see Bolivia’s salt flats!
During spring break of my final year in college, I headed down for an adventure through Bolivia and Peru. Doable on two weeks with a tight schedule, this is a trip not to be missed! Apart from the northern lights and Antarctica, nothing has taken my breath away quite like Salar de Uyuni, or Bolivia’s salt flats.
The flats are reflective during the rainy season, when a layer of water covers the entire landscape, resulting in the ‘mirror’ effect. The rainy season of Bolivia lasts approximately January to March.
Tip: when there, I highly recommend staying for the sunset!
Next time, I’m coming back for nighttime photography in the salt flats. Imagine a galaxy of countless stars – now imagine that reflected!
The sprawling soup bowl city of La Paz is your gateway to Salar de Uyuni.
City: La Paz, Bolivia
Famous for: being the highest capital city in the world
Elevation: 12,000 feet
Visitors flying into La Paz are warned of altitude sickness, which I experienced personally on the first day as soon as we landed (faint, light headed, dizziness are all common symptoms.) From La Paz, you will travel to the flats by bus or private transportation.
Where to stay?
That the sun is extremely strong. Combined with the altitude, be sure to wear sun protection. I rarely burn, but left Uyuni with panda eyes from my sunglasses!
What else is there to do in Uyuni apart from taking pretty mirror images?
Incawasi – Uyuni is also home to Incawasi, an island covered with cacti in the middle of the Bolivian salt flats. This is a great place to hike around and explore, and to catch some much welcome shade in the unforgiving sun.
Train cemetery – a fantastic abandoned train graveyard, this is a playground where you can actually climb on top of the structures. The biggest issue you’ll face here is who gets to climb and who takes the pictures!
Picnic – have a picnic in the middle of the flats! A unique experience not to be missed.
Discover the surrounding landscape – a drive across Bolivia’s rugged terrain will bring you to places that make you feel like you’re on another planet.
Or in La Paz…
Witches’ Market – this is a popular attraction that sells everything from potions, medicinal plants/herbs, and preserved llama fetuses, which are buried under many Bolivian houses as a sacred offering to the goddess Pachamama.
Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) – a really cool location to wander around with strange clay formations that create tall spires. Good footwear is recommended.
Want to see what’s after an adventure in Bolivia? Read on to find out about its neighboring country, Peru, and a visit to Machu Picchu!