Otherworldly. Magical. Breath-taking. Surreal. Words fail to accurately describe the scale of the unique vistas of Bolivia’s Salt Flats and the landscapes of the high plateau that surround them.
The Salar itself is an impossibly vast expanse of crystalline whiteness, interrupted periodically by small mounds of drying salt and scattered ‘islands’ like the well-known Incahuasi, famed for its ancient giant cacti. Complete your experience of the Salar by staying in a salt hotel and enjoying traditional Bolivian cuisine overlooking this remote and peaceful paradise.
Beyond the Salt Flats themselves, this region of south-western Bolivia is exceptionally rich. Closest to the Salt Lakes themselves, you can visit the eerie Train Cemetery, where locomotives from Bolivia’s heritage railroad system lie abandoned in the mountain desert; the Coquesa mummies, ancient indigenous bodies preserved in caves on the altiplano; and the traditional salt-mining village of Colchani where locals produce exquisite handicrafts, more often than not, made out of the hard crystals of the salt lake. Driving out into the remote plains, tours of this region will enchant you with views of isolated and colourful mountain lagoons framed by snow-capped Andean peaks and populated by flamingos, the surreal rock formations of the Siloli or ‘Dalí’ Desert, the geysers and thermal pools of the volcanic highlands, and lush green valleys where indigenous farmers herd alpaca and live in uber-traditional mountain communities.
Wild, vast and varied – the Bolivian altiplano can help but give the impression that you are completely alone, in blissful tranquillity, amongst some of the most spectacular landscapes on planet Earth.