Bolivia Southwest Circuit Tour

Posted by Cassie, September 10th, 2011

We went on an amazing four day tour of southwest Bolivia! We traveled through an incredible variety of scenery. We started in Tupiza, which has landscapes similar to the southwest of the US.

El Sillar outside Tupiza

On the second day of the tour, we began entering the salt flats. However, the first salt flat consisted of borax, not salt. The borax was being harvested for export to Chile where they use it for manufacturing porcelein.

Laguna Hedienda, which means lake that smells because of the sulfur


Laguna Verde and Volcan Licanabur

Laguna Verde is the beautiful green color due to the minerals in the water. However, the water is toxic, so you cannot drink it. Volcan Lincanbur is one of the highest mountains in Bolivia at 5,890 meters.

Geysers at almost 5,000 meters

These geysers are part of a volcanic system, and the smell of sulfur pervades the air around the geysers. Some of the geysers are pools of bubbling mud, and it is mesmerizing to watch, similar to a lava lamp.

Laguna Colorada with lots of flamingos

Laguna Colorada is a red color due to the algae in the water. The lake is full of flamingos! Normally, you associate flamingos with warm, tropical climates, but these are high altitude flamingos that are adapted to the cold weather. When we drove by Laguna Colorada the next morning, it was partially iced over!

Arbol de Piedra: Tree of Stone

The Arbol de Pierdra is next to a bunch of volcanic rocks. The Arbol de Piedra has eroded so much at the bottom that it is amazing that it is still standing. We got to climb on the other rocks, but it was not allowed to climb on the Arbol de Piedra. 🙂

Lake with lots of flamingos!


High altitude flamingos!

On the third day of the tour, we stopped at a few lakes, and each one of them had lots of flamingos!

On the final day of the tour, we got up early to watch the sunrise over the Salar de Uyuni from the Isla Incahuasi. The sunrise was beautiful, and the salt flats seemed like a big white sea.

Sunrise at Isla Incahuasi

Gigantic cactus at Isla Incahuasi

Isla Incahuasi used to be a coral reef in the ancient sea that covered the Salar de Uyuni. Now, it is covered in gigantic cacti. The current largest cactus is 9 meters tall, and it is 900 years old. The previous largest cactus died in 2007, and it was 12 meters tall and over 1200 years old!

Crazy photos on the Salar de Uyuni

With the white of the Salar de Uyuni, you can take crazy photos where the perspective is totally unreal! We had an amazing time our our tour of southwest Bolivia! Check out the rest of the photos!


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