The Altiplano is the largest high plateau in the world after Tibet, averaging at an altitude of 3,700m. The combination of the high elevation, frigid and arid climate, along with its vast prehistoric topography, creates a surreal landscape evocative of an otherworldly universe.
From reflective salt flats, vivid lagoons, to imposing volcanoes, the Bolivian Altiplano is full of wonders that are waiting for the adventurous traveler to explore. Here are the highlights and must-sees for all those willing to venture off the beaten track to this strange land.
Uyuni Salt Flat
Perhaps the most recognizable and bizarre is the largest in the world Uyuni Salt Flat. During the dry season, the flats look like an endless white cracked desert, and during the wet season, the shallow layer of water creates the biggest mirror of the sky in the world!
Pro tip: in case you want a fully immersive experience, stay in one of the salt hotels made entirely of salt!
Laguna Colorada y Laguna Verde
If you’re short on time you can hop on a 3-day tour from Uyuni to discover the highlights of Los Lipez. The bumpy ride in the 4×4 on dirt roads will be well worth the sights. First on your stop, Laguna Colorada, a lagoon whose minerals are the cause of its blood-red color and attract an abundance of flamingos. As you continue on your journey you will pass multi-colored mountains, bubbling geysers, and the Dali desert spotted with surreal-shaped rocks. To top it all off, you’ll arrive at Licancabur Volcano, the majestic backdrop to Laguna Blanca (White Lagoon) and Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon). In just a few days you’ll see just how strange and colorful Earth can be!
If you’re an avid hiker and crave a challenging trek that culminates with spectacular views of surrounding volcanoes – look no further than Sajama National Park. Not only is it the oldest national park in Bolivia, but it also boasts the highest peak in the country, Sajama Volcano. Due to the conservation of the land, you are very likely to spot a variety of wildlife, and you’ll quickly learn the difference between curious llamas, fluffy alpacas, and elusive vicunas. After your hike, reward yourself with a well-deserved dip in a natural hot spring.