Crossing Borders to Bolivia's Salt Flats: Part One

The best way to cross the border from Chile into Bolivia is by taking a three day tour in a 4 x 4 through the Bolivian Altiplano and the largest salt flat in the world. In June this year we travelled from the Atacama Desert in Chile to Salar de Uyuni - Bolivia's Salt Flats. 

After crossing the border into Bolivia, you enter the absolutely breathtaking Avaroa National Park. Our first pit stop was at Laguna Blanca, where we saw the elusive vicuña (the llama's unbelievably cute miniature sized relative) grazing by the banks of the laguna. Vicuñas live at high altitudes, and as this trip takes place at least 11,000 feet above sea level, it's a good place to spot them.

After visiting awe inspiring volcanoes and lagunas, we reached the boiling geysers created by the volcanoes surrounding us.

The vast beauty of the Bolivian Altiplano.

Laguna Colorada sits at around 14,000 feet above sea level and is home to hundreds of flamingos. They graze on the algae which also gives this magnificent lake it's red pigment.

Árbol de Piedra (or Stone Tree) is just one of the incredible examples of the bizarre rock formations sprinkled throughout the Altiplano. The shapes on these strange eroded stones were sculpted by the strong winds carrying sand.

The majority of the journey is spent driving through vast deserts for long durations. It can get a little dull for some, but these alien-like landscapes never ceased to amaze me.

The vacant beauty of the land. Just us and nothing else for miles and miles.

Mirrored lagunas reflect the snow topped peaks dotted around the area.

A lonely railway line stretches out into the nothingness.

We finally reached the much anticipated Salar de Uyuni on our last day of the tour. This other-worldly place stretches nearly 200 kilometres. We woke up at 4am and got there for the most spectacular sunrise. 

Want to see more of Bolivia's beautiful Salt Flats, click here for Part Two.

Written by Emma Gaffney