Mike and Anne dance dip at Uyuni salt flats bolivia
Out of all the countries we visited in South America (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia & Peru), Bolivia was by far the most rugged, untouched, traditional, economical, non-touristy of the bunch. To start our journey into this wild frontier we took a three-day 4×4 tour with Mystic Atacama from San Pedro de Atacama,Chile over the Bolivian Andes to the Uyuni Salt Flats—which satisfied all the aforementioned adjectives to a T. With no hot water, no heat, 15,000+ feet of elevation and some serious off-roading, it was definitely a stark change from our luxury stay at Awasi…and we loved every minute of it.


Toyota Land Cruiser from Chile to Bolivia
The Toyota Land Cruiser, our faithful steed for the next three days, appears loaded down with all our gear, food, water, extra tires, a come-along, 100 liters of petrol, huge bags of coca leaves and some Bolivian tunes (and a curious amount of J-Lo) to keep us rocking.


Bolivian Andes, sky, clouds and lakes combined for the most vivid reflections
There must be something with the dry climate or the altitude in the Bolivian Andes, but the sky, clouds and lakes combined for the most vivid reflections.


Bolivia steaming geysers and burping mud pits
Climbing up to our highest peak on the journey, we came up on a field of steaming geysers and burping mud pits. Here is one that I caught just as the earth sent a pocket of air through the sludge creating the most insane shape.


Natural hot spring overlooking a lake rimmed with volcanoes in Bolivia
At the end of day one we stopped at a natural hot spring overlooking a lake rimmed with volcanoes (okay, before someone calls me out in the comment section below, there was hot water once on the trip ;). Here Anne and our car-mates Sabina, Justine and Anna are soaking in the quality views.


Lago Colorado Bolivia with Flamingo
After a very cold night at 15,150 feet elevation in a army-style barracks, we were rewarded with a visit to Lago Colorado. Red algae has turned this lake the most surreal shade of burnt sienna and gives its 1000s of flamingo inhabitants even pinker plumes.


Flamingos run along the water while flapping their huge wings Lago Colorado
To propel themselves into flight, flamingos run along the water while flapping their huge wings for the first 30 or 40 meters until then soar above the reflective surface. It was quite the sight.


The Arbol de Piedra in Bolivia
The Arbol de Piedra (tree of stone) was one of the many other-worldly things we saw on our journey. No security ropes, no park entrance fee, just wild expanses of amazing.


volcanoes spiking the horizon in Bolivia
Our lunch spot on day two was filled with more super contrast skies and of course more volcanoes peppering the horizon. The lunches–usually chicken, rice, salad and fruits served on the back of the truck tail gate–were pretty fancy for roadside picnics.


City of Rocks in Bolivia
This part of the trip was very unexpected, and not even an official stop, but it was quite possibly my favorite part of the entire three days. They call it the City of Rocks, and you could easily spend a day wandering through the never-ending maze created by lava flowing millions of years ago.


Train Graveyard on the outskirts of Uyuni Bolivia
After a brief run in with a rock that didn’t like our truck tire we made our way to our second to last stop at the Train Graveyard on the outskirts of Uyuni. With over 10 locomotives and 50+ train cars, this is the final resting stop for the nation’s coal-powered granddaddies.


Uyuni salt flats
The Uyuni salt flats are 10,582 square kilometers of dried up ocean, creating mirage-like expanse white cracking crystal sheets and are the largest in the world. Tourists come from far and wide while salt harvesters spend the day with a pick axe and shovel, filling up their truck beds and doing their best to avoid the blinding sun.


Uyuni salt flats hotel
In the center of the flats is the old salt hotel which happened to be hosting a three-day rave that weekend. Each participating DJ’s nation was represented with a flag driven into an island of salt.


reflective white ground and bright blue sky to play with depth of field
One of the traditions when you make it to the salt flats of Uyuni is to use the reflective white ground and bright blue sky to play with depth of field and scale to take some trippy photographs. Yummmm…..


reflective white ground and bright blue sky to play with depth of field
Twelve of us started this epic journey, and only 11 made it to its completion (kidding, my can is empty because someone has to be the photographer, and the 10 second delay on the camera wasn’t enough to make the 150-meter run).

If you ever get to this region of our amazing planet, you must do one of these multi-day tours from Chile to Bolivia or from Southern Bolivia to the Uyuni Salt Flats, as you’ll see from the rest of the photos below its of the most picturesque landscapes you may ever come across.

Which photo from this wild ride is your favorite?

  • Kenneth Webster

    Can the photos get any better?? Wow!

    • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

      ken, your comments are always so flattering. so glad you like the photos. if you ever like one especially a lot, feel free to ask me for the full size version of it, and you can have the photo store print it out for you. i would be honored to have one hanging in your house.

  • David Carillet

    As creative as the last couple shots are, the burping mud pit is my favorite photo. That is art.

    • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

      yeah i loved that mud pit. you are going to love the slideshow, i have another 10 of the mud pit……

  • JimSteere

    nothing rough about that “hot” tub … 

    • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

      well, it was more like a concrete tub with stones in the bottom, fed from a volcanic hot spring…..but yeah, the view was beautiful :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=137775936298821 Mike & Anne’s – HoneyTrek.com on Facebook

    thanks for the like Lisa andCaliBackPacker!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=102022578302 Honeymoons.com on Facebook

    Those photos were fantastic. Keep up the great shooting!

  • http://backpacking-travel-blog.com/ Samuel & Audrey

    Wow!  Your photos are incredible.  It brings me right back to when I was doing this tour back in 2010 :)  I’d do it again in a heartbeat!  

    • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

      Thanks for the love Samuel and Audrey…didnt know you guys were following along :). Glad you liked the photos and we could transport you guys back there!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513806197 Rashaad Jorden

    I love the can photo!

    Also, did you go to the rave?

    • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

      yeah that can photo was a long time in the planning phase. since it says Salta which is the region we were in for the salt flats. glad you liked it Rashaad. And some people went to the rave…however Anne and I opted for some more chill local music over in Uyuni….heard the rave was fun though. 54 hours of madness.

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