A vast sea of pure white salt crust formed into regular geometric patterns, interrupted only by a handful of islands dotted with giant cacti under clear blue skies and surrounded by Andean peaks.
Such is the truly unique and quite breath-taking landscape of the Uyuni salt flats in southern Bolivia. This is one of South America’s most awe-inspiring panoramas and most definitely one of this country’s natural wonders not to be missed. This vast salt flat forms a never-ending sea of white on the high altiplano, framed by steep volcanic peaks on all sides and dotted with small islands filled with giant cacti that jut out into the skyline. Explore the small traditional communities on the fringes of this huge salt flat, whose inhabitants eke out a meagre living from harvesting the salt, growing quinoa or llama herding.
As you cross the Salar and head further south, the white crust ends to give way to deep red desert sands with rocks twisted into bizarre formations by wind and mineral rich lakes of vivid hues from green to blue and even red which support huge flocks of rare James and Andean flamingos.
Arrive at spectacular geothermal springs and dramatic geysers where spirals of steam disperse in the impossibly clear blue skies and the perfectly symmetrical cone of Llicancabur Volcano is reflected in the waters of the lake below. Finally the dirt road gives way to tarmac as you descend the altiplano and arrive at the adobe desert oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, perhaps enjoying a stunning wilderness lodge there to be completely pampered with spa treatments, fine wines and exquisite cuisine, a well deserved treat after your journey through some of the most spectacular scenery of the high Andes.
You can stay on the fringes of these vast white salt flats either in quirky hotels constructed almost entirely of rock salt or in comfortable heated tented camps and explore the region by jeep during the day. By far the most stylish way to explore this stunning landscape is to stay on the Salar itself. Enjoy a sundowner sitting on the salt flats and lodge overnight in beautifully equipped Airstream caravans, enjoying a delicious dinner made by your private chef.
Enjoy the freedom of ranging over this unique landscape by day in your private 4x4 vehicle and stopping right on the Salar itself wherever you feel like it at night in your luxurious mobile accommodation, enjoying one of the best rooms with a view ever!
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
Nicola Shepherd, founder and CEO of The Exploration Company, organises unusual trips for HNW and UHNW clients ranging from birthday parties at an Indian Maharajah's palace to reliving Sir Vivian Fuchs's 1950s expedition to the South Pole. Citywealth caught ...
Premium service from one of the world's most knowledgeable travel companies
24/7 contact number
Your holiday is fully protected by the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018
Flight-Inclusive Bonding: We are licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority and hold ATOL Number 7159
Flight-Exclusive bonding: Your holiday is further protected by our membership of ABTOT Membership Number 5197