Salar de Uyuni and Southwest Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni and Southwest Bolivia

From La Paz, we took a bus and train to Tupiza where we began our 4 day Salar excursion. We ended the trip in Uyuni and took a bus to Potosi and Sucre afterwards.

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Salar de Uyuni Landsat photo
Salar de Uyuni Landsat photo

Viewed from space, with Salar de Coipasa in the top left corner

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Isla Incahuasi
Isla Incahuasi

Chuck sits on one of the cactus covered "islands" looking out at the sea of white salt

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Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni

Hexagonal tiles of salt in an endless expanse; here in the dry season

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Salar de Uyuni Sunrise
Salar de Uyuni Sunrise

The dramatic light on the hexagonal honeycomb of salt with our shadows at sunrise on the salt flats.

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Salar de Uyuni Sunrise
Salar de Uyuni Sunrise
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Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni

Rainy season is the opportunity for surreal mirror-like imagery.

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Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni

Mirror-like images in the rainy season when a thin layer of water covers the salt surface.

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Ojos de Salar
Ojos de Salar

The salar is composed of a salt surface crust several meters thick overlying brine saturated sediments (visible as small pools - the Ojos).

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Piles of salt for extraction
Piles of salt for extraction

Miners from the town of Colchani create these salt pyramids to dry the salt before processing it.

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Salt miner, Colchani
Salt miner, Colchani

Salt collected from piles on the Salar are dried futher in furnaces and then processed and bagged for sale

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A kick-ass trip to Bolivia's Salt Flats

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Chuck holding Linda
Chuck holding Linda

Without a distance perspective, fun illusionary photos are de rigueur for tourists

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Illusionary Perspective Photos
Illusionary Perspective Photos

Modesta, our cholita cook, poses while we "walk" on her braids. She's probably done this a million times - on every trip for her clients. Think she enjoys it?

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Ouro
Ouro

Street art image of their famous carnival with wild costumes and masks

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Oruro Carnaval Poster
Oruro Carnaval Poster
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Oruro
Oruro

Ornate bodice of a traditional Carnaval costume

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Day of the Dead in Oruro
Day of the Dead in Oruro

We went to the cemetery on the Day of the Dead, Nov. 1, to see how Bolivian families honor their ancestors

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Day of the Dead in Oruro
Day of the Dead in Oruro

Roberto O., the owner of La Torre Tours, showing us his family shrine to his grandparents in the kitchen.

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Oruro train to Tupiza
Oruro train to Tupiza

Chuck boarding the train - the better transportation alternative since the bus travels on unpaved roads.

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Train to Tupiza from Oruro
Train to Tupiza from Oruro
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Ready to Go!
Ready to Go!

Departing Tupiza. Chuck and our driver/guide Roberto with our packed Toyota Landrover

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Badlands of Southwest Bolivia
Badlands of Southwest Bolivia

Tupiza sits in the badlands where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid met their fate, having chosen the wrong Bolivian to rob

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Llamas, flamingos, red lakes
Llamas, flamingos, red lakes

Llamas are decorated with colorful bits of string to mark ownership, much like branding for cattle. Photo by Chuck on our ipad

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The Altiplano is home to three species of flamingos. Forget about those images of these beautiful pink birds under a palm tree in the tropics!

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Flamingos
Flamingos

You can get close to them at rusty red Lago Colorado

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Flamingos
Flamingos

There are three species of flamingos here - James, Andean, and Chilean

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James Flamingos
James Flamingos

Pink color comes from the carotenoids in the crustaceans they eat

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Zorro
Zorro

A lone Andean Fox. Zorro means "fox" in spanish

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Lago Verde (Green Lake)
Lago Verde (Green Lake)

Licancabur volcano (5916 m.a.s.l.) in the background. The color is due to arsenic and other minerals; the hue shifts from turquoise to emerald green as wind shifts sediments

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Geysers and hot mud pots
Geysers and hot mud pots

Sol de Mañana - a 4850m-high geyser basin with bubbling mud pots, fumaroles and the smell of sulfur fumes.

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Hot bubbling mud pots
Hot bubbling mud pots

At Sol de Mañana geyser basin

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Desierto de Salvador Dali
Desierto de Salvador Dali

Desert with surreal scattered rocks

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Tayka Desert Hotel
Tayka Desert Hotel

This was the view from our remote hotel in the desert - the highest place we slept at an altitude of 4200 meters. The "roads" are just deep sandy tracks in the desert.

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Cueva del Diablo,ancient burial site
Cueva del Diablo,ancient burial site

A cave sacred to the locals with a pre-Incan cemetery containing small chullpas.

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Andean partridge
Andean partridge

Beautiful camouflage

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Otherworldly landscape
Otherworldly landscape
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Stark landscape beauty
Stark landscape beauty
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Isla Incahuasi
Isla Incahuasi

The center of the Salar contains a few "islands", the remains of the tops of ancient volcanoes submerged during the era of prehistoric Lake Minchin.

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Cactus flower
Cactus flower

Isla Incahuasi has a cactus forest of ancient origin

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Breakfast at Isla Incahuasi
Breakfast at Isla Incahuasi

After sunrise on the Salt Flats and a hike on the cactus-covered "island", Modesta surprised us by with a heart cake for our last breakfast.

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Terme de Polques Hot Springs
Terme de Polques Hot Springs

96 degree water at 13,000 foot altitude with chilling winds is a nice relief from the cold. We were there early before it got very crowded.

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Abandoned 16th c. silver mining town
Abandoned 16th c. silver mining town

Ruinas de San Antonio where prospectors used slave labor.

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Abandoned 16th c. silver mining town
Abandoned 16th c. silver mining town

Ruinas de San Antonio where prospectors used slave labor. Legend says the town was abandoned because there was either a slave rebellion, an epidemic, or men started to go blind / missing.

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Lunchtime
Lunchtime

Our cholita cook, Modesta, whipped up some great meals from the back of the car.

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Stark beauty
Stark beauty
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Unique Landscapes
Unique Landscapes
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Harsh and beautiful landscapes
Harsh and beautiful landscapes
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Lago Colorado
Lago Colorado

Spectacular rust red water.

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Lago Colorado
Lago Colorado

Chuck, Modesta, and Roberto

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