Notebooks from a trampfest. Travel tips, tales and images, online since 2006.

Bolivian Highland Landscapes: Laguna Honda, Hedionda and Canapa

Vicunas at Laguna Hedionda, Bolivia

These are 23 images taken in the Andean highlands of westernmost Bolivia during the second of a three-day trip from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, to the Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat on the planet. It’s one of the most sublimely beautiful places I’ve ever visited.

The itinerary included stops at three lakes, all set in stunning landscapes dominated by mountains in all directions whose peaks stab the sky at 5,000m (16,400ft) above sea level or higher. The conditions are warm and sunny, but the warm clear skies can be deceiving. While daytime temperatures can sometimes reach 30 C (86 F), the high altitude and reflective surface of the area can force them to dip as low as -25 C (-13 F), sometimes even lower. It takes a while to shake off the morning chill.

The day features visits with vicuñas, a cousin to alpacas, and the shores of these glacial salt lakes lined with James’s Flamingos. In case you missed it, here’s a gallery and notebook of the Reserva de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa, or Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, the first day highlights of the three-day trip. Day three forthcoming.

Laguna Honda

Laguna Honda
Laguna Honda

Laguna Hedionda

Spanish for stinking lake, Laguna Hedionda covers about three square kilometers (1.2mi) and lies at an altitude of 4,121m (13,500ft). It’s one of nine small saline lakes in the Andean Altiplano. More from Wikipedia.

 

Vicunas at Laguna Hedionda
Vicunas at Laguna Hedionda
Vicunas at Laguna Hedionda, Bolivia
Vicunas at Laguna Hedionda, Bolivia
Vicuna at Laguna Hedionda, Bolivia
Vicuna at Laguna Hedionda, Bolivia
James's flamingo at Laguna Hedionda
James’s flamingo at Laguna Hedionda
James's flamingo at Laguna Hedionda, Bolivia
James’s flamingo at Laguna Hedionda, Bolivia
Laguna Hedionda
Laguna Hedionda
Warning sign at Laguna Hedionda
Warning sign at Laguna Hedionda
James's Flamingo at Laguna Hedionda
James’s Flamingo at Laguna Hedionda

Laguna Canapa

Or Cañapa Lake, covers an area of 1.42 square kilometers, or 0.54 suare miles. Typically desolate, another good location for flamingos.

 

James's flamingo at Laguna Canapa
James’s flamingo at Laguna Canapa
James's flamingo at Laguna Canapa
James’s flamingo at Laguna Canapa
Laguna Canapa
Laguna Canapa
Near Laguna Canapa, Bolivia
Lunch break for travelers near Laguna Canapa, Bolivia
North of Laguna Canapa
North of Laguna Canapa
North of Laguna Canapa, Bolivia
North of Laguna Canapa, Bolivia

Ollague Volcano

Ollague tops 5,865m (19,242ft) and is considered active, though no historical records of eruptions exist. Check Summitpost for hiking options and descriptions. More from Volcano Discovery.

 

Ollague Volcano
Ollague Volcano
Ollague Volcano
Ollague Volcano
Near Ollague Volcano, Bolivia
Near Ollague Volcano, Bolivia

Chiguana Salt Flat

If you pass through the smaller Chiguana salt flat prior to visiting the massive Salar de Uyuni, this one provides a good indication of things to come. The landscape is interrupted by a railroad line; our visit coincided with the passing of a line of freight trains. And a photo op on the tracks, too.

 

Chiguana Salt Flat, Bolivia
Chiguana Salt Flat, Bolivia
Chiguana Salt Flat - Bolivia
Chiguana Salt Flat – Bolivia
Railroad tracks from Uyuni, Bolivia
Railroad tracks from Uyuni, Bolivia
Freight train traveling near the Salar de Uyuni
Freight train traveling near the Salar de Uyuni
Me, on the tracks to the Salar de Uyuni
Me, on the tracks to the Salar de Uyuni. Cheers!

~~

Bolivian Highland Landscapes - High Altitudes Lakes Near the Salar de Uyuni
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And for the record: the lead photo, which serves as today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 819th straight, was taken near the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve in western Bolivia, on 27 March 2013, a nice fit for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge theme, Landscape.

All images © Bob Ramsak. All rights reserved. High resolution images available.
For stock or editorial use please get in touch.
Interested in purchasing a print or other photo product of this image? They’re available here. If you’d like a print or card of an image not yet listed in my Redbubble portfolio, let me know. I’ll be happy to make it available.

 

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  1. ladieswholunchreviews says

    Love the pictures, especially the vicunas!

    1. Bob R says

      They were great, genuinely curious. But seemed to be used to having people around.

  2. sustainabilitea says

    Thanks for the trip, Bob. That may be as close as I ever get. I really enjoyed it.

    janet

  3. gardeninacity says

    Amazing photos! I’m sending a link to my son who lived in Ecuador for six months. He really wanted to get to Bolivia, but it didn’t work out.

    1. Bob R says

      Too bad, I hope another opportunity pops ups for him. Or he makes the opportunity. Where was he in Ecuador? I spent three months there last year.

      1. gardeninacity says

        He lived in Quito. He had a grand plan to take the bus from Ecuador to Peru and then through Boliva to Argentina, but the plan was radically modified when his passport was stolen in Cuenca.

  4. jacquelineobyikocha says

    These are fabulous pictures. I guess the train track is not a busy one ?

    1. Bob R says

      Ha! No, which was why we were thrilled to see a train pass by. 🙂

      1. jacquelineobyikocha says

        I can imagine 🙂

  5. […] PIRAN CAFÉ Bolivian Highland Landscapes: Laguna Honda, Hedionda and Canapa […]

  6. paula graham says

    Outstanding series both in subject matter and quality..tops. What a place, pity it is so far away!!

    1. Bob R says

      Yes, unfortunately it’s not just a leisurely overnight drive away. That area really was on my List of Places to See Before I Die. 🙂

  7. Fantastic photography. Bolivia looks like it would be a great place to visit but if I don’t get there I’m glad you’ve shown me.

  8. Manja Mexi Movie says

    Astonishing photos, including the one of you. 🙂

    1. Bob R says

      Yeah. Was hard to get me to strike just the right pose. 🙂

      1. Manja Mexi Movie says

        Those models… 🙂

  9. idaplougpahus says

    Stunning pictures!!

  10. Mick Canning says

    Wow! Great pictures, Bob.

  11. InherentlyAdventurous says

    Pretty awesome! Now that is real awesome traveling! I really love the Ollague Volcano shot!

  12. imagesbytdashfield says

    Beautiful photos but that warning sign with the male and female toileting figures LOL

  13. theFreedomSoul says

    Bolivia is on top of my list on the Latin tour.Hope to some day live the dream in the salt flat of Salar de Uyuni

  14. invisibleskylinesphotography says

    What a post! You can smell the fresh air just looking at these gorgeous pictures.

    1. Bob R says

      VERY fresh. Which reminds me — as the visit to the area takes you to elevations of 4000m (13,100ft) or higher, you can encounter some difficulty breathing. A day or two acclimatizing to the altitude is advisable.

      1. invisibleskylinesphotography says

        I had trouble in Lhasa at “only” 12000′ so I can imagine! (“I’ll just … climb… these … stairs…”)

  15. Lily @ lilydaily.com says

    The places look incredibly stunning, so beautiful and peaceful. I would love to do yoga there ; ) Can’t believe the huge variance in temperature during the day versus night though.

    1. Bob R says

      You wouldn’t be the first. 🙂 And I’m sure if would be unforgettable.

Thoughts?

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