Vicunas at Laguna Hedionda, Bolivia
Vicunas at Laguna Hedionda, Bolivia

Bolivian Highland Landscapes: Laguna Honda, Hedionda and Canapa

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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