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