Altiplano in the extreme southwestern reaches of Bolivia
Altiplano in the extreme southwestern reaches of Bolivia

Window Seats: High Altitude Desert, Southwestern Bolivia

This was taken on a stretch of road between the Chilean and Bolivian border check points not far from the Chilean town of San Pedro de Atacama in the most extreme reaches of southwestern Bolivia. These scenes through a dusty van window that would be my closed circuit TV set for three days were a representative example of the otherworldly landscapes that would follow.

This area also marks the southern tip of the Andean Altiplano, or ‘high plain’, an area where the Andes range is at its widest. It’s the largest high plateau on the planet outside of Tibet.

A few minutes beyond this view lied the Bolivian border post at Portezuelo del Cajón, a mountain pass that separates it from Chile in the high Atacama. At 4,488m (14,724 ft) above sea level, it’s home to one of the highest* immigration and customs check points on the planet.

That was more or less the entrance to the Reserva de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa, or Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve. That was a gateway to the Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world. I posted a few times about my visit there; if you missed them, do check them out. Few places on the planet conspire as well to provide non-stop window seat enchantment.

Thanks, and be well.


Today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 1,061st straight, was snapped on 26 March 2013.



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