The eerie, the odd, and the fantastic: Bolivia.

Posted by on Aug 11, 2011 in Bolivia | 6 comments

Our jeep climbed higher and higher as the journey to the world’s largest salt flat continued,  forging through rivers of frozen sludge and eerie landscapes at 15,000 ft.  People on our tour were starting to get altitude sickness, but fortunately for us we had 4 newly graduated Irish Pharmacists in our group, who generously handed out Diamox pills like they were Reese’s pieces.

Rive Wave

Frozen River

We stopped off at the natural thermal hot springs of Kollpa Laguna. The water was as inviting as a hot bath but getting in was tricky.  The slippery rocks on the bottom made for some very ungraceful entries.

Thermal Bath

We love thermal baths

Then we came up to our first Lagoon, Laguna Verde. Its hypnotic green color is from a high content of arsenic and magnesium. Do not drink this water!

Rising up out of the lagoon is an inactive volcano, Volcano Licanabur.

Green Lagoon

As we drove the landscape continued to get more and more fantastic. Beautiful pink mountains captured our imaginations through the Desierto de Dali

Pink mountains!

Forests of intriguing stone formations seem to crop up out of nowhere and surround our vehicle.

Coming up to a stone forest.

Stone forest!

We reached the far off geothermic land of Sol de Manana (Sun of Tomorrow). Fitting name, because it was there where I begin to wonder if I was still in fact in South America or if I was indeed trapped in some sort of futuristic world of another time.

Here the ground is littered with craters of lava and boiling mud, the air is filled with the deafening screams of hundreds of geysers, and the smell of sulfur is thick signaling intense volcanic activity.


The Laguna Colorado is indescribably beautiful. Its brilliant red color is due to the pigments of algae chlorophyll deposited at the bottom of the lagoon. The large deposits of alga is what attracts the large number of flamingos. It’s a very odd and surreal thing to see flamingos at almost 18,000 ft above sea level in such raw environment, but just because their pink doesn’t mean that they aren’t tough.

Red Lagoon

Flamingos are tough birds!

We enjoyed some more beautiful lagoons.. and flamingos.

"There’s a big a big hard sun beating on the big people in the big hard world." -E.V.

Flamingos at 6,000 km above sea level!

so pretty

And watched the steam come off of an active volcano that is actually located in Chile.

Active Volicano (in Chile)

That night we settled in our hostel made completely of salt; salt bricks, salt floor, salt chandlers, salt furniture, even salt beds.

Salt chandelier

It was warmer here then any of the other places we had stayed so far, so Ben and I dragged our sleeping bags outside for alittle stargazing.  The sky was the clearest I’ve ever seen. I guess being also 18,000 ft up has its advantages.  We saw millions of stars and satellites, two falling stars and a one meteorite bursting into flames as it reached the earth’s atmosphere.   I think I could have sleep outside all night under those stars, for the first time I actually  felt like  I was stuck to the side of a giant rock cruising around the sun.



  1. very good post Leah! Arsenic in the water…. Jake, no buying houses there =)

    too soon?

  2. Amazing pictures! I really, really wish I was there with you guys! I can’t wait to see you guys and hear even more about it all!

    Miss you both!

  3. We miss you too Chris! I can’t wait to hear about your birthday cruise! The pictures were hysterical! Love you! L

  4. I LOVE this!!!!! We on probably the same tour as you guys a few years back, it’s such a surreal place. I love that you’re out exploring & I can’t wait for when we’ll meet over beers to share all the juicy details. So happy for you guys! Hope you’re loving it!!!!

  5. Wow, guys! These pictures are amazing!!! This place looks so surreal! I am REALLY jealous now! 😉

  6. This is a stunning journey & you captured it very well with your photos! :)

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