Southern Bolivia offers some of the best scenery in Latin America, where beautiful lagoons glisten below clear blue skies.
The entire southern part of Bolivia, which links the Atacama Desert in Chile to the Salar de Uyuni, offers some of the most incredible scenery in Latin America and is a landscape photographers dream. Six beautiful lagoons, of all shapes, sizes and colours, glisten below clear blue skies, reflecting the mountains and volcanoes which stand watch over them and welcoming hundreds of extremely rare breeds of flamingos. In between are two arid deserts and a surprising variety of birds and mammals.
Set within Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, at 4,300 metres above sea level, Laguna Colorada is a flash of crimson amid a largely harsh and silvery landscape. Tinged red by algae, the lake is no more than 3 foot deep and rich with plankton, attracting three different types of flamingos that regularly populate it.
Interspersed between the lakes are the deserts of Dali, close to the Chilean border, and Siloli, north of Laguna Colorada. The focal point of the Siloli Desert, flanked on both sides by rows of volcanoes, is the Árbol de Piedra - a volcanic rock formation that has been eroded into the form of a tree, by centuries of wind and rain.
Another highlight of the area is Sol de Mañana (or Morning Sun) . Reaching dizzying altitudes of 5,000 metres above sea level and with oxygen, quite literally, thin on the ground, this geothermal field spurts out spires of pressurised steam from the boiling mud below, up to 50 metres into the air in a spectacular natural firework show. The entire experience is slightly surreal but entirely unforgettable.
As well as James, Andean and Chilean flamingos, the are is also home to eighty species of birds and a huge array of mammals, including llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, foxes, pumas, Andean cats and viscachas - a rabbit-like rodent. Plenty to keep your eyes peeled for as you venture down lonely, dusty roads.
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