Exploring Bolivia´s Southwest: from the stone tree to the salt hotel

On the third day, we left to see one of the most photographed attractions of the region: the famous stone tree. The stone tree, as well as all the rocks around it, is a volcanic rock that felt in the middle of nowhere after a volcanic explosion of a neighboring volcano. Its unusual form has been sculpted by time, wind, and sand.

Arbol de Piedra
The Lion Queen

The surroundings mountains feature a large array of colors. It closely resembles a mad painter’s masterpiece, exploring the richness of his color palette. The landscapes of this region are definitely enchanting and surrealistic…

We will then drive next to many smaller lagoons, most of them rich in borax or salt. One of them is also called Laguna Hedionda for its quite extreme smell… Despite the smell, thousands of pink flamingos found home in this place, for the pleasure of any photography amateur!

Laguna Ramaditas if I am not mistaken
Pink flamingos in the Laguna Hedionda

After lunch, we are granted a little tornado, not very powerful and relatively small but still quite impressive!


The Ollagüe volcano is one of the few volcanoes still active in the region, a smoke continuously escaping from its flank.

Fumarole del volcán Ollagüe

We get closer and closer to the famous Uyuni Salt Flat and we drive through a smaller Salt Flat named Salar de Chiguana. The salt is not exploited there because of its high level of lithium and other minerals that makes it improper for consummation. The abandoned rail tracks of an unused train pass through the middle of nowhere, which gives us a good opportunity for a little rest on the rails…!

Photo by Aurélie

We arrive by the end of the afternoon to the border of the Salar de Uyuni where we would pass the night in a salt hotel. Yes. A salt hotel. For real. Bricks are made of salt (we tasted), the floor is made of salt, the tables and chairs are made of salt blocks, the beds are made of salt and the mattress are made of mattress for our greatest relief. There is also a salt hotel in the middle of the Salar but it is nowadays forbidden to build in the Salar itself and this hotel is now a museum. Therefore, all the salt hotels and hotel lodging opportunities are located right outside of the Salar.

Yes, yes, it is salt!


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About nbeuchat

I am currently traveling South America to discover its culture, landscapes, and fascinating people. I am passionate about photography, scuba-diving and dancing.

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