Hi everyone, forum member Telexstar's forthcoming round the world trip reminded me how much I enjoyed a similar trip a couple of years back. One of the more spectacular places I visited during that trip was the Bolivian Altiplano where you can take a 4WD tour around some pretty amazing scenery.
This trip typically starts at Uyuni where your bus (normally from La Paz) arrives very early in the morning. You're met by a load of tour operators, but it's not a hard sell and easy to get away for a think... Most offer the same thing: 1, 2, 3 or 4 day tours around the altiplano in a 4WD with about 6 passengers.
You pay a fixed fee which includes transport, fuel, food (basic) and accommodation (very basic! And cold too as you're very high up). We paid $55 USD for three days / two nights, dropping us off with a connection to San Pedro in Chile. An absolute bargain - and here's the photos to say why!
But one quick note - if you do find yourself in Uyuni, you must check out the legendary Minuteman pizza restaurant, where Chris from Masachusets will cook you an incredibly tasty pizza - or breakfast.
Above: Canon EOS 5D with 17-40mm at 17mm. These salt flats are only half an hour from Uyuni, and the conditions are probably brighter than anywhere I've ever been. Big mistake: I had no sunglasses. Big escape: only visiting the Salt hotel, not staying at it!
Above: Canon EOS 5D with 17-40mm at 17mm. Crazy rock formations, and - ahem - perhaps a little over-use of the old polarising filter!
Above: Canon EOS 5D with 17-40mm at 17mm. Crazy vegetation! And er, more polarising...
Above: Canon EOS 5D with 17-40mm at 27mm. Now this place is just mad. It really is that colour, not the white balance going crazy. if the BBC were in Bolivia, you can bet all those early episodes of Doctor Who and Blakes Seven would have been filmed here...
Above: Canon EOS 5D with 70-300mm DO at 70mm. Amazing at it seems, this is the same place a bit further on - a series of mountain lakes with perfect reflections and stacks of flamingos wandering around.
Those three days have to be some of the most photogenic I've ever experienced, and if you're not affected by high elevations (up to 15,500 feet) and don't mind roughing it for a couple of nights, I can't recommend it highly enough.
Just don't forget the sunscreen - this place has just about the highest UV levels in the world - even worse than New Zealand!