Photos of Bolivia's Far South West, Bolivia

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Bolivia's Far South West

In the far south-west of Bolivia, on the high Altiplano at a height of over 4,000 metres, is a flat region of spectacular, surreal and treeless landscapes, offset by hills and high volcanoes on the border with Chile: Mt Ollagüe is a huge andesite stratovolcano in the Andes, with an elevation of 5,868 metres.

Ruta de Las Joyas
 
View to Mt Ollagüe
 
Ollagüe volcano
 
Laguna Cañape
 
Laguna Cañape reflections
 
Flamingos, Laguna Cañape
 
Laguna Hedioda
 
Laguna Honda
 
Reserva Eduardo Avaroa
 
 
Vizcacha
 
Pampa Siloli
 
Erosion, Pampa Siloli
 
Arbol de Piedra
 
Laguna Colorada
 
Flamingos, Laguna Colorada
 
James's Flamingos
 
View, Laguna Colorada
 
Red Lagoon
 
Sol de Mañana
 
Boiling mud
 
Chalviri creek
 
Sulphur deposits
 
Altiplano desert
 
Bare mountains
 
Laguna Verde
 
Rock mounds
 
Borax deposits
 
View to Laguna Colorada
 
At Pampa Siloli
 
Wind eroded rocks
 
Wind sculptures
 
Village of Alota
 
Church of Alota
 
Football in Alota
 
Bolivia
 

It is a remote and very sparsely populated region; there are various lakes, the breeding ground of flamingoes, and the bleak Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve with its desert landscapes and weird rocks, blasted by the sand into fantastic shapes, like the "Arbol de Piedra" (Stone tree), a spectacular example of wind erosion. The only vegetation seems to be a type of moss called "Yarreta". The "vizcacha", a long-tailed rodent related to the chinchilla, is native to this land.

There are spectacular lakes further on, in the remotest south-west of Bolivia; the Laguna Colorada is a salt lake at 4,278 metres, coloured red (caused by red sediments and the pigmentation of some algae) about 25 kilometres from the Chilean border. It has large numbers of the rare James' flamingoes inhabiting its shores. Around 50 kilometres further south is the geothermal area of Sol de Mañana at an elevation of approximately 4,800 metres, with its bubbling mud pools, geysers and fumaroles. Steam rises from the thermal creeks nearby, especially in the early morning when the air can be bitterly cold.