Southwest Bolivia

Shutterstock/4558777/Danny WarrenSouthwestern Bolivia, stretching from the mining centre of Oruro to the borders of Chile and Argentina, is home to some of the greatest visual delights Bolivia has to offer. Here are magnificent shimmering salt-flats, coloured lakes filled with flamingos, surrealistic rock formations, geysers, and snow-capped volcanoes, all surrounded by vast expanses of high desert.

The main city, Oruro, comes to life during carnival when it explodes into one of Latin America's greatest celebrations. In this internationally acclaimed folklore experience, thousands of spectacularly attired dancers driven by their faith in the Virgen del Socav√≥n, outdo each other during two days of tireless action. 

Shutterstock/387090/Roux FredericThe region has two of Bolivia's finest protected natural areas. Parque Nacional Sajama contains the perfect cone of Sajama, the country's highest peak at 6542 m. Further south, Reserva Eduardo Avaroa has a unique landscape of eroded rock formations interrupted by sparkling soda lakes of jade, blue and scarlet; home to three species of flamingo and many other birds. Between these two protected areas lie the magical
salares
of Uyuni and Coipasa, inconceivably vast expanses of blinding white salt-flats, which become immense mirrors after rain.

On route to the Argentine border and surrounded by fantastic canyon-lands, is Tupiza, gateway to many of the region's attractions and the last hideout of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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