From San Pedro de Atacama in Chile we crossed into Bolivia by jeep, taking three days to explore magnificent landscapes on the way to Salar de Uyuni. With seven of us packed into at Toyota Land Cruiser, we still managed to remain reasonably comfortable — even when the dirt roads completely disappeared into the vast expanse of high desert. We spotted llamas, flamingos, foxes, Vicuñas, and admired smoking volcanoes, vast salt flats, multi-colored mountains and an incredible cactus island. Our three-day adventure into Bolivia was probably one of my favorite experiences from our entire year of travel, followed by the wonder of LaPaz.

Decorations inside the Bolivian border crossing, a small, stone structure in the middle of nowhere.

Decorations inside the Bolivian border crossing, a small, stone structure in the middle of nowhere.

A line of 4x4s load up with tourists and luggage before the three-day crossing from Chile to Uyuni, Bolivia.

A line of 4x4s load up with tourists and luggage before the three-day crossing from Chile to Uyuni, Bolivia.

The sandy road stretches out before us as we start our three-day crossing from Chile to Uyuni, Bolivia.

The sandy road stretches out before us as we start our three-day crossing from Chile to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Our group of three Toyota Land Cruisers on the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Our group of three Toyota Land Cruisers on the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Laguna Verde, (Green Lagoon), the first of many that we'd see on our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Laguna Verde, (Green Lagoon), the first of many that we’d see on our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Britnee and our 4x4 on the three-day crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Britnee and our 4×4 on the three-day crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Britnee takes a welcome soak in hot springs along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia. It was such a relief after being blasted by cold wind at each stop that first morning.

Britnee takes a welcome soak in hot springs along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia. It was such a relief after being blasted by cold wind at each stop that first morning.

A stop at some impressive geisers on day one of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

A stop at some impressive geysers on day one of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Too hot to dip in. Geisers along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Too hot to dip in. Geysers along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Britnee roams among the bubbling geisers along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Britnee roams among the bubbling geysers along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Yes, that's a red lake! Laguna Colorada where we spent our first night along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Yes, that’s a red lake! Laguna Colorada where we spent our first night along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Yes, that's a red lake! Laguna Colorada where we spent our first night along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Yes, that’s a red lake! Laguna Colorada where we spent our first night along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Britnee and I took a long walk that evening despite suffering headaches from the altitude. We were sleeping over 4,500 meters on our first night on the crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Britnee and I took a long walk that evening despite suffering headaches from the altitude. We were sleeping over 4,500 meters on our first night on the crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Flamingos, hundreds if not thousands of them, fill Laguna Colorada on the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Flamingos, hundreds if not thousands of them, fill Laguna Colorada on the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Enjoying sunset at Laguna Colorada, our first stop along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Enjoying sunset at Laguna Colorada, our first stop along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Enjoying sunset at Laguna Colorada, our first stop along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Enjoying sunset at Laguna Colorada, our first stop along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Walking back to our refugio on night one of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Walking back to our refugio on night one of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Our hostesses prepare dinner on night one of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Our hostesses prepare dinner on night one of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Sunrise on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Sunrise on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Despite my poor Spanish, I managed to convince one of our beautiful hostesses to stop for a few photos before we departed on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Despite my poor Spanish, I managed to convince one of our beautiful hostesses to stop for a few photos before we departed on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Despite my poor Spanish, I managed to convince one of our beautiful hostesses to stop for a few photos before we departed on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Despite my poor Spanish, I managed to convince one of our beautiful hostesses to stop for a few photos before we departed on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Our driver secures our bags on top of our 4x4 before we started off on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Our driver secured our bags on top of our 4×4 before we started off on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Arbol de Piedra, or Stone Tree, along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Arbol de Piedra, or Stone Tree, along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Our road, or roads, across the vast desert on the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Our road, or roads, across the vast desert on the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Such a mind boggling landscape. The Mountain of Seven Colors in Bolivia.

Such a mind boggling landscape. The Mountain of Seven Colors in Bolivia.

Stopping for photos of a Bolivian chichilla rat during a stop on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Stopping for photos of a Bolivian chichilla rat during a stop on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

A Bolivian chichilla rat on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

A Bolivian chichilla rat on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

A distant 4x4 races across the desert on our way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

A distant 4×4 races across the desert on our way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Our second fox sighting along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Our second fox sighting along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Once again we stood in awe of the out-of-this-world landacapes we passed through along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Once again we stood in awe of the out-of-this-world landacapes we passed through along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Flamingos feed in a lagoon along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Flamingos feed in a lagoon along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Flamingos feed in a lagoon along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Flamingos feed in a lagoon along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

One of many lagoons along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

One of many lagoons along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

We were so well catered to by our drivers who were preparing our lunch in this photo on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

We were so well catered to by our drivers who were preparing our lunch in this photo on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

A long, bumpy descent to the valley below on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

A long, bumpy descent to the valley below on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Volcan Tomasamil where we stopped and avoided endless amounts of used toilet paper to get a photo along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Volcan Tomasamil where we stopped and avoided endless amounts of used toilet paper to get a photo along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Railroad tracks along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Railroad tracks along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Stopping on endless railroad tracks along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Stopping on endless railroad tracks along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

A stop in a small town for refreshments on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

A stop in a small town for refreshments on day two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Vicuñas flee our passing 4x4 along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Vicuñas flee our passing 4×4 along the way to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Exploring outside our salt hostel on night two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Exploring outside our salt hotel on night two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Our salt hotel where we slept on night two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Our salt hotel where we slept on night two of our crossing to Uyuni, Bolivia.

This part of Bolivia is famous for its clear skies at night, allowing a clear view of the Milky Way and distant galaxies. Unfortunately the moon was still large during our time there, which didn't help with the night photos.

This part of Bolivia is famous for its clear skies at night, allowing a good view of the Milky Way and distant galaxies. Unfortunately the moon was still large during our time there, which didn’t help with the night photos.

Making our way to Isla Incahuasi in the middle of Salar de Uyuni where we would watch sunrise on our last morning of the tour to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Making our way to Isla Incahuasi in the middle of Salar de Uyuni where we would watch sunrise on our last morning of the tour to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Britnee pauses for a photo as we climbed to the top of Isla Incahuasi to watch the sunrise over Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Britnee paused for a photo as we climbed to the top of Isla Incahuasi to watch the sunrise over Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Mark admires the view from atop Isla Incahuasi as we waited for the sunrise over Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Mark admires the view from atop Isla Incahuasi as we waited for the sunrise over Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Britnee climbs to the top of Isla Incahuasi to watch the sunrise over Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Britnee climbed to the top of Isla Incahuasi to watch the sunrise over Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

The incredible view of Salar de Uyuni from the top of Isla Incahuasi in Bolivia.

The incredible view of Salar de Uyuni from the top of Isla Incahuasi in Bolivia.

Britnee atop Isla Incahuasi with Salar de Uyuni stretching away behind her as we awaited sunrise on the last day of our 4x4 tour in Bolivia.

Britnee atop Isla Incahuasi with Salar de Uyuni stretching away behind her as we awaited sunrise on the last day of our 4×4 tour in Bolivia.

The sunrises over Salar de Uyuni as seen from Isla Incahuasi, Bolivia.

The sunrise over Salar de Uyuni as seen from Isla Incahuasi, Bolivia.

The shadow of Isla Incahuasi stretches across Salar de Uyuni at sunrise in Bolivia.

The shadow of Isla Incahuasi stretched across Salar de Uyuni at sunrise in Bolivia.

Isla Incahuasi sprouts out of Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Isla Incahuasi sprouts out of Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Britnee makes a break for it across Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Britnee made a break for it across Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Jumping for joy at Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Jumping for joy at Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia. Thanks to our French friend Florian for the photo.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia. Thanks to our French friend Florian for the photo.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Britnee insisted. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Britnee insisted. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Then we found a Bolivian flag on Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Then we found a Bolivian flag on Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Then we found a Bolivian flag on Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Then we found a Bolivian flag on Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

The salt mounds on Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

The salt mounds on Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

A local allows me a picture after we crossed Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

A local allowed me a picture after we crossed Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

The train cemetery outside Uyuni, Bolivia.

The train cemetery outside Uyuni, Bolivia.

The train cemetery outside Uyuni, Bolivia.

The train cemetery outside Uyuni, Bolivia.

The train cemetery outside Uyuni, Bolivia.

The train cemetery outside Uyuni, Bolivia.

The train cemetery outside Uyuni, Bolivia.

The train cemetery outside Uyuni, Bolivia.

Uyuni, Bolivia. Britnee and I were the only ones from our entire tour group who spent a night here. But we needed the rest before taking on a 12-hour night bus to La Paz.

Uyuni, Bolivia. Britnee and I were the only ones from our entire tour group who spent a night here. But we needed the rest before taking on a 12-hour night bus to La Paz.

Uyuni, Bolivia. Britnee and I were the only ones from our entire tour group who spent a night here. But we needed the rest before taking on a 12-hour night bus to La Paz.

Uyuni, Bolivia. Britnee and I were the only ones from our entire tour group who spent a night here. But we needed the rest before taking on a 12-hour night bus to La Paz.

Uyuni, Bolivia. Britnee and I were the only ones from our entire tour group who spent a night here. But we needed the rest before taking on a 12-hour night bus to La Paz.

Uyuni, Bolivia. Britnee and I were the only ones from our entire tour group who spent a night here. But we needed the rest before taking on a 12-hour night bus to La Paz.

Next photo gallery: traveling from Puno to Cusco in Peru.

7 Responses

  1. Florian

    Hey Mark et Britnee.
    I have just had a look at your bolivian pictures. Yes, only now I am taking the time to do so. But when we were in Chile, Cecile and I already looked at your pictures from Paris, Barcelona and some other of the places you visited around the world.
    I just wanted to leave a short comment to say how great your pictures are.
    Take care guys!

    Reply
    • Britnee Johnston

      Hey Florian! Sorry for the slow response, we just saw this comment. Thanks for checking out our blog and liking our photos! Hope to stay in touch and see you guys in Utah sometime. :)

      Reply
  2. sameer

    hi both of you,

    it’s something like love at first sight, when i was searching for some information for my china trip i came across your site & i fell in love with the photographs. It either burn me or inspire me i don’t know, but all pics have the feel of true nature portraying the real life along with it. Keep going..

    Reply
  3. kIMBERLY

    just discovered your site! Amazing travels and stunning pics! What is the name of the tour group or how can I find this group so I can take the same tour?

    Reply
  4. victoria

    Hi both of you.

    I’m from Mexico, i´m thinking travel like you, it’s a great idea and i need it. Congratulations… i love your pics.

    Reply

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