Bizzare beauty, mythical mirages and a lack of physical perception; these are the key components that attract a multitude of adventure travelers and travel photographers to Bolivia’s largest salt flat. Looking out the dusty window of our 4X4 as the smell of sand and a tinge of sulphur taints the air, through the lenses of my sunglasses, all I can see is an expanse of ivory white that stretches on for miles. “Here folks, is the world’s largest mirror!” claims our guide, he says when a large sheet of rainwater coats the surface, the whole Salar becomes a magnificent reflection of the sky, “Who says you can’t walk on clouds?” quips the guide cheekily.
One might think the spectacular flats were the sole aspect of the Salar, however it soon became evidently clear that that we were in for much more beauty than we hoped for. From Incahuasi, the island of gigantic cacti with some more cacti than three meters tall, to Laguna Verde, the neon turquoise lagoon, the whole Salar seemingly held an abundance of dreamlike backdrops that could star in several of Dali’s surreal masterpieces. The whimsical addition of neon pink James flamingoes only added to the Salar’s quizzical yet fantastical charm. As I knelt down amongst the wispy golden bushes to photograph the avian ballerinas, I chuckled to myself as I thought of the travelers who had yet set out to discover such paradise, and by god were they missing out.
- Steph Chan