Colored Lagoons and Southtern Region

There are several tourist places to visit in the southern part of Potosi. Tours can begin in the Chilean border and go up to the Salar de Uyuni or the other way around, start in the Salar de Uyuni and visit the most important locations along the south part.

Geysers “Sol de Mañana” (morning sun)

Is a geothermal field in Sur Lipez Province in the Potosi Department, 346 km from the city of Uyuni. It extends over 2 km², between 4800m and 5000m height.

This area consists of high plains, constituted by deposits of lava and glacier material, dominated by the presence of volcanic structure. Is characterized by intense volcanic activity and a sulphur springs field. In the craters of this region there are mud pots, impermeable shallow depressions that have no direct connection to an underground water flow. Thermal water beneath them causes steam to rise through the ground, heating the collected surface water. Hydrogen sulfide gas is usually present, giving mudpots their characteristic odor of rotten eggs. Here we also find fumaroles, commonly called steam vents; occurs when a hydrothermal feature has so little water in its system that the water boils away before reaching the surface.

Laguna colorada (colored lagoon)

According to the authorities of Potosi department, each year there are over 100.000 tourists visiting this unparalleled Lagoon.
Its altitude is 4278 m and the annual rainfall is just 72 mm. The colors of Laguna Colorada stand out immediately upon seeing it, a bizarre landscape that is otherworldly. The red color of the lagoon’s shallow waters (35 cm), are rich in borax and salt. The color of the lagoon and the flamingos come from the effect of the solar radiation, plankton and of two kinds of algae: Dunaliella salina, adapted to solar radiation using β-carotene to protect against ionizing energy and a red algae that produces Phycoerythrin, a red protein-pigment complex.

Laguna verde (green lagoon).

Is a salt lake in and endorheic basin, in the southwestern Altiplano in Bolivia. It is located in the Sur Lipez Province of the Potosí Department. It is close to the Chilean border, at the foot of the volcano Licancabur, of 5,868 metres (19,252 ft) in elevation, which is a nearly perfect cone.

The Laguna Verde covers an area of 1700 ha, and a narrow causeway divides it into two parts. At the southwestern extremity of the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve and Bolivia itself. The hue of colors add an extra dimension to the already picture perfect landscapes that surrounds this lagoon. It has mineral debris of arsenic, copper and other minerals which render color to the lagoon waters. Its shades vary from turquoise to dark emerald depending on the disturbance caused to sediments in the lake by winds.

Árbol de Piedra (Stone Tree)

The most famous rock formation is the Arbol de Piedra, a 7m. isolated volcanic rock formation in the Desierto Siloli (Eduardo Avaroa Reserve), about 18 kilometres (11 mi) north of Laguna Colorada. This unique rock resembles a tree, with a long, narrow trunk and a wide crown, due to strong winds carrying sand and eroding its surface.

The Salt Flats of Uyuni and region are year round good to visit, with some restrictions during the rainy season (December to February) especially when the Salt Flats are flooded because of the rain. This phenomenon also offers a great chance for the photo enthusiasts to enjoy the reflection of the sky over the salty waters.
The most popular season to visit this region is during the dry season from March to November. That means that we can cross the Salt Flats and visit all sightseeing.

To get to Uyuni you have the following options:

  1. By plane from every city in Bolivia with connections through La Paz. Also available flights from Cusco – Peru
  2. By land using bus or private car from La Paz, Potosi and Sucre.
  3. By Train from Oruro and Villazon

From La Paz: 523km (9h trip)
From Potosí: 202km (3h trip)
From Sucre: 352km (6h trip)
From Oruro: 323km (4h trip)

Season Nights Day
December – April (Rainy season) 5°C between 13°C and 20°C
May – August (winter time) -10°C between 5° and 10°C
September – November (Dry season) -3°C between 10° y 15°C
  • Warm clothing: This is a desert but its 3.650 to 5.035 meters above sea level. Nights are cold and it’s very windy. Dress in layers so you don’t sweat or freeze.
  • Sunglasses: the vast Uyuni salt flats act as a mirror reflecting the sun.
  • Sun block and Moisturizer: this is an extremely arid region and your skin will dry out. Bottled water, you can purchase beverages when you arrive, but it’s a long drive.
  • Proper cellphone: if you plan to bring your international cellphone, you should know Bolivia uses a different system than other countries.
  • Cameras, batteries, battery chargers, cellphone charger: electric current converter and if you use a digital camera, extra memory cards. The electricity in Uyuni is 220v.