Wet season or dry season? The best time to visit the Bolivian Salt Flats

Taking a step in the Bolivian Salt Flats or Salar de Uyuni is like taking a step in another planet. It is almost twelve thousand feet above sea level where the oxygen is low and more than ten and a half thousand square kilometres in size. The landscape is the same for as far as the eye can see which results in some pretty cool photos and makes Salar de Uyuni a travel photographer’s dream.

If you are thinking of travelling to Salar de Uyuni the chances are you have seen two types of photos from two quite different landscapes. The first is from Salar de Uyuni in the dry season with the typical comical perspective photos and the second is from the wet season, where a layer of water covers the flat surface creating a mirror effect… but which one is better?

On my trip to Salar de Uyuni in the beginning of April I was lucky enough to experience both, it had been raining a few days previously and ao on some areas of the salt flats the water had dried up and on other areas the flats were covered in water.

Bolivian Salt Flats in the dry season

Google Salar de Uyuni photo ideas and you will be met with thousands of photos of people standing in their friend’s hand, running away from toy dinosaurs and climbing out of bottles of wine. On the tour that I did with Red Planet we were given two hours to take photos so I suggest you bring some props and get googling before had so you have plenty of ideas. In the wet season you can’t really take these kind of photos because your photographer will have to lie down in freezing cold water to take the photos.

The main advantage with travelling to Salar de Uyuni in the dry season is that you will not be restricted in how far you can go on your tour. The salt flat tours typically last three days and two nights with the first day on the salt flats and the second and third days in the Bolivian desert. After speaking to other travellers who visited the salt flats when they were completely covered in water they said that they had to travel back to Uyuni on the first night and missed out of staying in a salt hotel and some aspects of the tour because the water was too high to drive through.

Bolivian Salt Flats in the wet season

The compromise of missing out of some aspects of the Bolivian desert and the fun perspective photos – which is a big compromise and one I am not sure that I would take – is that you will get some simply stunning photo of the mirrored salt flats. The sky reflects in the water and the landscape carries on for as far as the eye can see so that you truly look like you are walking on water.

The landscape of Salar de Uyuni is truly unique whatever time of year you visit and I would say that if you are only able to visit the salt flats for one day then the wet season may be the better option because the view is remarkable. However if you are planning to do the three day tour of the salt flats and the Bolivian desert you don’t want anything to prevent you from seeing as much of the amazing landscape as possible and whilst you may not have the beautiful mirrored view there will be plenty of other am I on another planet views that await you.


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