A traveler reflected in the mirror surface of the Salar de Uyuni salt flats

© James Strachan / Getty Images


Standing in defiance of the desert-like landscape that surrounds it, Uyuni occupies a desolate corner of southwestern Bolivia. Mention Uyuni to a Bolivian and they will whistle and emphasize harto frío (extreme cold). Yet despite the icy conditions, the town has a cheerful buzz about it, with hundreds of travelers passing through every week to kick off their tour of Salar de Uyuni or the Southwest Circuit.

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