Are you Looking When is the best time to visit Salar de Uyuni? the Bolivian Desert? or a Photography guide for Uyuni? We have it all! Let’s start:
Uyuni: When to Get the Best Photos Guide
You’ve seen the epic photos and you know you want your own…
…Of the magical place with a million different perspectives, where creativity runs wild and anything is possible: Salar de Uyuni, in the beautiful Bolivia.
Today it is an incredible destination with beautiful reflections of the sky and horizon that make it an ideal spot for photography enthusiasts. A huge favorite for photographers and adventurers of all levels, give you chance to hold a llama in one hand or step on your friends.
And it’s all thanks to salt and rain.
Salar de Uyuni, located in the Bolivian Altiplano, is one of the most stunning and unique landscapes on Earth, stretching for miles and miles in every direction, the huge expanse of salt flats in Salar de Uyuni provide a fantastic (almost perfectly flat) backdrop for playing with perspective and reflection in your photos.
After your Uyuni tour exploring and goofing off on camera, you’ll have hilarious, other-worldly and unique photographs to take back as souvenirs that really represent the variety of beauty that Bolivia has to offer.
The salar can be visited all year round however it’s important to consider which season or time of year will best suit your photographic needs as well as provide you with the best overall experience.
But you have to make sure if you want to visit Bolivia salt flats best time to go
It’s important to note that many visitors come during wet season (last week December-April) due to its higher water levels and subsequent reflective qualities.
During this period, because there’s more water in the Salar, you can see deeper reflections that create new hues in its colors and bring out unique patterns on its vast expanse of salty white ground.
This is a great time for anyone looking to capture photos with intense colors such as blues, greens, oranges and yellows depending on the type of shot you want to take.
If visiting during wet season doesn’t fit into your schedule then dry season (April-October) might be a better option. Since it allows for greater accessibility throughout salar’s terrains since water levels are much lower, at this time of year allowing for relative ease in navigating salar’s muddy roads during this time.
In terms of accessibility dry season allows for greater light intensity due to longer days making salar de uyuni look even brighter against its mirror like surface reflecting back rays from sun above giving photos taken at this time extra vibrancy.
The best months to visit Salar de Uyuni also depend on what type of photographer you are as well as what types of shots you plan on taking.
If landscape photography is what interests you then April/May would likely yield better results given clearer skies prevalent around these months providing great opportunities for stellar sky captures with salars backdrop below.
There are 3 types of photos that are iconic of Uyini, if you’re trying to get an amazing reflection, you wouldn’t want to go the wrong time of year and not get the epic photo you’ve dreamt of. So we’ve broken down the different photo styles and when to go so you’ll never miss a shot.
FUN FACT: The Salar de Uyuni is used by NASA as a reference point to position its satellites !
1. Perspective Photo
Best Time to Go: In the dry season April-October
These are the ICONIC photos you see all over Instagram of people doing hilarious things that are totally impossible. And that’s why they are so great. The best perspective photos are the ones that make you think, “Dang… that looks real!
Because Salar de Uyuni is almost perfectly flat and one uniform color, you can play with perspective in your photos and make them look almost believable.
The best time to take Uyuni tours to get this kind of shot is when the salt flats are dry, which is most of the year except for the rainy season between December to March. When the rain hits the salt it changes the surface and makes it reflective, which is amazing! But for this kind of photo, you wouldn’t want the distraction of a reflection taken away from your play-on perspective.
2. Reflection Photo
Best Time to Visit Uyuni Salt Flats for reflection photos? December to March
These next two types of photos have a very short window of possibility. The salt flats alone cannot create these amazing reflections. It’s when the rain hits the salt, making it a shining, glass-like smooth surface that you’re able to get reflections that look real.
And what I mean is, if you flipped your reflection photo upside down, you wouldn’t be able to tell which side is “reality” and which side is the reflection.
There’s a sweet spot when the salt flats reflect like nothing you’ve ever seen before… during the rainy season, between January and March. Yep, that’s only three months out of the year, but trust… it’s so worth taking Salar de Uyuni tours this time of year. Any other time and you’ll get the dry salt which is no bueno for reflections of any kind.
3. Night Reflection Photo
Best Time to take night photos in Uyuni: March to May
Now, we just talked about reflection photos, but that was just in the daytime.
It gets even better.
Imagine the night sky… jam-packed with stars, no city lights hazing them out. Basically an adventurer photographer’s dream.
Now DOUBLE IT.
Because at night, the salt flats reflect the sky creating two galaxies, one above and one below you. 360 immersion. With the right camera settings and a tripod, the shots you can get here are out of this world.
We highly recommend taking a Uyuni night tour while you’re here, and we can help you book the best one. Not only will you have a guide helping you get the best shots, but you’ll also be able to pick out constellations and sometimes even planets. Guaranteed, you won’t get as much sleep this night, and you’ll be absolutely, perfectly okay with it.
Remember, Salar de Uyuni tours don’t disappoint any time of the year and you can get cool photos regardless of when you go BUT if you want to experience the one-of-a-kind reflective landscape that the rainy season creates, take your Salar de Uyuni stargazing tour between March and April
Overall no matter what kind of photographer they may be Salar De Uyuni provides incredible combination beauty accessibility make it prime destination any who seek capture images unlike anything else seen before – so pick right month plan accordingly enjoy all has offer!
This was one of our favorite experiences traveling South America, and we think it will be yours too. Also, most of us here at Visit South America are big-time into photography, so we’d be stoked to share any tips! Just contact us!
Detailed Information to visit Uyuni & Desert on 2023 (If you are looking for long tours)
Salar de Uyuni Rainy Season (late December to March)
Pros: Known as the magic season of Uyuni, these months the rains and diversions of rivers cause the flooding of the Salar de Uyuni, creating a layer of water (from 1cm to 50cm) that provides the mirror effect so desired by many travelers, That is why this season is usually one of the busiest and highest in Uyuni (note: prices can double or triple). Additionally, you can still find the mirror effects for the months of April to May, but it will depend on the changes in weather and the luck of nature.
Cons: The rains in the deserts are usually a serious problem for the accesses, sometimes the rivers overflow or other parts become muddy that even the best 4×4 car will get stuck on the road, when the rains are intense from January to February we don’t recommend taking routes through the deserts since you can have a bad experience (believe me, you don’t want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere). Consider twice taking a tour with a trusted operator if you are going to take the risk of visiting the lagoons and deserts. On the other hand, a lot of water in the Salar can mean that you won’t have good views with reflection, more you will see scenarios that look more like a sea than a mirror. In addition, you will not be able to visit the island of the giant cacti, like other attractions such as the Tunupa Volcano, the circuits inside the salt flat are very limited, even so, they are impressive.
Salar de Uyuni Dry Season (April to November)
Pros: basically the soils are hardened, this means that the access roads improve by 200%, this reduces the problems of stalling the car and helps to reach deserts and lagoons, trekking within the circuit such as Incachuasi Island, Tunupa Volcano or Mysterious lake (Qatal) can be done with ease and are worthwhile experiences!
Cons: The cold will be your enemy! The lowest temperatures are usually from June to August, this means that you have chances of snow in the deserts, cancellations due to weather or change of itinerary, and not being able to visit even 40% of the circuit. Sleeping in the desert can be the coldest experience you will ever have, since hostels, and even hotels are forced to cancel reservations due to snow or extreme weather. For all this, I recommend wearing many layers, thermal clothing, and extra patience, since those who have a worse time are the logistics of the tour operators.
For more inspiration, explore our Bolivia Gallery on Instagram. You will love everything!
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