Salar de Uyuni
When to Get the Best Photos Guide
by Rachel Daley
by Rachel Daley
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.
A huge favorite for photographers and adventurers of all levels, Salar de Uyuni tours give you the chance to hold a llama in one hand, step on your friends, or get a mirror-like reflection.
And it’s all thanks to salt and rain.
The ultimate guide to take epic pictures in Salar de Uyuni
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.
There are 3 types of photos that are iconic of Salar de Uyuni, and which ones you want to get will determine what time of year you need to take your Uyuni tour.
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 !
Our dear #VSAtraveler Marc doing Karate!
Best Time to Go: Pretty much anytime except the rainy season December to March
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!”
Phot by @maddiecosco
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 amaaaazing. But for this kind of photo you wouldn’t want the distraction of a reflection taking away from your play on perspective.
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.
Now, we just talked about reflection photos, but that was just in the day time.
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.
Stargazing tour in Salar de Uyuni. @DanielKordan
We highly recommend taking a Uyuni stargazing 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.
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 comment below.
Rachel Daley is our resident content writer. With a passion for other cultures and understanding new points of view, ‘VSA feels like home’. Having gone to a very international university, she has friends on pretty much every continent, in Korea and Japan, to Ecuador, to Italy. She’s basically fluent in Spanglish, does a decent British accent, and loves photography.
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