Soon after entering the Eduardo Abaroa Andean National Reserve, we arrived at the Laguna Colorada. With water that shifts spectacularly between deep blue and dark red, the reason for its name is immediately apparent. Home to bright pink flamingos, the lagoon is bordered with yellow rings of sulfur and highlighted with mounds of pure-white borax, which jut into the water like tiny glaciers and are slowly disappearing. With the gray, snow-capped peaks of the Andes serving as a backdrop, the Laguna Colorada looks like one of Bob Ross’s fever dreams.
On the second morning of our trip from Uyuni, we awoke with sore backs and cold toes after having spent the night in a salt hotel. The place was built entirely from the stuff: salt tables, salt floors, salt walls. Instead of sleeping, I spent the night licking my bed. But we loaded our tired bodies dutifully into the jeep and, within no time, had reached the desert of Chiguana. Shrubs, sand and the occasional llama were our only companions as we cut southwest through one of Bolivia’s most underdeveloped corners.