Bolivia

Dates: February 26–March 6, 2020

Begins & Ends: San Pedro de Atacama

Nearest Airport: Calama (CJC)

Leaders: Jeffrey Chapman & Winslow Lockhart

Maximum Participants: 8

Tuition: $6,900

Accommodation: Included
(optional single supplement: $600)

Meals: Included

Payment Policy: 3 Installments
     • $500 deposit to confirm participation
     • 50% due by June 1, 2019
     • Balance due by September 1, 2019

This photographic adventure begins and ends in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. Tuition includes hotels (based on double occupancy; single occupancy is available with payment of a single-occupancy supplement), meals, driver and guide tips, and local group transportation for the duration of the adventure. It does not include souvenirs, bar beverages, laundry, insurance (travel, medical, cancellation), nor any personal expenses.

This adventure is suitable for all levels of photographic experience. Participants must be in good health and able to spend each day walking and carrying their own equipment.

Reserve your spot below.

Bolivia Within The Frame Photographic Adventure

Bolivia Within The Frame Itinerary

Bolivia is the largest landlocked country in the Southern Hemisphere and has one of the richest biodiversities on the planet with a wide variety of terrain and climates supporting an impressive assortment of flora and fauna with new species being discovered fairly regularly. As a country that celebrates being home to more than 3,000 butterfly species, its not surprising that this nation has captured the attention of the world with its Law of the Rights of Mother Earth, which legally grants nature the same rights as humans.

Bolivia Within The Frame focuses on the Andean region in the southwest, once part on the Inca Empire where some of the highest peaks in the Americas are found, and specifically this adventure concentrates on a corridor of natural wonders located near the border with Chile. The unexpected is to be expected here as each location provides its own challenges to what it means to experience a terrain that can often leave one awestruck. It’s not often that one can choose to place oneself in a vista that isn’t quite believable. The landscape looks photoshopped before a photographer even decides in which direction to point the lens. The locations chosen provide unique challenges and opportunities for photographers to test their abilities and creativity and to generally take delight in sensory perception. This region of the Andes is a visual funhouse.

The mix of flora and fauna that combine with the geological starkness of this region create bizarre juxtapositions that make one wonder if someone slipped something into the morning coffee. But, of course, we are all foodies at heart, and we are going to enjoy some good local eats along the way.

The people of Bolivia with their indigenous and colonial mix are equally fascinating, and while we’ll be concentrating primarily on the incredible natural wonders around us on this adventure, we will take some time to meet and photograph the people with their ancient ancestry linking them to this land. (The Constitution recognizes 36 languages other than Spanish.)

This photographic adventure is about the passionate discovery and photography of people, place, and culture, with emphasis given to going deep not wide, and pursuing that most elusive of photographic necessities — our vision. It is appropriate for photographers of all levels, and you will be free to photograph independently or always with the assistance of one of the leaders.

San Pedro de Atacama & The Valley of the Moon (Day One)

A brief drive from the airport in Calama, Chile brings us to San Pedro De Atacama, an unexpected foodie and spa town in what looks like the set of a Western movie near the border with Bolivia. This is our home for the first three nights of our adventure as we make excursions exploring the otherworldly landscape and scenery of the Atacama Desert. This location allows us to acclimate to the high altitude before moving on to higher altitudes in Bolivia.

On our first evening, we have an excursion to The Valley of the Moon, a stark moon-like landscape of polychromatic rock and sand formations with what are reported to be among the clearest skies in the Southern Hemisphere over snow-capped volcanoes, an area ideal for stargazing and enjoying and photographing the sunset over this unique terrain.

Rainbow Valley & Mars Valley (Day Two)

A morning excursion to Valle De Arco Iris (Rainbow Valley) finds us exploring the colorful landscape with its unusually vibrant mineral deposits of reds, yellows, oranges, purples, and greens blanketing the landscape.

After enjoying lunch we head to Valle De La Muerte (Death Valley), also commonly called Mars Valley. It is a stark and peculiar landscape without any visible evidence of civilization, just vast expanses of reddish sand and the peculiarly intriguing formations of the salt mountains. We explore this area and find an ideal position to observe and photograph the sunset.

Salar de Tara (Day Three)

Our third day is dedicated to a full day excursion, partly off-road, to Salar de Tara within The Flamingos National Reserve, bordering both Bolivia and Argentina. Visiting this location can be described as a hallucinatory-like experience where the landscape and the jarring juxtapositions of colorful sand, white salt, startlingly odd rock formations, and wildlife might prompt one to nudge one’s neighbor and ask “are you seeing what I am seeing?” Why is there a flock of flamingos at a dreamy lake in the middle of a desert? We’re going to find out. The opportunities for photography here are endless. It’s often described as an experience that feels like visiting a different planet. This day trip is also preparing us for the higher altitudes once we move into Bolivia. During this day excursion we are at an altitude of 4,200 meters (13,779 feet), while our hotel in San Pedro is at 2,600 meters (8,530 feet).

Coral Army (Day Four)

We travel to the Bolivian Plateau, the Altiplano, the most expansive area of high plateau on Earth other than Tibet. This is a fairly relaxed travel day providing us with the occasion to explore any points of interest that might arise along the way, including our goal destination by evening, the Coral Army. We have the surreal opportunity to walk an Andean plateau among large coral formations that were once below sea level.

Salar de Uyuni & Pescado Island (Days Five — Six)

Our morning is free to explore the village of Uyuni with its buildings made with volcanic stone, and in the afternoon we travel across the Salar de Uyuni to Pescado Island, our home for the next two nights. The Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat on the planet and among the world’s most striking landscapes. It is 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 square miles) of startlingly white salt, the remains of a prehistoric lake long ago evaporated. Sunglasses may be required as the sensation of viewing this landscape can be similar to snow blindness. Our adventure is scheduled to immediately follow the rainy season when we are most likely to experience the salt flat as a vast mirror reflecting the sky. It is visually stunning and can be disorienting. Satellites use this area for calibration as the altitude across the salt flat varies by only about a meter. We arrive at Pescado Island, a rocky and cacti-covered island in the middle of Salar de Uyuni, by late afternoon. It is a mirage-like outpost set amid the savagely stark and seemingly endlessly vast expanse of the white salt flat.

Our sixth day is spent exploring and photographing the salt flat and Pescado Island, including a visit to a salt mine on the Salar. The experience of travelling on the salt flat can be bewildering. Odd things can seem to happen.

Laguna Colorado & Stone Tree (Days Seven — Eight)

We enjoy our morning on the Salar de Uyuni as we drive to the southern Bolivian high desert, arriving in Laguna Colorado (Red Lagoon) by evening. The red of the wetlands here is created by minerals in the water and a red pigmented algae. Three varieties of flamingo are found here, including the James’s Flamingo once though to be extinct. The pink coloration of these birds adds to the unexpected sight of pink flamingoes on red wetlands set in a stark and treeless landscape of salt flats and volcanos. It can be difficult to believe descriptions of this area without photos as evidence. It looks like a mashup of images created for a virtual world. It’s not the picture that comes to mind when thinking of the Andes, yet here it is. A colorful sunset is the perfect addition to the mix.

After breakfast on day eight we visit Stone Tree, a rock sculpted by wind erosion and curiously rising from this remote spot among Altiplano sand dunes like a 7 meter (23 feet) sprout reaching for the sun. The afternoon finds us back at Laguna Colorado to explore and photograph until evening.

Laguna Verda & Laguna Blanca (Day Nine)

We return to San Pedro de Atacama, visiting spots of interest along the way in the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve of Andean Fauna. Laguna Verda, a high-altitude mineral salt lake with an emerald color set at the base of the dormant volcano Licancabur, is connected to Laguna Blanca, a white salt lake, by a narrow strait. This is another unforgettable Andean landscape of striking and colorful beauty. We also find a string of hot springs in this lake area. This National Reserve is habitat for many animals, including vicunas, condors, and flamingos. Arriving in San Pedro we have the evening to explore areas missed when here earlier in the adventure and to revisit favorite spots for our last evening of the adventure.

San Pedro de Atacama (Day Ten)

We will spend our final morning exploring San Pedro de Atacama one last time, enjoying the company of new friends, and planning our next adventures before saying our goodbyes and heading home.

Although this represents the photographic adventure’s planned itinerary, it is subject to change at the discretion of the adventure leaders.

Reserve Your Spot

A $500 deposit is required to confirm your participation. Click on the Pay Deposit button to reserve your spot. You will be able to pay the deposit via PayPal or credit card. To pay by other methods (or if you encounter difficulties), please fill out the Registration Form and request an invoice in the comments. Please read the Cancellation Policy and the Release of Liability.

Pay Deposit

Request Information