Tag Archives: Bolivia

The Bolivian Army

Training recruits, that is.

bolivia army training

bolivia army training

Bolivian army recruits ran through the streets just after sunrise in the border town of Villazón, just steps from Argentina. Everyone pauses to greet them as they jog past.

bolivia army training

bolivia army training

We walked across the border to Villazón before jumping on the train to Uyuni to explore the famous salar, or salt flat.

la quiaca villazon bolivia argentina border

At the border between Argentina and Bolivia, crossing from La Quiaca to Villazón

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Shot of the Week

Salar de Uyuni salt flat BoliviaThe Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flat, making it an important source of table salt as well as lithium, which lies in pools beneath the salt. It also happens to be a stunning tourist destination. Read more about the salar on TKGO.

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Shot of the Week

A traffic circle in La Paz, Bolivia, by TKGO

Residents wait for public transportation in La Paz, Bolivia. Privately-operated white vans are most common, and work similarly to a public bus system.

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Shot of the Week

This little cafe is one in a strip of identical eateries hidden behind the bus stop in the border town of Villazón, Bolivia. The two women — one carrying a baby on her back — serve up a traditional breakfast of hot flatbread (seen sitting on the counter) and tea with coca leaves to its patrons on picnic tables.

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Salt Hotels and Lithium in Bolivia

After a five-month study abroad stint in Buenos Aires, my friend Ashley and I packed one school-sized backpack each and set off on a three-week tour of northern Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Brazil in December, 2008. This excursion to the salt flats was part of that South American route.

The Bolivian salt flat, also known as Salar de Uyuni, extends for 4,086 sq. miles, making it the world’s largest. In a large pool under the salt, over 50 percent of the world’s lithium supply is waiting to be harvested, and on the hour-long ride into what felt like the middle of a white ocean, we saw several lithium- and salt-extracting sites (which basically consisted of one crane and a couple guys hauling blocks of salt).

Besides the condiments and battery power, the Salar de Uyuni provides a trippy photo op. Behind a camera lens, the white appears as though it will never end, distorting your field of vision. Read: If I run really far away, it looks like a mini-me is sitting in Ashley’s hand. Now that’s a true backpacker’s souvenir.

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