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Salar de Uyuni by 4x4

Go off-roading in Southwest Bolivia’s lunarlike salt flats.


Go off-roading in Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni.  

On landing in La Paz, drop your bags at the crisply modern Stannum Boutique Hotel (doubles from $115; stannumhotels.com) and head straight to Gustu (Calle 10 de Calacoto, No. 300; 591-2-211-7491), the new restaurant from Noma co-founder Claus Meyer. Advance reservations are a must, but diners who plan ahead will be rewarded with an adventurous tasting menu ($130, with wine pairings) featuring fifteen-plus courses like butter-poached llama shoulder and sugarcane meringue topped with singani-infused tumbo fruit. Take a nightcap of Bolivian wines at Capotraste (Calle René Moreno 1335; 591-2-279-3773), before waking up early for a short flight (or long bus ride) to the jump-off points of Uyuni or Potosí. It’s here you’ll spend four days off-roading with a guide in a tricked-out Toyota Land Cruiser (from $385 per person; rutaverdebolivia.com) across the Salar de Uyuni, a 4,085-square-mile, high-altitude salt desert. Nearly 100 times the size of the kiddie flats in Bonneville, Utah, Uyuni is home to native viscachas (fat little chinchillalike rodents) and islands of cacti; in the rare event it rains, the shattered flats perfectly mirror the sky. You’ll also explore neighboring geothermal springs, Dali-esque rock formations, and turquoise-and-blood-red mountain lagoons swarming with flamingoes. Bed down in the Luna Salada (from $130; lunasaladahotel.com.bo), a 23-room hotel built almost entirely of salt blocks, or join one of Über-luxe operator Explora’s eight-day, all-inclusive Travesías tours (from $5,080 per person; explora.com) for a posh bed in a reconstructed shipping container and a stint in the glitzy Hotel de Larache in San Pedro de Atacama, just over the border in Chile.

The thrill-o-meter: Nobly electrifying.


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