Rising from a blindingly white sea of salt, Tunupa volcano is a multi-hued cone that pokes from an alpine wonderland. Here in Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, everything you think you know about landscapes is completely turned upside down, as the massive salt plane plays tricks on your eyes, and pink flamingos hang by lakes that burst in deep shades of red. Above it all stands Tunupa Volcano, a dormant and often snow-covered peak that rises up to 17,457 feet. Though ascending up to the frigid summit requires some mountaineering, a viewpoint at 15,500 feet offers visitors a sweeping, panoramic view of the Salar de Uyuni beneath you. Like gazing out on a blanket of clouds from the slopes of a colorful mountain, the white down below is actually formed as part of the world’s largest salt flat. Many tours to Salar de Uyuni incorporate scaling the volcano, and while the air is cold, thin, wind-whipped, and it’s noticeably harder to breathe, the view from the slopes of Tunupa volcano is one you won’t ever forget.
Because of the very high altitude, visitors need to be properly acclimated and take it slow when hiking. As for photographing the mountain itself, the colors tend to burst the strongest in the hour just before sunset.
Did You Know? Tunupa volcano is home to caves that are full of ancient mummies.