© iStock-Daniela Paoliello
© iStock-Daniela Paoliello
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Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve - The treasure of the highlands

3 minutes to read

Lagoons of colors, sand and salt deserts, geysers, thermal waters, and unusual rock formations are some of the wonders of nature that will amaze you in Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, located in the south-western end of Bolivia.

Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve
Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve

Land of deserts

Some of the highest and driest sand deserts in the world can be found within Eduardo Avaroa Reserve. Probably, the most special part about it is its atmospheric characteristics, which make it lead the list of 'the best places in the world for stargazing.'

Among the deserts of the reserve, however, there is one with shapes and colors that brings in mind surrealist paintings of one of the most famous Spanish artists- that is why it was named after him- the Salvador Dali Desert.

Desierto Salvador Dali
Desierto Salvador Dali
© iStock-nikpal
© iStock-nikpal

Anyhow, the deserts here are not only formed by sand, but also by salt! In fact, if you want to see the biggest desert of salt – of Bolivia and the world – just go a bit norther from the reserve, and you will find the majestic Uyuni Salt Flat!

Uyuni Salt Flat
Uyuni Salt Flat
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Sol de Mañana

Sol de Mañana (Morning Sun) is an area inside the Reserve where the volcanic activity gave place to geysers, boiling mud, and melted minerals, among other phenomena. 

At this altitude, the water boils at 83 °C and the boiling mud borders this temperature too. Just as the lagoons of colors, the boiling mud can sometimes be tinted by the minerals; that is how - besides the usual gray - the boiling mud can have colors as yellow or pink.

Those who are ready to wake up very early will stare the geysers at their best. This mineral steam blowing out at high pressure from the earth’s crusts, at times, can go as high as 50 meters up.

Sol de Mañana
Sol de Mañana
© iStock/mariusz_prusaczyk
© iStock/mariusz_prusaczyk

Stone formations

Inside Siloli Desert, among all the stone formations, there is one that especially catches the attention, because of its particular shape of a tree. This stone, called Árbol de Piedra (Stone Tree), seems like it could fall down at the most minimal touch, but instead, it is there standing firm as a gift of the erosion phenomenon.

Árbol de Piedra
Árbol de Piedra
© iStock/larissapereira
© iStock/larissapereira

On the other hand, Bosque de Piedras (Stones Forest) and Italia Perdida (Lost Italy) – located on the northern side of the park – are two complexes with interesting stone formations for those who can let their imagination fly.

Bosque de Piedras
Bosque de Piedras
Italia Perdida
Italia Perdida
© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada
© Zoomalmapa/VanesaZegada

Lagoons of colors

Lagoons of various colors with amazing volcanic backgrounds delight the view along the reserve, and you can find out more about them in the article called “Lagoons of colors and hot springs in the highlands.

© iStock/Jacynthroode
© iStock/Jacynthroode

Andean Animals

At first glimpse, it seems that no animals could live under this cold, adverse, and desertic territory, but we cannot be more wrong. More than a hundred species of mammals, birds, and reptiles live in the reserve! Along the journey, it is not unusual to spot wild foxes and vizcachas approaching the tourists. On the other hand, condors fly freely along the sky while ostriches run as fast as they can when they get a bit scared. The lucky ones might even find a quirquincho or an Andean cat.

© iStock/marktucan
© iStock/marktucan

Anyhow, one of the most particular images is the different species of flamingos spending their time in the lagoons of colors- particularly the pink flamingos matching in color the Laguna Colorada (Red Lagoon).

© iStock-Vividus
© iStock-Vividus

Finally, of course, the highlands would not be the highlands without the presence of fluffy llamas, alpacas, and vicunas.

© iStock/marktucan
© iStock/marktucan

What seems to be a desertic region, Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, saves so many treasures that it is hard to believe. Getting immersed in this land, at moments feels almost surreal. Colors and contrasts make this edge of the world an original natural piece of art.


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The author

Vanesa Zegada

Vanesa Zegada

I am Vanesa and I am from Bolivia. I am in love with my homeland. It never stops surprising me, even if I am a local. It is a place full of diversity, traditions, interesting spots that I want to share with you through my stories on itinari.

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