The Altiplano, or the Andean Plateau, extends from Chile through Bolivia and into Peru to the northwest and Argentina to the east. In March 2020 I traveled to the Bolivian portion of the Altiplano and photographed this amazing landscape while the world changed around me. Towards the end of the expedition, the Coronavirus caused the surrounding countries to close their borders, and municipalities to impose lockdowns and quarantines. Flights were cancelled and airports shuttered. Luckily, we were able to fly home on a circuitous route full of flight changes, Skymiles redeemed, and one complimentary upgrade to first class. Looking back at the trip from the comfort of home, I can honestly say that at first, our main concern, was acclimatizing to the high altitude of the Altiplano. But at the end of our trip our concerns shifted to the health of everyone. We we were extremely careful not to catch the Coronavirus and thankful to have been able to travel safely from departure to return.
Of course we returned to a world that is new. Fitting, perhaps, because to me, the landscape of the Altiplano appears as if the Earth were new. Volcanoes are everywhere. The lakes are salty and wonderfully colored. The animals a little strange. So, too, is the world that we find ourselves in now. Familiar, yet somehow not quite the same. Social distancing has kept us at home. Masks cover our faces. And communication as gone virtual. But the humanity in us all remain. I hope these images touch that humanity, and replace the stress of these uncertain times with the beauty that I found in a world that is a little off and a little new.
The journey through the Altiplano was a 10 day road trip in a Toyota Landcruiser. We left the pavement sometime on day 4 and didn't ride on asphalt again until the middle of day 9. It was a tough trip, but incredibly rewarding. The Altiplano is quite simply one of the most stunning landscapes I have ever seen. Easily top 5 in my all time list. If you have any questions on the itinerary or logistics involved in the trip, please email or message me. I worked with Sergio Ballivian of Sergio Photo Tours and Explore Bolivia in the planning of this trip, and I am happy to pass on his contact information to you. If you are considering a trip to Bolivia, GO (once this madness ends). We found the Bolivian people to be friendly, the cities supremely interesting, and the scenery simply spectacular.
© Light Source Photography by Lee Scott