Clé Hunnigan is a dynamic UK-based visual storyteller, Black film director, photographer, world traveler and founder of the Wind Collective. It's a travel community focused on cultural, creative and community focused group trips to more than 40 destinations around the world. Hunnigan himself has traveled to 65 countries to date—with many more coming—but there was something about his visit to Bolivia that really stuck with him.
"Bolivia is truly a land of marvels and is undoubtedly one of the most amazing places on earth. From the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni, which offer a mesmerizing landscape of endless white or watery reflections, to the breathtaking Valle de Animas, with its towering rock formations and deep canyons. Bolivia's natural beauty is unmatched," he shares.
He describes his travel style as culture, community and creative focused.
"I seek out partners and vendors that offer a high level of service or amenities and fit the bracket of 'experiential luxury.' Those who prioritize sustainability, the community and unique experiences," he adds.
With such a unique travel perspective and passion for capturing content that literally moves a person, we asked The Wind Collective founder to share more from his memorable trip to Bolivia. From where to stay, what we should eat, and of course his recommendations on how to pack like a pro.
Must-see and do in Bolivia
La Paz, the capital city, is a must-visit, with its bustling markets, rich culture, and stunning views of the surrounding Andes Mountains. Whether you're an adventure-seeker or simply looking to immerse yourself in the wonders of nature, he says that Bolivia is the perfect destination.
"It's the world’s highest capital city at 4100 meters above sea level. You’ll most likely need a few days to acclimatize, but once you do, make sure to ride a cable car or head to the Killi Killi and catch the stunning panoramic views of the city," Hunnigan suggests.
In Salar de Uyuni, you can find the Salt Flats, an endless salt desert phenomenon. But, the real attraction is during the rainy months of March and April. During this time, the salt flats flood, creating the world’s largest mirror reflecting the sky above it.
"It’s otherworldly and the perfect backdrop for psychedelic sunsets, stargazing and creative adventures," says the Wind Collective founder.
If you're a thrill seeker, the travel pro suggests a road trip out to the desert. He says it's not for the fainthearted as you take 4x4s into the wild of Bolivia’s desert surrounded by towering mountains, endless vistas, colorful pink and green lagoons, and eerie smoking geysers. Specifically for adventure lovers, this is a trip you won’t regret.
Finally, don't skip Valle de Animas, it is like another planet and one thing to add to the list of “things I can’t believe I’m seeing,” shares Hunningan.
"The rock formations of 'The Valley Of The Souls' are dramatic mountains piercing the sky. This unique place is located right outside La Paz and is easily accessible for short but rewarding hikes. You can also witness a traditional shaman ceremony there," he continues.
Where to Stay
With his bigger focus being curating visually appealing travel experiences, you can guarantee that the accommodations Hunningan books are just as photo worthy. In Bolivia, he recommends Palacio de Sal, a luxury 5-star hotel built out of salt; Kachi Lodge, a luxe bubble tent clamping experience in the Uyuni Salt flats; Atix Hotel, a 5-star stay in La Paz with design at its core and a stunning panoramic pool; or La Casona Hotel Boutique which is housed in a 17th century colonial building.
"It’s grand and somehow still has some of the elements of the original designs," he says about La Casona. "It's a stone's throw away from La Paz’s cultural markets, and I recommend staying here for a 4-star experience in the center of the city."
For a more unique option, he says go for a deluxe air Stream camper in the salt flats.
Where to dine
To experience a traditional Andean food experience where locals bring together the first fruits of harvest to share with the community, head to Apthapi.
"Laid out on beautifully woven textiles, this Bolivian picnic is a great way to immerse yourself in local culture, get to know Bolivians and try amazing food," shares Hunnigan. "Pro Tip: Ask your hotel or luxury accommodation in Uyuni to prepare one in the middle of the salt flats for unforgettable memories."
If you're plant-based, he recommends a visit to Ali Pacha for a little fine dining goodness. With sustainability at the forefront, the restaurant aims to be respectful to nature and its farmers.
"Gustu is another standout restaurant and true culinary experience by the owners of world renowned restaurant Noma. It's a culinary tribute to Bolivia’s unique ingredients with a 17 course tasting menu, and it is headed up by award-winning female chef Marsia Taha," the wanderlust traveler adds.
Clé Hunnigan's packing recommendation
With any travel adventure, you'll want to make sure you are properly packed and equipped for all your trip will bring. In this case, Hunnigan shares that lightweight, breathable clothing, warm layers for high altitude locations and nighttime in the deserts, a waterproof jacket for rainy season, as well as durable and comfortable shoes are a necessity.
"Sunglasses are recommended to avoid the bright glares and reflections at Uyuni. If bringing a camera, I’d recommend bringing at least two zoom lenses (24-70 mm and 70-200 mm) to cater for a wide variety of shots," he says. "Finally, sturdy luggage, but also a smaller day pack or medium-sized backpack. For some of the more adventurous locations, a standard rolling suitcase isn’t the most convenient in the harsh desert environments."