Salar de Uyuni

Picnic style lunch in Salar de Uyuni.
 

Salar de Uyuni – one of the most extraordinary places on earth

See the sunset from the largest white salt flat on earth. Enjoy the view as the snow covers graceful mountain silhouettes on the horizon as you travel. Relax in the natural hot tubs and be amazed by the beautiful geysers. Simply said, the experience will be nearly impossible to put into words!

Salar de Uyuni, one of the most extraordinary places in Bolivia, is located about a 40 minute drive away from the town of Uyuni in the departments of Potosí and Oruro, near Andes. Salar de Uyuni sits at 3700 meters above sea level and is the biggest salt bed on earth. This completely flat, white salt bed contains an estimated 10 billion tons of salt and covers 10,000 square kilometers, stretching as far as your eyes can see. The area continues to attract scientists, miners, and travelers who come to see this miracle of nature for themselves. In fact, the small town of Uyuni was once a transportation hub for mining companies. A visit to the giant salt bed alone makes the trip to Uyuni worth your while. It is not to be missed!

In the small Colchani village, locals process the salt taken from Salar de Uyuni and make it into iodized table salt, building bricks, and souvenirs. It is fascinating to witness this process, as it is all done by hand. In the area of Salar De Uyuni, you can also visit the Salt Hotel, which is made completely of salt - tables, beds, chairs and all! If you are lucky, you will also spot some small herds of vicuña, the smallest and most endangered species of the four South American camelids.

The green lakes

There are four small, beautiful, green-colored lakes in the area as well. Stop for lunch at Chiar Kota Lake or head to Eduardo Avaroa Reserve where the shores of the Laguna Colorada lie. This will likely be one of the highlights of your trip! The lake covers an area of 60 square kilometers and is situated at a high altitude of 4,270 meters. An interesting mixture of minerals and some kind of algae give the Laguna a pinkish-red tint. The most incredible thing about the lake is the number of feathered inhabitants, as you can see an astonishing 70,000 flamingos stretching their wings! There are three different species: the Andean, Chilean and James. Another magnificent sight, the Laguna Verde Lake, has a sparkling turquoise color and lies right beneath the extinct Licancabur volcano.

Smoking Geysers and cool rock formations

Sol de Mañana is a magnificent, volcanically active zone of geysers, pools of bubbling mud, and fumaroles spewing out hot sulphurous gases. Due to the volcanic vapors, there’s some thick fog covering the area. The temperature is bitterly cold, so be prepared with warm clothing. Don't worry, you’ll have the opportunity to warm up and relax in the natural hot springs, made of earth’s powerful geothermic forces.

In Salar De Uyuni, you'll also see some amazing rock formations and mystical rock paintings from thousands of years ago! Arbol de Piedra is a fingerlike rock formation and Valle de las Rocas (valley of the rocks) will remind you of a wild-west type of landscape.

When to go

Salt flats can be partly covered with water around January and February, but this makes the mountains reflect even more beautifully on the water's surface, so they appear to be floating.

How to go

Travelers usually book a three to four day group trip by jeep to explore this unique area. During your journey, you’ll spend many fun nights playing cards, drinking beers, enjoying spectacular views, and relaxing in the hot springs with your travel companions. The travel agencies organize overnight sleeping arrangements and at least some of the meals. You can book your trip from Potosí.

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