Salar Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometres. It is located in the Potosí and Oruro departments in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes, and is elevated 3,656 meters above the mean sea level. The Salar was formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. It is covered by a few meters of salt crust, which has an extraordinary flatness with the average altitude variations within one meter over the entire area of the Salar. The salt crust is exceptionally rich in lithium. It contains 50 to 70% of the world’s lithium reserves. The large area, clear skies and exceptional surface flatness make the Salar an ideal object for calibrating the altimeters of the Earth observation satellites. The Salar serves as the major transport route across the Bolivian Altiplano and is a major breeding ground for several species of pink flamingos.
I arrived in the town of Uyuni early in the morning with a night bus from La Paz. I must warn everyone who will travel like this that you have to dress warm, it is very cold on the bus during the night. The town was just waking up and we found a nice place to have breakfast and to get a nice warm coca tea. It was a while when the Land Cruisers were prepared and the guides were ready to go. This was a beginning of a 3 day journey over a large area of Bolivian Altiplano, through Salar Uyuni, beautiful acid lakes, geysers, hot springs and finally crossing the border with Chile and descending to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. Our firs stop was the Train cemetery and Salt Hotel. The hotel got the name after the material it was build of and yes it is entirely build of salt blocks from the salt flat. Then we drove for about 2-3 hours to reach the famous Incahuasi Island on which you can find the gigantic cactuses. The day was slowly coming to an end, so it was time to continue to the village where we would spend the night. It was a lovely village and locals cooked us a lovely meal. The next day it was time to continue south on Altiplano and to discover the beautiful landscapes and nature of these remote places. On the map below is the track of this day, covering the distance from Uyuni to Incahuasi Island and to the village where we spent the night. More on altiplano and the acid lakes some other time.
Have you seen the post about the World’s most dangerous road? The Death Road.