Wait, You Mean It’s Really Not A Lake?
Salar De Uyuni is actually the worlds largest salt flat spanning over 4,086 sq mi. Sitting in southwest Bolivia near the crest of the Andes, Salar De Uyuni is perched a whopping 11,995 feet above sea level.
While this gigantic salt flat is basically void of any wildlife or vegetation, in November it transforms into the breeding ground of the pink South American Flamingo. So if you’re planning a trip around then, be prepared to see, well, copious amounts of bird copulation.
Salar = Salt
Its name originates from the combination of the literal translation of Salar which in Spanish means salt and the city that serves as the portal to this mystical realm, Uyuni. The mirror like reflection is created by seasonal rains, that leave a still layer of water resting upon the salts surface. So, no diving.
Salt Hotels & Amazing Sunsets.
With a handful of hotels or the option to camp, the salt flat makes one hell of a nice nighttime destination. I should mention the hotels are constructed with giant blocks of salt, talk about using the resources you have available. Touting, arguably, one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world, Salar De Uyuni is actually incredibly romantic.
A few companies offer tours of Salar de Uyuni, via a long ride in a 4WD SUV. It’s worth noting that some companies use SUV’s without air conditioning and you’ll likely be sharing the ride with others. The first leg of the journey is very dusty, so pack some sunglasses and a something to cover your nose and mouth. Basically, dust is going to be everywhere.
There are several sights to take in, such as, Laguna Colorada, a lake colored red by it’s large population of red algae. There’s even a train graveyard, open to exploration.
British engineers at the end of the 19th century built rail lines that we used to carry minerals en route to the Pacific Ocean ports. After the mining industry collapsed in 1940’s, due to the depletion of minerals, trains were simply abandoned. Rumor is they’re even talking about building a museum for the trains.
For an offbeat adventure, far away from crowded cities, Salar De Uyuni is an ideal destination. Just remember to take loads of pictures.