Salar de Uyuni, or the “Salt Flat”, is a huge expanse of salt desert in southern Bolivia. The Salar was created from vast volcanic lakes thousands of years ago – it’s the largest of it’s kind in the world, roughly the same size as the island of Jamaica! Beneath the salt lies up to 70% of the planet’s lithium, a sad fact that might mean excessive mining of the Salar in the near future and the partial destruction of these unique landscapes.
We travelled to the town of Uyuni where companies offer one day or three day jeep tours of the salt flats and the surrounding lakes, mountains and deserts. We expected to see some pretty and surreal scenery but not that this tour would become the highlight of our whole eight months travelling. It was absolutely amazing in every way.
Since words really can’t do the experience justice, here’s a photo diary of our three days in the Bolivian desert…
Day one began with meeting our driver Peter and the rest of our tour group (Sam from NZ, Jess from USA, Diana from France & Marcia from Brazil). With bags strapped onto the roof, we climbed into the jeep that would be home for the next three days and set off on our adventure.
We first visited a train graveyard where we got to run around like kids and climb on everything (it would be a Health & Safety nightmare back home!) then a small market town where Martin & I skipped shopping and instead hung around with a baby llama for half an hour. The rest of the day was spent on the Salar de Uyuni itself with stops in three different locations perfect for taking hundreds of photos, including the famous funny perspective shots. It’s hard to describe the beauty and sheer scale of the landscape – I had seen hundreds of photos before visiting and it was still just as impressive as I’d hoped.
In the late afternoon we took a walk around the island of Incahuasi (cactus island) before watching the sunset together. The day came to an end when we arrived at a truly unique salt hotel on the edge of the Salar. We all enjoyed a tasty dinner, mugs of hot tea and an early night on a bed of salt!