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Salar de Uyuni

Why visit Salar de Uyuni?

A visit to Salar de Uyuni will take you to a seemingly desolate, yet stunningly beautiful part of Bolivia. These are the world’s largest salt flats covering an astonishing 12,000 sq kms. Millions of years ago this area was part of a huge salt lake. Once the lake dried up several salt pans were left and Salar de Uyuni is one of these.

The white salt flats stretch out before you, seemingly never-ending with beautiful symmetrical hexagon patterns, made by nature. An air of peace and tranquillity surrounds the area. During the dry season the white earth creates a striking contrast with the clear blue skies, then during the rains still waters settle on the surface, forming a mirror in which you can see the perfect reflection of the sky and clouds.
Reasons to visit Salar de Uyuni include: 

  • It is well worth a visit here, day trips or multi day trips can be arranged so you can get the full experience of this desolate landscape and the surprising beauty in holds.
  • Brave a night out camping in the middle of this large expanse of white salt, an experience like no other
  • Crystal clear days bring equally clear, but chilly starry nights
  • Drive across the world’s largest salt flats which sit at 3653m above sea level
  • See the contrasts of the blinding white salt flats and the red and green mineral lakes of Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde
  • Pop down to the graveyard, where you will see rows of rusty locomotives and carriages, seemingly frozen in rust, where they have been for the last 70 years or so
  • Photograph the flocks of flamingos gathering at the lakes. Laguna Colorado boasts 3 species of these quirky birds, namely Chilean, Andean and James
  • Laguna Verde is aptly named as the colour of the water varies from emerald to turquoise, all of this with Licancabur Volcano in the background
  • Giant cacti at Inca Huasi Island make for fabulous photos against the backdrop of the surrounding salt flats
  • Visit the Coquesa mummies in the caves near Huasi Island and the Chantani Museum has an eclectic collection of artifacts and items of local culture
  • Spend some time at Eduardo Avaroa Natoinal Park and visit the bubbling mud pools and geysers at Sol de Mañana
  • Catch a glimpse of the vicuña - a smaller, prettier cousin ofthe llama

When to go to Salar de Uyuni

Each season offers a unique perspective of this stunning corner of Bolivia but whichever time you choose to visit you will find it captivating for different reasons.

The rainy season takes hold from November to April, during this time the water clings to the surface of the salt flats creating a mirror effect, it’s almost as if you are driving through the sky. Heavy rainfall may make some areas inaccessible though.

May to November is the dry season. This is when you will get the endless white view of the salt disappearing into the horizon. Dry season is the time to visit Huasi Island which can be inaccessible when it rains. You may encounter snow on the mountain peaks in July and August.

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facts and information

Time: Bolivia GMT -4 hours

Flight time:

approximately 21.5 hours (no direct flights from the UK) 

Language: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara

Visas:

Visas – not required for British nationals for stays of up to 90 days

Health:

Yellow Fever vaccine should be given to travellers 9 months of age and upwards if travelling to areas below 2,300m east of the Andes Mountains. These areas include the whole departments of Beni, Pando and Santa Cruz, and parts of the Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz and Tarija departments. No other vaccinations are compulsory.

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