Salar de Uyuni Tour – The Salt Flats
The main attraction. The Salar de Uyuni. When Megan and I first started planning the trip and decided on spending a good chunk of the time in S. America, this was one of four main natural attractions we really wanted to see, along with Machu Picchu, Iguazu Falls, and Patagonia.
When US relations turned sour with Bolivia over the summer and early fall 2008, and it looked like we weren’t going to be able to go to Bolivia, we were less than thrilled. Luckily for us, things turned around, and traveling in Bolivia proved not to be a problem, which was fantastic because we found this country to be quite magical, and the Salar de Uyuni was the perfect conclusion.
Isla del Pescado
The tips for taking a Salt Flats tour had us starting from Tupiza and visiting other attractions before seeing the Salt Flats on the final day. After driving for a bit that last day, we came to the Isla del Pescado, which was formed of chalky rocks and coral. This was an island in the middle of the Salar, which was a little disconcerting at times because the flats looked like water, only there were cars driving on it, and we could walk on it.
But then there was an island, and it was just bizarre, and once again, I had to question what planet I was truly on. We had the chance to hike to the top of the island, which provided some moving views yet again. The cacti that dotted the island, the morning sun, the surrounding mountains on the horizon, and the blinding whiteness of the Salar itself all added to the magnificence of the scene.
The Vastness of the Salar de Uyuni
We awoke on the fourth morning only a few kilometers away, so less than a half hour into our day we saw the world’s largest salt plain, at 4000 square miles (10,500 square km), with flats made up of eleven separate layers ranging in thickness from 6-65 feet (2-20 meters). “WOW” was the preferred term of the day for our group once arriving at the flats. The vastness, brightness, and whiteness was truly awe-inspiring. Nature truly astounds me sometimes, and again, as in much of Bolivia, the Salar de Uyuni didn’t disappoint (this place is so vast and white that my mother-in-law told Megan that when looking at it on Google Earth it was a huge, white, glaring section of the map, and remember, this is a picture from a satellite).
Fun with the Salt Flats
After taking it in from the island, we got the chance to have our fun. When researching the flats before we came, we always came across the same pictures. Because of the uniqueness of the Salar, people can take pictures that fool the eye, and our group was ready to act like kids and have some fun. It was time to let loose, act silly, and goof around at a place that we would most likely never be again, and a place that was like no other on Earth.