Salar de Uyuni (Salt Lake) in Bolivia
One of the major attractions in Bolivia is the Salar de Uyuni. A few years ago, my friend and I visited Bolivia only to visit these salt lakes. The photographs on the social media and websites were stunning and hence the place had automatically made its place to my bucket list.
When you are in Uyuni, also visit the train cemetery. It is another amazing place to see the abandoned trains.
About Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni, also known as salt lakes is the world’s largest salt lake. The salt lake spreads across 10,000 square kilometres (approximately). Covered by a few metres of salt crust, the lakes were formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. The salt crust acts as a source of salt and brine, a highly concentration of salt with water. Even though the Salt Flats do not have much of wildlife, it does have the pink flamingos.
The best time to visit Salar de Uyuni is during the wet season (between the months of November and April) as the rain creates a reflection and creates an illusion. One needs at least 2 to 3 days to explore the region.
The name Salar in Spanish language means salt flat and Uyuni comes from Aymara language which means pen, an enclosure for holding livestock. According to the legend, Salar was surrounded by the mountains Tunupa, Kusku and Kusina. Tunupa married Kusku, but Kusku was in love with Kusina. Kusku ran away with Kusina leaving Tunupa and her son. While Tunupa was hurt and grieving, she started to cry breastfeeding her son. The tears mixed with milk forming the Salar de Uyuni.
Many locals consider Tunupa as an important diety.
How to get to Uyuni?
Uyuni is the gateway to the Salt Flats Lake.
- Even though Uyuni is a small town, it has its own airport. The best and quickest way to reach Uyuni is by flight. The flight journey between Uyuni and La Paz is one about an hour and one of the providers is the Bolivian de Aviacion.
- There are also overnight buses between the cities and the bus journey takes only 8 hours. Tickets can be purchased on Tickets Bolivia website.
How to get to Salar de Uyuni?
Uyuni is the home to salt lakes and they are everywhere. However, to go around the salt lakes, it is best to take one or multi days tour. This way the tour agencies will take you around and show you some of the best spots of the salt lakes.
Uyuni is relatively safe. But if you are traveling alone, definitely take the tour as it can get very isolated and scary, especially at nights. And it is easy to get lost.
We took a one day tour from the Uyuni city and the tour included transportation, lunch and guide charges. I personally did not like the lunch as I am too fussy about food generally. My friend mentioned it was okay.
- Booking website: Viator.
- Provider: Plan your trip. Unfortunately, they do not have a direct website.
- Tour Name: Full day tour to Salar de Uyuni Salt Lake.
- Cost: AUD 133.40 for 2 people.
Things to do at Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni spreads for about 10,000 square kilometres. So there are many things one can do at Salar de Uyuni and most importantly have fun.
- Watch the spectacular sunset. The clear skies and no light pollution, the sky is dramatic and provides amazing sunsets.
- See the pink flamingos known as Jame’s flamingos. They are named after a British naturalist who studied the birds, Harry Berkeley James. Did you know that these birds were thought to be extinct until they were again discovered in 1956?
- Visit Isla Incahuasi. Also, known as Inka Wasi, it is a hilly and rocky outcrop of land. The attraction hosts gigantic cacti and consists of fossils and algae.
- Take fun and innovative pictures. We had such a great time taking innovative pictures with the toys we had bought from the local markets in Uyuni.
- Lastly, meet other tourists and make friends. We meet some people from other parts of South America and had such a great time.
It was super fun clicking some awesome fun pictures. My friend and I shopped for toys at Uyuni local markets and we took them along. We had such great time taking pictures with them. And guess what? I had a chance to fight with my favourite super hero, Hulk.