Sunset and star gazing at Train cemetery (Uyuni)

Salar de Uyuni or the Salt Lake in Bolivia (2024)

One of the highlights of Bolivia is the mesmerizing Salar de Uyuni. A couple of years ago, a friend and I embarked on a journey to Bolivia to explore these expansive salt flats. The captivating images circulating on social media and various websites had already etched this extraordinary destination onto our bucket list.

While you’re in Uyuni, explore the train cemetery as well. It’s another incredible location showcasing the remnants of abandoned trains.

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About Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni, also known as salt flats, is the world’s largest salt lake, spanning approximately 10,000 square kilometers. The salt flats were formed through the evolution of several prehistoric lakes, resulting in a vast expanse covered by a few meters of salt crust. This crust serves as a source of salt and brine, a highly concentrated salt solution. While the salt flats may not host much wildlife, they are home to pink flamingos.

Salar de Uyuni

The optimal time to visit Salar de Uyuni is during the wet season, from November to April. This period is ideal for experiencing the unique illusion created by rainwater on the salt flats, producing a stunning reflection. It is recommended to allocate at least 2 to 3 days to explore the region entirely.

“Salar” in Spanish translates to salt flat, and “Uyuni” is derived from the Aymara language, signifying a pen or enclosure for holding livestock. According to local legend, Salar de Uyuni was once surrounded by the Tunupa, Kusku, and Kusina mountains. Tunupa, having married Kusku, faced heartbreak as Kusku fell in love with Kusina and eloped with her, leaving Tunupa and her son behind. Overcome with sorrow, Tunupa wept while breastfeeding her son, and her tears, mixed with milk, formed the expansive Salar de Uyuni.

Tunupa holds significant importance as a deity in the beliefs of many locals.

Salt Lake at Uyuni

How to Get to Uyuni?

Uyuni is the gateway to the Salt Flats Lake.

  • Although Uyuni is a small town, it is equipped with its airport. The most efficient way to reach Uyuni is by taking a flight, and the journey from La Paz typically takes about an hour. Bolivian de Aviacion is one of the service providers for flights on this route.
  • Alternatively, overnight buses are available between the cities, providing a convenient transportation option that takes approximately 8 hours. Tickets for the bus journey can be purchased through the Tickets Bolivia website.

How to Get to Salar de Uyuni?

Uyuni is surrounded by vast salt lakes, making it essential to embark on a one or multi-day tour to explore these unique landscapes. Tour agencies will guide you through the best spots, ensuring you don’t miss the highlights of the salt lakes.

While Uyuni is generally safe, opting for a tour is highly recommended, especially if you’re traveling alone. The areas around the salt lakes can be isolated and may seem intimidating, particularly during nighttime. Taking a guided tour adds an extra layer of safety and helps prevent getting lost in these expansive terrains.

Salar de Uyuni Tour Details

We opted for a one-day tour from Uyuni City, which covered transportation, lunch, and guide charges. I wasn’t fond of the lunch, as I tend to be quite selective about food. However, my friend thought it was acceptable.

  • 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 two people.

Things To Do at Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni covers an expansive area of about 10,000 square kilometers, offering many activities for visitors to enjoy and have fun.

Salar de Uyuni
  • Witness the breathtaking sunset over the vast salt flats. With clear skies and minimal light pollution, the Salar de Uyuni provides a dramatic backdrop for incredible sunsets.
  • Marvel at the presence of James’s flamingos, named after the British naturalist Harry Berkeley James. These flamingos once thought to be extinct, were rediscovered in 1956.
  • Explore Isla Incahuasi, also known as Inka Wasi, a hilly and rocky outcrop adorned with towering cacti, fossils, and algae.
  • Have fun capturing creative and playful pictures. Utilize the unique landscape to take innovative photos, adding a touch of creativity to your experience.
Fun at Salar de Uyuni
  • Finally, seize the opportunity to meet fellow travelers and make new friends. During our visit, we connected with people from various parts of South America and shared memorable moments together.

Closing Notes

It was incredibly enjoyable capturing some fantastic and amusing pictures. My friend and I purchased toys from the local markets in Uyuni and brought them along. We had a blast taking pictures with them. And guess what? I even had the chance to engage in a playful battle with my favorite superhero, Hulk.

Hulk at Salar de Uyuni

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