Photo: Olga Kot Photo/Shutterstock

Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats Will Make You Feel Like You're on Another Planet

by Matador Creators Jan 23, 2023

Located in the Bolivian Altiplano, Salar de Uyuni is one of the most breathtaking and surreal-looking landscapes in South America. This massive salt flat, covering over 4,000 square miles, is the world’s largest expanse of salt, and was once an ancient lake known as Lago Minchin. During the last Ice Age, this lake began to dry up, leaving behind a thick layer of salt that has been expanding ever since. In addition to its size and uniqueness, Salar de Uyuni is also known for its incredible array of minerals including sodium chloride (table salt) and potassium sulfate.

@matadornetwork Wet season is the best time to visit Bolivia's #SalarDeUyuni and this is why 🎥 @SR_Travel #saltflats #boliviatravel #uyuni #giantmirror ♬ original sound – Melissa Findley

In addition to its fascinating history and stunning scenery, Salar de Uyuni also offers travelers a unique opportunity to see some of nature’s most bizarre phenomena. For instance, during certain times of year when it rains heavily over the salt flats, water will form shallow pools that reflect the sky above, creating an otherworldly mirror effect that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Visitors should also keep their eyes peeled for wildlife such as llamas and vicuñas, which roam freely across this vast landscape.

The best way to experience this vast landscape is by taking a multi-day tour. These tours typically begin in either Tupiza or Uyuni and take visitors on guided excursions across the salt flat as well as nearby lagoons filled with pink flamingos and rock formations that look like giant cacti. You can also explore Incahuasi Island—an oasis located in the middle of the salt flat filled with cacti forests.

One popular activity for visitors to the area is taking four-wheel drive tours across the salt flat. These tours often last several days and can be quite bumpy due to the uneven terrain, but they provide an unforgettable experience. During these tours, you may even have the chance to stay in a hotel made entirely out of salt blocks. There are plenty of traditional accommodations in the area, too, ranging from luxury hotels to quaint guesthouses — so there’s something for everyone regardless of your budget.

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