Stunning Salar de Uyuni *Videos*

Bolivia’s stunning Salar de Uyuni is part of the region’s altiplano that was formed along with the Andes Mountains approximately 40,000 years ago. There are actually two major salt deserts: the Salar de Coipasa and the largest Salar de Uyuni.

The Salar de Uyuni spreads over 4,000 square miles (10,500+ kilometers), is surrounded by mountains, and contains fresh and saltwater lakes and salt flats. It is roughly 25 times the size of the Great Salt Lake in the U.S. state of Utah.

Most of the surface of the Salar is covered with a solid salt crust, with a thickness of tens of centimeters to a few meters. In the center for the Salar are several islands which are the remains of the tops of ancient volcanoes that were eventually submerged. The islands are now covered with fossils. In fact, the Salar is devoid of most wild life and vegetation, and yet the landscape is still breath taking.

During our 3 day / 2 night 4×4 expedition, we visited and admired 6 distinct physical landscapes:

1. Salt Flats

The first half of Day 1 we drove along the vast salt plains admiring the vantage of the blazing white and flat flat surfaces. We also spied the Ojos de Sal (“Eyes of Salt”) that indicated that there’s water bubbling up through the salt surface, as well as cones of salt that were waiting to be transported.

All that whiteness was quite a sight! Check it out:

Can’t see the video? Click on this link: Flatness of Salar de Uyuni

2. Cactus Island

Inca Huasi (translated as the inappropriate titled “Fish Island”), is an oasis of giant cacti in the middle of the salt flats. This turned out to be my personal favorite place in the Salar and it offered amazing views of the surrounding salt plains.

















3. Lagoons & Flamingos

Three high-altitude lagoons, including the Laguna Colorado, an amazing red-colored lagoon, stinky lake named after its sharp sulphur smell, and Laguna Verde, an emerald green lake that only changes color after 11:00 am.

The lagoons are home to 3 species of pink South American flamingos: The Chilean, the Andean, and the rarest: James’s Flamingos. Their rosy color is from feeding on pink algae found in the lakes. Every November, Salar de Uyuni becomes a breeding ground for the birds.

Here I am in front of some flamingos on a lagoon called “Stinky Lake”:

Can’t see the video? Click on this link: Erin at Stinking Lake

4. Geysers

I was fiddling with my camera and missed the introduction to the geysers, named “Sol de Manana.” Only after running to catch up with the group and sliding between the bubbling pools of mud was I informed that the temperature of the geysers was more than 300 degrees and you would burn alive if you fell in.

This information, of course, made me instantly more clumsy and fearful as we continued to traverse these sulphuric death traps. Here’s a close up at these game-ending geysers:

Can’t see the video? Click on this link: Salar de Uyuni Geysers

5. Hot Springs

While I sat this one out, most of our group took the plunge. Here they are enjoying the steam and warm waters:













6. Dali Desert

One of the last places we visited on the trip was a unanimous favorite: the Salvador Dali desert. This magnificent landscape eerily resembles one of the famous artist’s paintings, and giving – you guessed it — a surreal impression. Dali couldn’t have possibly visited this far-flung location, but the resemblance was shocking!








Hot-tailing it to the Salar!

Honestly, Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni was so much more than I imagined, and one of my favorite places in the world. Its stunning beauty, surreal images, and remote location all combine to make it one of the most intimidating and yet intimate landscape to explore.

What are you waiting for? Book a trip to Bolivia today and experience the Salar for yourself!

Interested in reading about more intriguing landscapes? Check out:

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This entry was posted on Saturday, November 17th, 2012 and is filed under South America.

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