Saturday, August 29, 2009

Salar De Uyuni: Bolivian Salt Flats

The Salar de Uyuni is what remains of an ancient sea that once covered the Altiplano region of the Andes some 40,000 years ago. Now it's one huge plain of salt, the largest of its kind on the planet. Before 1969 it was virtually unknown as a tourist destination until Neil Armstrong noticed it from space. He made a note and after returning to Earth he visited the flats as the first tourist. Since then Uyuni has been attracting people from all over the world.

The above photo was taken from Isla del Pescado (Fish Island), a small "island" in the middle of the 4000 sq km salt flats. Once completely submerged beneath the ocean, it's now covered in giant cacti, some over 1000 years old, and coral fossils.

Uyuni is a magical place that's not easy to reach. From La Paz it's a 12 hour bus ride over rough roads and then another half day journey just to see a portion of the flats. We booked a 3 night tour, including one night in a beautiful salt hotel.

We also toured the Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa (Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve) and enjoyed an outdoor onsen (hot spring)...

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