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Uyuni Salt Flat

Uyuni Salt Flat

The Uyuni Salt Flat  is the largest continuous and high salt desert in the world, with an area of ​​10 582 km² (or 4085 square miles). It is located at 3650 meters above sea level in the southwest of Bolivia, in the province of Daniel Campos, in the department of Potosí, within the highland region of the Mountanrange of the Andes. The Uyuni Salt Flat  is the largest lithium reserve in the world with 80% of the world's lithium, and also has significant amounts of potassium, boron and magnesium. Uyuni Salt Flat, as estimated, contains 10 billion tons of salt, of which 25 000 tons are extracted every year, also has 140 million tons of lithium, according to official data from the state mining corporation of Bolivia ( COMIBOL), becoming the world's largest reserve of this mineral. A report by the United States Geological Survey indicates that there are 6.5 million tons of lithium in there. All the miners who work in the salt flat belong to the Cooperative of Colchani. Every November, the Salt Flat is also the breeding ground for three species of South American flamingos: the Chilean, James and Andean. This is also a significantly tourist destination. As the land of the salar is so flat it serves as a transport route through the Bolivian altiplano.The great Salt Flat of Uyuni, like any great work of nature, has its most varied legends. One of those legends tells that Thunupa was a beautiful lady who was married to Cuzco. Cuzco had betrayed his wife by a young maid named Cosuna. Seeing this, indignant, Thunupa fled the sector called Kachipampa (salt pampa) and fell there, right where the volcano that bears his name is now. In this wasteland, before dying, Thunupa, who had recently given birth, wept with tears so salty that these and the milk that gushed from her mother's womb turned the place into a majestic salt flat, the Thunupa salt flat, now known like the Salar de Uyuni. Cuzco, for its part, rises expectantly as a hill east of the salar.The Uyuni Salt Flat (Bolivia) is one of the most spectacular destinations in all of South America. All the guides, forums and international tourism publications mark it as a must-see, one of these unique places that all visitors retain in their memory forever. To facilitate your visit, we have compiled in this article all you need to know in the format of frequently asked questions. Enjoy the Salar de Uyuni in the best way!

Quick Itinerary:

  • Day 01: La Paz 
  • Day 02 - 03: Sucre 
  • Day 04 - 05: Potosi 
  • Day 06 - 08: Uyuni / Salt Lake Excursion 
  • Day 09: La Paz 
  • Day 10: La Paz 
  • Day 11: Departure Day

Uyuni Salt Flat is characterized by: 

  • Be the first of the 25 natural wonders of the planet. 
  • Contain 10 billion tons of salt. 
  • In November, the breeding of three types of flamingos takes place there. 
  • It is considered one of the most inspiring and mysterious places in the world. 
  • It is also known as the "Dalí Desert". 
  • For those who love photography, at the correct time, the salt reflects the sky exactly. 
  • This gives the impression of walking on the clouds.

What to see? 

Among the many attractions of the complete tour (3-4 days) we highlight 7 wonders between San Pedro and Uyuni: 
  • Uyuni Salt Flat. 
  • Incahuasi Island. 
  • Train Cemetery. 
  • Desert Siloli and Stone Tree. 
  • Colorful Lagoon
  • Thermas of Polques (suitable for bathing). 
  • Geysers of the Sun of Tomorrow.

Interesting Info:


 

Day 1: La Paz

La Paz is located northwest of Bolivia with an area of 133.985 km.2, its capital is the city of La Paz, headquarters of the central government located at 3640 meters above sea level, its limits are: to the north with Pando; to the south with Oruro; to the east with Beni and Cochabamba and to the west with the Republics of Peru and Chile. This first day, you will have the day free so you can visit some atractives at cable car.

Day 2 - 3: Sucre

Sucre is the constitutional capital of Bolivia and the capital of the department of Chuquisaca. It is located in the south of the country and summarizes the history of Bolivia itself, from its earliest origins to the present day. Founded by the Spaniards in the first half of the sixteenth century, Sucre was the first capital of Bolivia. It has many well-preserved churches from that era-for example, those of San Lazaro, San Francisco and Santo Domingo-that illustrate the mixture of local architectural traditions with styles imported from Europe. Explore a variety of museums and colonial buildings as you stroll the streets of this pleasant city. or take a short trip to the site of dinosaur tracks thorguht to be over 60 million years old.

Day 4 - 5: Potosi

Potosí, located at 3826 meters above sea level, is one of the highest cities in the world. Next to the city is the Cerro Rico whose history goes back to the years of the Spanish conquest. Places to visit in Potosí:

  • Cathedral of Potosí: It was built in 1808 and stones and bricks were used, it has a central dome and two towers. The Cathedral of Potosí is one of the most characteristic temples of the Neoclassical architectural style. Inside there are important religious relics of gold and silver. Also an organ donated by Simon I. Patiño. A sector works as a museum of religious art.  
  • Bolivia Company Tower One of the symbols of the city is the Tower of the Company, a religious convent of the eighteenth century, its construction was conceived as a triumphal arch with five openings, thirty-two salomonic columns and three half-orange domes. The Tower can be visited and from its top you get a privileged view of Potosí. Hours: 8:30 am to 12:00 pm and from 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm. 
  • House of the money: It is the main museum of Potosí. The building was built in 1759 to work as a mint. Today it is a museum with different rooms dedicated to painting and the arts, to history, numismatics and machinery to mint coins. The building with its cedar doors, ceilings and sales is an unmissable architectural attraction. 
  • Church and Convent of San Francisco: The current building began to be built in 1707. The church of San Francisco has a two-body tower, a beautiful portal and an external altarpiece for the cross, inside it kept its ornamentation of Baroque style, with architecture work in wood as the altarpieces and pulpit. In the temple we see the image of the "Cristo de la Vera Cruz", which dates back to 1550, making it the oldest in Bolivia. Inside there is a museum that can be visited from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 2.34 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Saturdays only in the morning.

 

Day 6 - 8: Salt Flats Excursion

The Uyuni Salt Flat is currently one of the most visited and sought after destinations in South America. All kinds of travelers from all over come to the city of Uyuni to visit the largest and highest salt desert in the world. 3-day tours to the Salar de Uyuni in 4 × 4 jeeps are the most popular. The first day we will visit the Uyuni Salt flat usually the first night is spent in one of the hotels located in the salar. These hotels are built entirely from pieces of dead or dried salt! The second and third days are to visit the colorful lakes, the thermal baths, the flock of flamingos, the thermal springs, the rock formations such as the "Arbol de Piedra" or Stone Tree, and the painted volcanoes. Sleep in tents and immerse yourself in this rough part of the world. The stars in this uncontaminated sky can leave you breathless. 

Day 9: Nights Bus - Train to La Paz

This day, we will return to uyuni to go back to the beautiful city of La Paz. We arrive by daybreak, in time to see the sun rise over the glistening peaks of the Cordillera highest ski resot.

Day 10: La Paz

You can take a visit and explore the city. La Paz offers fine museums, shopping and excursions to the Tiahuanaco ruins, the Valley of the Moon, or a visit to Chacaltaya, the wolrd's highest ski resort.

Day 11: Departure

Thanks to trust in our service, this day we will say goodbye hoope your travel was be an unforgettable experience with us.

THIS TOUR INCLUDES:

  • Bilingual speaking Guide / Driver 
  • Accommodation
  • Food with vegetarian option

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Access to Incahuasi ($ 4) 
  • Access to Eduardo Avaroa Park ($ 20)

what to take to Uyuni Salt Flat tour?

  • Even though you can carry your big backpack, we recommend that you only travel with a small handbag with the basics. Otherwise you will have to raise it and lower it from the roof of the jeep. 
  • Take warm clothes, a sleeping bag and good shoes. 
  • The nights in the salar are freezing and the accommodations have no heating. 
  • Do not forget the sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat or cap. 
  • The sun can be blinding in the salt and during the day the temperatures can be high. 
  • Cash. You must pay for the tickets to Isla Pescado, the Eduardo Avaroa Reserve, the hot springs, the baths and for tips or other things you want to buy. 
  • In the tour there are no banks or ATMs. 
  • Towel and toilet paper. In the hostels where you stay, they will not provide you with either. 
  • Lantern. As I mentioned, many basic accommodations do not have electricity during the night and if you have to go to the bathroom you will need one. 
  • Do not forget the camera and video and, if you can, extra battery for both!

 

Frequent questions:

How much time do you need to visit the Salar of Uyuni

Before answering this question, it must be made clear that the Salar of Uyuni, properly speaking, is the largest salt desert on Earth. The city of Uyuni (Bolivia) is just at the beginning of this magnificent natural place and from there you could see it in a single day. That said, it should be noted that the tour of the Salar of Uyuni is generally spoken of as a journey of two to four days, not only because of this gigantic white area, but also as a route that also includes numerous attractions of the Bolivian altiplano, such as spectacular lagoons of diverse colors, rock formations and a unique desert environment full of native fauna.

 

Where can I take the Uyuni Salt Flat tour

  • From Uyuni (Bolivia). They can be contracted from the Bolivian city itself. There various companies operate and offer unequal quality. We recommend looking for references of tour operators and not be guided exclusively by the price.We are one of the best operators, don't doubt in ask every question you may have, we will be happy to help you. The duration of the tours varies from 1 to 4 days. 
  • From San Pedro de Atacama (Chile). There are 4-day and 3-day tours, depending on whether you want to return to the Chilean town or end up in the city of Uyuni. And if you do not want to take risks with very basic accommodations, there is the option to take the private tour with superior accommodation in hotels. 
  • From La Paz (Bolivia). There are also tours to the salar from the Bolivian capital, lasting 2 to 3 days.

How likely is it to suffer from puna or altitude sickness in the Salar of Uyuni

You must bear in mind that you will overcome the 3,600 meters of altitude, so that you may feel the effects of the puna. Among the basic recommendations, it is advisable to acclimatize before the tour, that is, spend a few days in a place of considerable altitude to give time for your body to get used to the decrease of oxygen in the air.

 

What is the best time to visit the Uyuni Salt Flat? How's the weather? 

It is difficult to answer that question, we will leave it in a "it depends". Between May and November (cold seasons) the rains are scarce or nonexistent. The Salar offers then an appearance similar to a white sea, where perspective is lost and offers many opportunities to take funny photographs playing with the optical effects that occur. At this time, on average, the maximum temperatures of 18 ° C and minimum of 1'7 ° C. Between January and February (warm seasons) is the rainy season in the area. But that is not necessarily bad. You have probably seen photographs of the Salar turned into a gigantic mirror. This phenomenon only occurs at this time. If you are interested in seeing it, we recommend going in mid-January or late February, since you can see the reflections with a lower risk of rain. In this period, on average, maximum temperatures are 16 ° C and minimum temperatures are -3 ° C.

 

What happens in case of rain? 

When it rains abundantly, access to the salt can be hindered by the accumulation of water, and access to Isla Incahuasi or Isla del Pescado (located in the middle of the salt) can be closed. If this circumstance occurs, the visit to this island is canceled, and the salt is entered only to a safe distance for the passengers and the vehicle.


Do you need to have a Tourism Visa to enter to Bolivia? 

It depends on the passenger's nationality. Visitors of Group I nationality (most of Western Europe, America and some Asian countries) do not require a Visa to enter Bolivia. Passengers of Group II and Group III do have to pay a US $ 100 Visa, in addition to carrying two passport-size photographs. Visitors from the USA and Puerto Rico must pay a visa of US $ 160, plus 2 passport-size photographs.  

  • Important: The visa is obtained directly at the border, where along with the payment of the visa in dollars in cash (tickets in good condition), passengers must present their passport along with two passport-size photographs.

Are vaccines needed to Uyuni Salt Flat tour

To visit the Salar of Uyuni or San Pedro de Atacama it is not necessary to get vaccinated. If after visiting Uyuni you intend to go to the Amazon jungle, you must be vaccinated against yellow fever.

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