This is a guest post by Vera Petryk, an author for Visitbolivia.net
No roads, no cars or even people, the place that shook me to the core is Salar de Uyni – an endless salt flat in miraculous Bolivia.
Salar de Yuni is a place where it’s hard to breathe because of the altitude but it is even harder to believe that you are still on the Earth.
One of the largest salt flats in the world occupies 10, 582 square km. During wet seasons Uyni is a glass-like salt lake. The history of the place goes way back; scientists claim it to be created more than 40 000 years ago.
The large lake seems to have several islands that evolved for many years from volcanoes, the size of which varies from 10 cm to several meters. The nature of Salar de Uyni is incomparable to anything else in the world, salt fields and shallow water, active volcanoes and geysers, and the cactus islands make you feel like you are dreaming. Uyni is the highest point in the country, located on the altitude of 3, 6 km above the sea level. Some say it’s the brightest spot on the Earth if to look from the space.
The total amount of salt is accounted in billions of tones. In theory, it would be enough to provide all the needs of the world salt for two hundred years. Luckily, nobody is that interested in Bolivian salt yet, so the place remains untouched.
Endless white expanse of saline is surprisingly photogenic, but its dazzling brightness is painful to the eyes. Coming to Salar de Yuni without sun glasses would be a big mistake. During the rainy season, from December to March, salt marsh is covered with a continuous layer of water, turning it into a big mirror, which reflects the clouds. Enormous mirror also reflect the mountains, but you cannot say whether they are far or near, real clouds and their reflections are merged together. The vibes that come from the land are almost overwhelming, you feel like you got to another world, somewhere near the Moon.
Bolivians are unique, they are the one to ignore fast food and they still follow all their ancient traditions. They also believe that salt is not only beautiful, but practical. They make different sorts of crafts and even built the only salt hotel in the world, a special treat for tourists. The hotel use dense grayish salt bricks not only for the walls, but also for the furniture and crockery. It is located at the age of the salt desert, every year thousands of tourists come to the Altiplano to make their way through the town of Uyuni salt marsh and further to the Chilean border. Some dare-devils try to cross the salt desert by bike but most tourists prefer jeeps.
As a salt marsh should have Salar de Yuni has its own island with tropical vegetation. One of the most popular is Incahuasi, also known as Fishermen and the Cactus Island.