The Salt Flats


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South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Salar de Uyuni
September 13th 2007
Published: November 3rd 2007EDIT THIS ENTRY

Salt PilesSalt PilesSalt Piles

In the rainy season beautiful reflection shots make Salar a mecca for photographers.
Our Argentinian leg over (sigh) with a last minute run to the shops in Salta to stock up on western world supplies (like moisturiser and hair bands that don´t break), we crossed the border and entered the south of Bolivia for our first stop, Uyuni.

Uyuni is situated next to the worlds largest salt flats (10,582 km²), it´s basically un unglamorous service stop for tours visiting the flats.

Some 40,000 years ago, the area was part of Lake Minchin, a giant prehistoric lake. When the lake dried, it left behind two modern lakes, Poopó Lake and Uru Uru Lake, and two major salt deserts, Salar de Coipasa and the larger Uyuni.

Salar de Uyuni is estimated to contain 10 billion tons of salt, of which less than 25,000 tons is extracted annually. All miners working in the Salar belong to Colchani's cooperative. They work from dawn to dusk and most of them do not take a lunch break in order to take advantage of time, getting energy by chewing coca leaves.

There´s lots of fun to be had taking cheesey photos thanks to the warped sense of perspective given by the wide white yonder so the first
A Dead TrainA Dead TrainA Dead Train

A railway line ran from the silver mines in Potosi to the coast for shipping to the world. When the silver ran out the rail system fell into disrepair.
day of our 3 day tour was spent posing in ridiculous positions to the amusement of all, lots of fun.

Other features of the trip include a visit to a macarbe cemetery of exposed mummies curled up in their little tombs in the middle of the desert, fabulous flamingo-filled lagoons, a train cemetery, amazing snow-capped mountains with bizarre colour ranges, water and steam geysers as well as pools of mud glugging and bubbling away in the sulphorous (smelly) earth.


Additional photos below
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Salar Tour GroupSalar Tour Group
Salar Tour Group

Our crew for the Salar de Uyuni tour. Two Israeli´s, two doctors from London and us.
FlagsFlags
Flags

Many international visitors leave their flags behind. Unfortunately the Aussie flag blew away the week before.
Fish IslandFish Island
Fish Island

Apparently it looks like a fish from the air. This strange little mound of life in the middle of the salt flats even has several native lizards living on it.
White ExpanseWhite Expanse
White Expanse

The flats stretch as far as the eye can see.
A Desert CemeteryA Desert Cemetery
A Desert Cemetery

These unfortunate individuals were buried with all of their worldly goods... unfortunately the Spanish plunderers found them and helped themselves.
Laguna VerdeLaguna Verde
Laguna Verde

The green lagoon with flocks of beautiful pelicans - many oasis like these in this desert setting.
Laguna RojaLaguna Roja
Laguna Roja

The Red Lagoon with more lovely flamingos.
Laguna VerdeLaguna Verde
Laguna Verde

The Green Lagoon, pelicans can´t live in this one as it contains chemical elements which kills the algae they eat.


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