- Largest salt flat in the world
- Encompasses 4,086 square miles (10,582 sq km)
- Accounts for 50 to 70% of world’s lithium reserves
Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni is a salt flat located in the Potosi and Oruro departments of southwest Bolivia. Salar is a Spanish word translating into “salt flat,” and Uyuni is Spanish for “enclosure.” As part of the Andes, the Salar is located at 11,995 feet (3,656 m) above sea level. Created from the transformation of several lakes, the salt crust of the Salar de Uyuni has no more than three feet (1 m) in altitude variation.
Statistically speaking, Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world accounting for 4,086 square miles (10,582 sq km). The crust is comprised of salt and covers a sea of brine that ranges from 7 to 66 feet (2 to 20 m) deep. Collectively, the Salar de Uyuni accounts for between 50 to 70% of the world’s lithium reserves.
There is limited wildlife or vegetation in the area. There are about 80 species of birds found in the area with the highlight being three different species of flamingos that visit during the month of November.
Best Ways to Experience Salar de Uyuni
The majority of visitors take a tour which can be anywhere from 2 days to around a full week. You can actually have a single day tour, but you are really missing out on this amazing feature of nature. These jeep safari excursions provide travelers with an opportunity to experience the salt flats to the fullest while also capturing the various mountains and colorful lakes.
A little more adventure can be had by taking a motorcycle tour through and across the salt flats. These also vary in length usually lasting 2 to 4 days.
Of course it is a necessity to get out and walk around the salt flats. As you have probably witness in various photographs, they are great opportunities to capture stunning images of this wonder of nature. This is one of the most unique places in the world.
Taking advantage of the entire day should be an objective. The sunrise and sunset settings are phenomenal, particularly if there has been any rain or water in the area to enhance the reflective nature of the salt flats. At night, don’t forget to leverage the absence of light and admire the incredible starlit skies.
Best time to Explore Salar de Uyuni
The reasons to visit Salar de Uyuni and what makes the best time varies. The dry months of June through September are nice because of an absence of rain. However, July and August could experience snow which cancels your tour.
The rainy season is a targeted time to visit because the additional water enhances the mirroring effect that occurs across the salt flats. However, heavy rains can lead your tour to be delayed or cancelled.
The shoulder season which includes the months of April, May, and September through November are probably the safest for planning a successful trip.
Salar de Uyuni Travel Tips
There is more coming on the Salar de Uyuni travel experience. If you are a travel professional familiar with Bolivia or the Salar de Uyuni area, please contact Seven Natural Wonders to provide your counsel and suggestions.