Largest Salt Flat in the World
02.12.2013 - 07.12.2013
Interestingly enough, one of the most unknown and least-visited attractions in the world is probably also the coolest.
Situated in the southwest corner of Bolivia is the the world's largest, and most mesmerizing salt flat, known as Salar de Uyuni.
Many years ago, it used to be a salt lake. Then, the water dried up and instead of leaving behind large puddles, it left behind a extensive and flat piece of salt. So flat, in fact, that NASA uses its surface to calibrate their satellites.
Why is it so cool? Well, I don't really know. And it's kinda hard to explain. But there is something absolutely amazing about standing in the middle of a valley of flat, white salt approximately the size of of New Jersey.
The entire experience really makes you feel like you're on the moon. You can't really appreciate it until you actually go see it yourself. Pictures just don't do any justice.
You take optical illusion pictures, which Uyuni is perfect for. Because the landscape is forever flat, you can make some pretty interesting trick photos. And ordinary things become excellent props for your photos. For example:
A water bottle
You see what I did there? That isn't a huge water bottle, or banana, or shoe. Because Salar de Uyuni is so flat and extensive, there is no sense of depth and these photos look pretty cool.
If you want to go to Salar de Uyuni and take interesting optical illusion photos like mine, you need to first get to the Bolivian city of Uyuni. It's a small city and probably 90% of the buildings there are Salt Flat tour groups. Choose any building, walk in, and sign up for a tour. You can sign up for a one-day tour, or be hardcore like me and sign up for a four day, Salt Flat plus the surrounding desert tour.
Here's is what I did:
First, I hopped on a bus that left La Paz in the evening and arrived in Uyuni in the morning.
If you do this, then sometime in the middle of the night the paved road will suddenly end and turn into rocks and gravel. You will be aware of this very moment because you'll go from smooth sailing to earthquake mode in about 0.5 seconds. It was the first time in my life that I was woken up because I was being lifted off my seat.
In Uyuni, I found a tour group, paid $100, and spent the next four days in a Jeep, traveling around with a Bolivian driver, a Japanese woman, a Caribbean girl, a Dutch law student, and a couple from somewhere in Latin America.
Four days in a car with six strangers doesn't sound fun, does it? Interestingly enough, it was fine. Beside the Latin American couple, no one else knew each other but we still got along fine. The couple or the Japanese woman couldn't speak any English, so I was the translator because I knew enough Japanese and Spanish to translate. Funny how things turn out.
Anyway. Here's a list of the cool things we saw on our four-day tour.
The list isn't exhaustinve, just the things I found most interesting:
Interesting Rock Formations
Completely Random Railroad in the Middle of Nowhere
More Interesting Rock Formations
An animal I've never seen before.
[What is that? A squirrel? A rabbit? Both? A SQUIRABBIT? What are you, Frankenstein animal?!]
And the most beautiful, amazing, extraordinary Lagoon I've EVER seen. Laguna Colorada.
Well, there you have it. Although I was cramped into a jeep with six strangers and was only able to shower once through out entire trip, the four-day Uyuni tour is DEFINITELY a must see for any traveler. Amazing memories and pictures guaranteed.