April 16, 2011

A land of contrasts: Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni is billed as the largest salt desert in the world with a total area of 12000 km ² and an average height of 3,650 meters (11,975ft), placed in Potosí to 170Km (105 Mi.) from the capital and is visited each year for more than 60000 tourists from around the world. 

In wet weather the salt is covered with a layer of water and acts as a mirror
There are many ways to get here: by train to Uyuni, minibuses and buses on the road, or plane to Corporate TAM from the cities of Sucre, La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. 

The trip can last 7 hours from La Paz, depending on whether it is rainy season, but can also be reached from Villazon to Uyuni which are observed in unforgettable landscapes where even brought some of them seem from another planet. Once in the town of Uyuni, touristic packages sellers come to one offering these packages from Bs 150 to Bs 850 ($us. 30 - 130) depending on the number of days and number of attractions you want to visit. Packages can include lodging, food, transfer to nearby areas, entry to the island's fish-Incahuasi found in half of the salt desert where cactus grow even 10 meters high and even souvenirs made by the comunity members. 

The accommodation can be in the Hotel of salt which is made ​​almost entirely with salt. Once purchased the package,tourists usually visit the train cemetery which is located within walking distance of Uyuni, in this place you can see the first trains arrived in Bolivia that were used to transport ore to foreign ports in Chile and Peru. It is also common to visit Colchani, a village on the shores of the salt, these people uses salt blocks for their houses in this sector and also you can learn the process of extracting salt in small cones that are lost in the immensity of the desert. 

Also in Google Earth => Salar de Uyuni

A little farther from the volcano Tunupa is home of llamas, alpacas and other camelids, also in the way you can see flamingos in different sizes and colors. Already in the volcano are well preserved mummies which are the main attraction of this place. In this place are rustic restaurants where people can eat or eat something light. 

It is advisable to travel between April and October to hiking, biking, animal watching and others because in other months the salt becomes a reflecting pool where you can perform other activities. You should take dark sunglasses that cover all of the eyes to avoid problems with dust and salt, cap or hat, sunscreen, body lotion, gloves, warm jacket, a positioning mechanism (if possible), pills for height if applicable and of course a camera.

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