The United States is home to some of the most beautiful sights imaginable. However, there are just as many outside of the US, and some truly are worth hopping on a plane and seeing for yourself. The Salt Flats of Bolivia is one of them, although if you’re going to visit here, there are a few things you should probably know first.
The history of the Salt Flats
Covering over 4,000 square miles, Bolivia’s salt flats are the largest in the world. They’ve been around for thousands of years, with the region initially underwater between 30,000-42,000 years ago. The flats began to form as the water dried up and formed several smaller lakes, one of which eventually became Salar de Uyuni – the Salt Flats. The area contains a lot of sodium, magnesium, borax, potassium, and lithium, which explains why the region is so salty. However, the Aymara believes that the saltiness is the result of the goddess Tunupa crying after being cheated on. Tunupa became one of the mountains around Salar, along with Kusku – her husband – and Kusina – the woman he cheated on her with.
How you can get there
There isn’t an airport right on the Salt Flats, so you can expect to do a bit of extra traveling during your trip. Your main aim is to reach Uyuni and then travel from there via bus, car, or train. Some of these options won’t necessarily be the fastest and may require you to sleep during the journey. Fortunately, if you book in advance, it’s possible to get a lie-flat seat, so you don’t have to get some shut-eye sitting upright.
Where you can stay
If you’re hoping to stay somewhere with the Salt Flats right on your doorstep, you might be disappointed. Nearby accommodation is limited, although there are a few hotels just outside of Salar. Moreover, there is Kachi Lodge which exists right on the flats. However, there are only six domes to stay in, so availability might be an issue. Still, if you’re able to get a spot here, you’ll get to enjoy access to an ensuite bathroom and eat high-quality restaurant food.
What the area’s like?
Salar de Uyuni exists in a desert climate, meaning intense heat and cold are to be expected during your visit. You’ll want to pack accordingly to ensure you stay cool during the day and warm at night. Moreover, the region typically experiences a wet and dry season. The former occurs from November to March and gives the Salt Flats a mirror-like quality. However, the area can also be tough to traverse during this time of year because of the rain. The rest of the year is usually dry, which is great for access, but you miss out on that unique landscape transformation.
The Salt Flats might take some effort to get to, but the travel is well worth it. Being able to say you’ve seen them in person and have the stunning photographs to prove it should undoubtedly make your loved ones jealous.