Uyuni

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High up in the Bolivian Andes is the small town of Uyuni, it has a train graveyard, boasts a bank once robbed by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, its got a war monument to its soldiers in several territorial wars with Chile (it lost them all).

 


Main street

 

Albertís train of thought.

 

The town is on the shoreline of the Salar De Uyuni which is by a large margin the biggest salt lake in the world. Seeing this white salt bed surrounded by high mountain peaks on satellite photography is quite stunning; it is strange to look down on this ancient sea bed now risen to almost 12,000 feet into the air.  You can look at these photographs and imagine that day, long ago when tremendous forces pushed up the Andes and took a massive sea floor up there too. Then at some point most of  the sea drained away, leaving a dried out flat salt lake high in the sky. (Probably Lake Titicaca was also part of this Sky Ocean.)

 

In the centre of the salt lake is a coral island called Pescado, (the Fish) which is the home to giant cacti, the landscape is surreal, with an extinct coral island reef supporting cacti, surrounded with a white salt ocean and a volcano in the distance.

The Tunupa volcano is amazing it has a gigantic jagged outline with startling red ochre colouration and on its sides are Inca Tombs inside caves with long dead mummies sitting in a row along the cave wall.

 

The temperature falls from 40 degrees to minus 20 at night, so its best to sleep with all your clothes on, even in the hotel. Its impossible to see without good sun glasses as the sun reflects straight back of the salt floor which is immaculately white and with hexagonal salt structures interlocking all over the surface. Driving at high speed over it is weird as soon there is no sense of motion.

 

 

There is a freezing cold river flowing under parts of the salt lake and where holes appear you can reach inside, at the risk of freezing your fingers, and feel large solid square salt crystals. There is a hotel built from salt blocks.

When it rains the entire surface becomes a mirror and reflects the sky.

Strange coloured lights are reported in the sky at night.

Photo  Gallery

Video


Drive across the Flats


Salt Hotel

  

Salt of the Earth

View from Space 1

View from Space 2

Salt Lake

Uyuni Salt-flat

 

South-American-History.com