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salar de Uyuni
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Saturday, 11 November 2017

The famous salar de Uyuni is the biggest (and highest) salt lake in the world. Lake on which you can drive, as the water in beneath a thick salt crust, forming a huge white plain, surrounded by faraway mountains and doted by a few islands. It's also the biggest lithium stock, and therefore the best short-term revenue source for Bolivia.

scenic salar scenic salar

Just a few kilometers after having entered the salar, we stop for our first night into a salt hotel (yes, everything inside is made of salt : walls, furniture, beds... except for the bathroom). It’s very quiet as we are the only customers and rather basic (no water or electricity, but they gave us one candle). We found it very pleasant as it seems salt as a good thermal insulation : we were almost warm despite the cold nights of the altiplano.

salt hotel 1 salt hotel 1 salt hotel 2 salt hotel 2

The next day, we aim to the middle of the salar, which seems endless all around us. With a closer look, the salt crust is made of hexagons, like a giant tiled floor. Sadly, the numerous tours that cross the salar everyday have left behind them long black trails, whatever tire print or grease track.

drone salar drone salar hexagones hexagones

After having spent the right amount of time trying to make weird perspective pictures, we stop and visit few islands. They are covered by giant cactus, and house a few animals, the size of a rabbit. We avoid getting stuck in the mud at the edges of the islands, and drive onto one, where we spend the afternoon drinking maté and decide to spend the night there. The sunset is gorgeous, but the temperature drops immediately. After the heat of the day, when we had to use sun cream (or turban), now comes the cold of the night. We warm up with salt pork and lentils hardly cooked with our gas stove at 3700m high.

perspective perspective ile 1 ile 1

ile 3 ile 3 ile 2 ile 2

ile 4 ile 4 turban turban

We exit by the south end of the salar, which allow us to make a small loop (on a very dirty road) before coming back to Uyuni. On the way, we can see plenty of lamas, vicunas (there wild cousin), a salt mine and Incan mummies. Back to Uyuni, we treat ourselves with a rare steak with roquefort sauce, lama stew and a weird chocolate cake stuffed with dulce de leche...

sud du salar sud du salar vicognes vicognes

sel sel momie momie

We then head south, and might come back in a few months, hopefully to see the salar turned into a giant mirror by the rain.

salar salar


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