Salar de Uyuni

While in Bolivia we had -of course- visit the Salar the Uyuni. The biggest salt flats in the world. At an altitude of 3650 masl it’s surface is a staggering 10.582km2. that is about 25% of the Netherlands or 4x Luxemburg, to put things into perspective.

Uyuni itself is a small and rather ugly town. The night before we drove on to the Salar we camped near the old train tracks which is kind of an art project now.

We drove onto the salt flats from Uyuni. In august the salt flats are dry, so there was no problem getting there. When it has rained a lot, the surface becomes covered with a thin layer of water and along the edges of the salt flats it becomes soft and muddy. However it is apparently even more beautiful then because of the mirror effect. But driving the Salar in the dry season is less hard on the car, we have enough rust without lots of salt!

The salt flats, being the biggest in the world, are of course famous. But the Dakar rally helped to make it even more famous. The first point of interest we navigated to was therefore the Dakar monument, built with salt blocks. And close by there is a very nice “island” with a lot of international flags. There’s even a hotel on the slat flats, build with a lot of salt.

After that we drove to the “Stairway to heaven” and very near to that is the Salt statue park. It was all very interesting and fun to see.

From this point we decided to drive to the Isla Incahuasi, which is, let’s say, in the middle of the salt flats. This meant 80km dead straight to the next point.

There are no signs or anything noticeable on the salt flats other than the tracks other cars have made so a GPS is very handy to use here! Driving here resembled air traffic a bit: straight line navigation, and watch out for traffic!

Isla Incahuasi is, besides the Dakar monument and international flags, the main tourist destination. I guess every tour operator (they all use Toyota Landcruisers without exception) stops at this island for a break. Having our own means of transportation meant we could skip this crowded point.

We drove on to Isla del Pescado, another 20km further, but nobody was there! The first night we stayed on the salt flats itself, and the next day we found a nice spot on the Island where we stayed another night.

For Binkie this second campsite was much better too! On the salt he could not be out too long because of the intense sunlight that reflects from the surface, and, the salt gets onto his paws, so when he would clean himself, he would ingest too much salt. So after every salt flat excursion Binkies paws were washed, much to Binkie’s annoyance 🙂
Anyway, on the island it was much better for him to roam around between the rocks and bushes, although he seemed to like the vast flat salt area too. Most of the time he was off leash since it was perfectly safe here of course.

And, I went for a short bike ride from Isla del Pescado to Isla Incahuasi and back. 40km in total just straight without any other feature: a mind game because you can see your destination all the time, without getting noticeably closer.

2 thoughts on “Salar de Uyuni”

  1. What an interesting experience! Very beautiful views 🤩
    To me it seems a little vulnerable, out there on your own. Especially when there is nobody out there. Perhaps you have a different perspective and it is nice and peaceful for you. Do you take extra safety precautions? Especially when you split up. And how long do you think the camper will be on the road? Your comment about rust, made me think 🤔
    Thank you for sharing your adventures! Hope you all are safe, healthy and content. Greetings Ilona

    Reply
    • Hello,
      we are used to being on our own and enjoy it! But it was very touristy so in case of emergency somebody would probably come within hours, at least during the day. There was no cellphone reception, but we’re also used to that. I think by now we have enough experience to know how to avoid most trouble and stay calm and find a solution if we get in to trouble anyway. It is very rare to stay at a place without anyone in the area for the whole day actually, this planet is definitely overpopulated! I guess the camper will stay on the road as long as we (well Kilian 🙂 maintain it well. We want to do some major reparations including treating all the rust before we ship it back to Europe.
      Did you have a nice holiday, despite the heat?

      Greetings

      Reply

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