RU  UK  EN
Articles  >  Visit  >  Bolivia: spilt salt spells tourists

Bolivia: spilt salt spells tourists

Author: 10.01.2016 | travel, nature, Bolivia
It turns out possible to walk in heaven living on Earth. It is enough to go to the south of a small country of Bolivia, to one of the most extraordinary deserts of the world – Uyuni. When looking at pictures of tourists who had been there you can’t help asking: “Are you sure it isn’t Photoshop-made?”

Huge territory located at the height of almost 4 km above sea level that occupies over 10 000 square kilometers is nothing else but flat lake Uyuni. When here, you don’t entirely get at first what have this enormous expanse arose from. It doesn’t really look like sand and it is way too weird for snow that doesn’t melt under above-zero temperature… So when your sight fails you should rely on other senses, in this case – on taste. You only need to try what’s beneath your feet without any misgiving and everything becomes clear at once – it is bog-standard salt.

On the outside the place falls a long way short of common conception of a lake. But if a time machine could have sent us about 40 thousand years back an ordinary water file called Minchin would have burst upon our views. After a lapse of centuries it got separated into already familiar salt depositary Uyuni, another similar one – Salar de Coipasa as well as into two completely “normal” lakes with interesting names Uru Uru and Poopó. 

But only the first one managed to achieve global notoriety. To a certain extent huge dimensions of the “dry” reservoir, which made it the biggest salt lake on the whole planet, attributed to that. As a rule, walking “cruises” along Uyuni don’t take place in fine weather (customary for all kinds of journeys), but in a season when the sky is fully covered with storm clouds. It lasts from May till November. In this period all the salt is flooded with around 30 cm thick water layer, which produces an effect of an immense mirror that reflects in great detail clouds drifting high above. An unusual illusion becomes a background for unique pictures that are the main goal of the majority of trips.

“Spilt salt doesn’t spell quarrels, it spells additional income” – that’s how inhabitants of the vicinity decided to “rearrange” the meaning of the proverb and created exotic hotels in the lakeside villages. All furniture from sleeping accommodation to stools is made of huge blocks of the mineral. Moderate fare within limits of 20 to 30 dollars – and you ensure yourself an overnight in a salty hotel. Notices are diligently hung in every room and in all the corridors with the only significant request from the establishment’s administration: “Don’t lick anything!”

Inspired by amazing pictures and delighted recalls of the unique place, everyone is trying to get to Uyuni in rainy season. But should mother-nature refuse to flood everything with water by the time you arrive, there is no point in accusing yourself of bad luck and the weather of being unfavorable. Dry “climate” will offer a chance to admire other distinctives of the lake, particularly its wonderful fauna and flora. Domesticated alpacas walking around are the main live stock species in nearby villages and they like to wander to the desert to relish moss that grows here. Being accustomed to people they don’t mind posing to cameras.

 While it is better to watch flocks of long-legged flamingos from a distance – one false step and timid birds will take wings to create a pink cloud over salty expanse. Aside from them, among to feathered tribe, two extremes are seen here: massive ostriches and tiny hummingbirds. As to vegetable world, wet climate and specific ground do not constitute favorable conditions for diverse flora forms, instead, local many-meters-high cacti that surround the desert with a thorny fence can compete even with enormous Mexican ones.


Watching mining of the thing we daily consume is also possible in Uyuni. Utilization of local salt reserves, that constitute about 10 billion tons, has been on for a couple of centuries thus bringing in additional money to state treasury. But some fifty years ago “digging” was far more sweeping and as a reminder about that period an open-air museum called train cemetery is situated three kilometers away from the lake. When in 1950s active mineral mining decreased drastically, employees of the railway abandoned all transportation equipment here for it to turn into another local place of interest with time. It was Bolivian authorities who initiated “reformatting” of old rail-tracked cars into an exhibition, when they started implementing a development program of such an extraordinary region in 2006.

Photo from open sources

It will be interesting:
Sataplia: Honey for dinosaurs
In recent years Georgia has rightly become very popular touristic spot on world map. Probably, everybody will find something for oneself in this proud mountainous state: amazing nature, delicious food, devote and cordial friends and much, much more. Outlook try to visit it as often as possible and share all kinds of interesting stuff with you. Today we’ll tell about a marvelous Sataplia Reserve.
Departure: Amsterdam
If you spent half a day enjoying chips with mayonnaise, herring, eel and cheese; your imagination managed to find solutions for all the riddles of the universe while waiting for hours in endless queue to the Rijksmuseum; and within a couple of hours you were almost knocked down on the road thrice, it means, no doubt, you were spending that day in Amsterdam.
Alpine village nearby Seattle
There are many things that we can learn from citizens of the United States but what deserves special respect is love to their land. Patriotism of Americans manifests itself in everything, even in internal tourism - without having properly explored own country, an American would hardly travel anywhere outside its territory. Today we tell about one of the most popular internal tourism towns - about Leavenworth.
Fight like a woman. The fight club of flying cholit
The free fight has not feminine face. The good girl could smile in a pretty way and care colorful dress but not strike out wildly. But in the fierce Ands such gentle flowers do not grow. The true Bolivian cholit will be quick on the uptake, and it is able to fill in if necessary. But on Sunday, having gathered the starched skirts, she will desperately go to fight
Lakes that are changing the idea of the power of the nature
At the bare mention of the word lake, our imagination pictures soothing, nostalgia-laden images of quite pond cosily embraced by the grassy hills. OUTLOOK prepared a selection of the most spectacular lakes, which will change your understanding of this work of nature. Each of them has something to surprise, whether it is unusual water shade, or frightening ability to petrify living creatures.
Chile: Land That Breathes with Fire
A thing that for tourists is a reason to click photo cameras in amazement, for local citizens is a source for constant concern and even grave danger. A chain of fire-breathing volcanoes, banded with salt lakes and thermal geysers, is believed to be one of the most astonishing spots on the planet. But one thing is to have a look and leave and completely another – to constantly ‘sit on a powderkeg’.
Art of topiary
When I, as a little girl, for the first time passed my hand over trimmed bush, my palm got scratched with sharp edges of twigs and lasting arborvitae fragrance hit my nose. Mesmerized, I was not able to take my eyes away from the cones, balls and squares that surrounded me in the park of a small resort town. I felt like being inside a fairy tale, where behind the leaves I could notice a smile of the Cheshire Cat.
Foot walk around Aachen
To visit three countries over one day – it is possible if you are in Aachen. Situated amid Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, small student town took in features of medieval culture that reflected in its astonishing architecture. Yelena Buravtsova visited the town for it to win her heart with its off-beat monuments, streets paved with stone blocks, cozy cafés, one of a kind printed spice cake, museums and spectacular races.
Which island is the most expensive?
The owners of island Calala near the coast of Nicaragua offer to rent it for one million dollars. The island with the square of 0.1 ha has all the infrastructure common for such sea areas. The only thing unusual is, perhaps, price. The editions describing all the expensive things paid attention to it. What is proposed for one million?
British heartland: Albion's unsolved mysteries
Green slopes covered with heather moorland, deserted suburban roads, narrow streets with small cottages and gardens emitting heady fragrance - it seems that British villages are unchangeable through the passage of time. Like stilled scenery for heroic fantasy fiction, each of them has its own story about great battles, brave warriors and legendary artefacts.
Little pets of big cities
Germans have other pets besides German Shepherds and in Boston not just Boston Terriers can be seen. People choose dogs relying on own preferences. But sometimes locals are too prone to having a certain breed so it becomes a distinctive of a location. Natural conditions, fashion and even set of mind contribute to it.
Hold your breath: the most dangerous places for diving
After the legendary Frenchman Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his colleagues invented and perfected self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, scuba diving firmly entered the list of the most popular, but unfortunately, unsafe hobbies. OUTLOOK warns and talks about the most extreme places to do scuba diving.
A trip to Transylvania: Intriguing places of Romania
A visit to picturesque Transylvania is akin to mystic extravaganza that takes place in reality. But laymen rarely know for sure what to visit in Romania aside from the famous Bran Castle, residence of Count Dracula. OUTLOOK solves the problem and offers an opportunity to personally choose an exciting route – its history may not just surprise but also stir your blood.
Dallol: Bright glory of Ethiopia
Countries often flaunt their natural beauties: they invite tourists allowing them to examine closely every detail of jewellery coined by the nature. Among beauties, there are some that are the most extravagantly bright, showy and bizarre, and sometimes even wild for our eyes. African Ethiopia grabbed one of the most beautiful accessories - Dallol volcano.
Life on water: 7 little-known Venice competitors
When we hear about "water city", Venice immediately comes to mind, doesn’t it? Tranquil gondolas, narrow waterways, gentle light of the evening sun and ancient architecture create that heady romantic cocktail which attracts tourists from all over the world to the Italian city.
Only sky is a limit: Worlds's highest observation decks
Nature bestowed our planet with many sky-high peaks, which at any moment give visitors the feeling of boundless freedom. Cities build skyscrapers boasting to one another and, to satisfy high aspirations, they add observation decks at the height of the bird's flight. Travelling from continent to continent, with bated breath we will admire the world's loftiest views from the summits of supertalls.
The most stunning flower fields in the world
Flower fields and valleys are impressive and attract attention of the most discerning connoisseurs of beauty. Multi-coloured deposits of fragrant plants adorn vast valleys of almost every country, in the most distant parts of the world. We offer several options for such floral carpets for every taste.
Montserrat: Visiting Angels
Should we have a look at notes of those who plan their trips to Spain, next to the darling of all hearts, Barcelona, Montserrat is bound to rank second. Also, the mountain of the abbey is a must-visit spot for local dwellers, too – they believe it necessary to visit Catalonia’s religious heart at least once a year.
Postcards from Bulgaria
Having taken the passport and good mood, go on May holidays to the so-called "Near Abroad" - Bulgaria - the country where ancient architecture is successfully combined with a relaxing sea breeze. Do not you believe? But OUTLOOK is sure that Pavel Khomenskyi through his photos will be able to convince you! Bright and in its own way majestic Sofia - this is a must see on these holidays! Let's go with us!
"So sorry for the bird!". Feathered Mauritius symbol
Figurines of dodo bird “invaded” all souvenir shops of Mauritius and its image even managed to become a national symbol complementing to the country’s emblem. But the most grievous thing of all is that all this glory came to Raphus cucullatus after it was completely extinct from the face of Earth – and it took it less then a hundred years…
Close
Outlook facebook page