Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni is the world’s biggest salt flat located in Southwest Bolivia. It is in the Daniel Compos Province in Potosi and near the crest of the Andes. Also, it is the flattest place on earth as well. Salar de Uyuni is the legacy of a pre-historic lake that went dry and leaving behind a desert-like, nearly 11000 square kilometers, the landscape of bright-white salt, cacti-studded islands, and rock formations. The total area is 10,582 square kilometers and the depth is 130 meters. The Spanish word Salar means salt flat in English. Salar de Uyuni means salt flat with enclosures. In earlier days, Uyuni acted as a gateway for tourists visiting the world’s largest salt flats.
The way of formed Salar de Uyuni salt flats was when Lago Minchin called a prehistoric lake once covering the majority of southwest Bolivia dried up. Then beneath the thick salt crust are huge reserves of lithium-rich brine, so around 70% of the world’s lithium is mined here.
In safe wise, it is a very safest place where tourists can enjoy a pleasant and safe stay as well as most of the tourist spots of Bolivia. Bolivia is considered one of the least developed countries in South America, and its criminal records are very low. The Salar is serving as a major transport route across the Bolivian Altiplano. These salt flats are dangerous because natural salt pans or salt flats are flat expanses of ground covered with salt and other minerals are shining white under the sun.
The Salar de Uyuni is a prime breeding ground for many species of flamingos and every year in November there can be seen three kinds of Flamingos as Chilean Flamingo, Andean Flamingo, and James’s Flamingo. In apart from that Salar islands have 80 other bird species such as horned coot, Andean Goose, and Andean Hill star. Also, can be seen some other animals such as Andean Fox or Culpeo, and Viscachas Rabbit as well.
The Salt in salt flats, once mined can use in food as well. Overall visiting the Salar de Uyuni is worth it because it is one of the most beautiful spots on the planet as well as it spread out over a whopping 4086 square miles in Southwest Bolivia.
There are ten things to do while visiting Salar such as, can find the “Eye of the Salt”, the Dakar Monument, during the rainy season it is the world’s largest mirror, some parts of it aren’t perfect, etc. Salar de Uyuni has been used as some filming locations for movies such as Star Wars, The Last Jedi, The Fall, The Unseen, and Salt and Fire.
Salar de Uyuni is having a humid climate and its summers are long, comfortable, and partly cloudy. Its winters are short, very cold, dry, and mostly clear. The temperature varies between 26F to 69F and rarely goes down to 23F and above 74F and minimum temperatures are very cold. The wet season in here brings out the best it has to offer and the rain brings the magical mirror effect. When it rains, the thin layer of rainwater covering the salt transforms the flat into the “world’s largest mirror”. Salar de Uyuni is getting only 5 inches of rain per year and between the months of December and April. By February or March, Salar de Uyuni becomes one giant knee-deep puddle because of the majority falls the salt become so darned, hard and the additional water has nowhere to go. Therefore, the best time to go to Salar de Uyuni is between September and October, and to see the wet salt flats, then between December and April.
Salar de Uyuni is considered as a popular tourist destination and consequently, there have been built more hotels in that area. But within the area, there are lack of construction materials, and many of walls, roof, furniture made by salt blocks cut from the Salar. From 1993 to 1995 the first such hotel named Palacio de Sal was built in the middle of the salt flat and it became a popular tourist destination. But ultimately had to destroy it due to the sanitation problems such as waste had to collect manually and environmental pollution. The other tourist attraction is the Train cemetery was located 3km away and connected to it by the old train tracks. The Uyuni city acted as a distribution hub for the trains carrying minerals en-route to Pacific Ocean ports.
The most economic influence is, Salar contains a large amount of Sodium, Potassium, Lithium, Magnesium, and Borax. The most known Lithium resource in the world is in Bolivia country and most of them are in Salar de Uyuni. Salar is containing 9.8 billion long tons and 11 billion short tons of salt, but less than 25000 tons is extracted yearly. The miners who are working in the Salar de Uyuni belong to Colchani’s cooperative. Due to the location, large area, and flatness, Salar is a major car transport route across the Bolivian Altiplano. The Bolivian government does not want to allow exploitation by foreign corporations and it has its own resources to develop the economy even further number of years.