Tucked away in the southwest of the country, Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world. This astonishing natural phenomenon extends over 4,000 square miles and contains an estimated 10 billion tons of salt. It sits at 3,650 metres on an Andean plateau where the air is extremely dry and clear. With a variation in altitude of less than one metre it is also one of the flattest places on earth, which makes it an ideal location for satellite calibration.
There is little wildlife or vegetation but the area supports over 80 bird species, the most well known being the three species of flamingo that nest here when the salar is covered with water. For the best view of the flats take an incredible walk to the centre and climb the Isla Incahuasi, a small hill covered in cactus. This extraordinary pure white expanse attracts visitors from all over the world and you can even stay in a hotel built from the local salt.
Uyuni is also the base for visits to the stunning coloured lakes, which include green Laguna Verde and red Laguna Colorada. The colours are the result of salts and other minerals and they shift beautifully as the sediments are disturbed by the wind and sun. The lakes are situated in some of the wildest and most spectacular scenery in the world, in the fantastic 2,760 square mile Avaroa National Reserve. Often called Bolivia’s Yellowstone, here you will see active volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and fumaroles.
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