Salina de Uyuni: Bolivia’s Incredible Salt Desert

Bolivian salt desertPhoto: Nesher Guy

The Bolivian desert, ‘Salina de Uyuni’ is the biggest salt desert in the world. It is like a giant natural mirror. In the rainy season the water acts as a delicate film on the surface of the desert – and thus strange formations are born.

The surface of the desert is 12,000km square and contains approximately 64 billion tons of salt.

Bolivian salt desertPhoto: MaximeF

Visitor can see experience a unique phenomenon here, when the wet surface of the desert is hit by the sunlight, thus giving the sensation of walking on thin air.

With the passing of time, this place has become the biggest tourist attraction in Bolivia, and is visited by some 60,000 tourists every year. People often say after a visit here, that it is practically impossible to tell where the land ends, and where the horizon is.

Bolivian salt desertPhoto: seb_riha

The capacity of the desert to refract light is to such an extent that artificial satellites use it to calibrate their sensors. The light refracted here makes data collection 5 times more accurate than above ocean level.

The huge desert is a proof of a real sea having existed here, millions of years ago. This is the way the lakes Titicaca and Poopo were born.