Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, has become one of South America’s most popular attractions. Located in the Eduardo Avaroa National Andean Wildlife Reserve, the flats welcome 24,000 visitors a year. The phenomenal landscape and surrounding area is bursting with unique and stunning attractions, each of which has an intriguing story behind it. There is no shortage of things to do and see at Salar de Uyuni. Read up on the following incredible attractions before your trip!
On the deserted outskirts of Uyuni is the ‘Cementerio de trenes’ or train cemetery. Here you can explore the eerie remains of former train carriages, completely rusted out due to the area’s salty winds. All salt flat tours stop at the train graveyard and the local tour guide will give a detailed history of the site. Take a step into the past and visit this amazing attraction!
Just 20 km south of Uyuni lies the quaint salt-processing village of Colchani, one of the first stops for all Salar de Uyuni tours. Here you’ll have a chance to visit a traditional salt factory and learn the process of salt extraction and refinement. It’s also a great place to pick up authentic Bolivian souvenirs, including handicrafts made of salt and textile art made of llama and alpaca.
Immerse yourself in the local nature by staying a night in one of the astonishing salt hotels around the Salar de Uyuni. Locals have creatively capitalised on the surrounding environment by creating these unique hotels in which everything from the beds to the walls and floors are constructed from salt blocks.
Wander through this valley lined with unusual rocks, formed as a result of volcanic activity and wind erosion. These rocks are said to resemble various animals and natural scenery.
Sol de Mañana (Spanish for Morning Sun) is a beautiful, otherworldly landscape lined with erupting geysers, bubbling mud pots and the distinct smell of sulfur.
The most iconic of the naturally-formed sculptures of the Valle de Rocas, this picturesque rock is said to resemble a tree, giving it the name of Árbol de Piedra (“rock tree”).
Amongst the beautiful polygonal patterns of salt and sensational volcanoes lies the Polques Lagoon hot springs where visitors can bathe in the thermal waters. The perfect way to wind down from a long day of exploring!
In the heart of the salt flat lies Isla Incahuasi, one of the main attractions for tours of the area. The name, which means “house of the Inca” in Quechua, highlights the importance of the island to the ancient Incas. This rocky outcrop sits atop the remains of an ancient volcano which was submerged by a giant prehistoric lake. Once a lonely, unearthly place, this stunning piece of land is now regarded as one of the most interesting sites on the tour.
This once-bustling mining town now lies dormant, with only faint memories of its glorious past remaining. Legend has it that a pact with the devil is what caused the town’s precipitous decline. Explore these eerie ruins of a bygone era.
This small town has not been abandoned yet, but it has the unmistakable look and feel of a ghost town. Incredibly, its church was moved brick by brick from a different location 20 km away after silver was discovered at the original site.