Located in southwestern Bolivia, in the middle of the plateau, lies this natural wonder is the largest salt flat in the world. In this definitive travel guide to Salar de Uyuni, we’ve covered everything you need to know to plan a wonderful and memorable trip to this beautiful destination.
While there is a lot to see in Bolivia (it is one of the best countries in South America to visit), Salar de Uyuni is the number one destination for travelers in Bolivia. There is much to see and do here, even more than just visiting the salt flats.
Most visitors spend a few days here exploring Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni and the beautiful surrounding countryside on a 4X4 jeep tour.
With no place to go, the water remains almost completely still, creating a mirror effect with the sky above that looks like something out of a science fiction movie.
Reflection on the Lake Surface
Salar de Uyuni is probably best known for its beautiful reflective properties during the rainy season. I’m sure you’ve seen the photos that look like the sky are perfectly reflected on the ground.
When shooting the Salar de Uyuni reflection, shoot towards the horizon for the best effect. Shooting towards the sun and creating silhouettes of people in the morning and afternoon also creates an almost perfect reflection image.
Keep in mind that during the rainy season, your guide may need to travel several miles to find a spot that best reflects Salar de Uyuni’s reflection. Since the reflection depends on the last rain, you can never be sure if you will see it.
World’s Largest Natural Mirror
Make sure you get the chance to take lots of pictures during your visit. This beautiful landscape has been featured in dozens of other Latin American and international films. The extreme landscapes really feel like they belong on another planet and deliver stunning images.
Bolivia’s salt flats are known for being extremely flat. Because of the way they are made, there is almost no height difference when you drive over them, because the salt water recedes.
The extreme flatness combined with few landmarks leads to crazy optical illusions.
Where to stay when visiting Salar de Uyuni
There are hotels of all price ranges in Uyuni and the surrounding communities built solely from giant blocks of salt. It’s a one-time experience and definitely the best choice for a stay in Uyuni.
Salar de Uyuni 4×4 jeep tours usually include an overnight stay in a salt hotel, but check with your tour company to confirm you don’t want to miss out on this unique lodging experience.
Lithium beneath the Salar de Uyuni
Geologists are unsure of the true extent of lithium deposits beneath the Salar de Uyuni, but it is believed to be one of the largest concentrated areas of lithium on Earth. Not much has been won yet, but Bolivia could become one of the world’s largest producers of lithium in the coming years.
Here you are guaranteed to feel the height as soon as you arrive! The height of the Salar de Uyuni is often the highest most visitors have ever experienced.
The town of Uyuni sits at an impressive 3,750 meters above sea level, meaning any visit here will likely be one of the highest elevations most visitors have ever experienced. In and around Uyuni there is not much difference in height.
But if you go on one of the popular 4X4 Jeep tours of Salinas and the surrounding region, you will experience elevations that are slightly higher or lower than the elevation of Uyuni.