White spot in the south of Bolivia. This is what the world’s largest salt plain looks like in satellite photos. By the way, they understand each other well. Its flat surface perfectly reflects infrared radiation, so NASA even calibrates the satellites.
And what is Salar de Uyuni close up? It depends on when you decide to step on it. From May to November, it resembles a frozen lake covered with snow. Except that it does not cool and does not slide. A layer of salt of several meters forms a characteristic honeycomb on the surface due to curing. Therefore, the entire plain covering Lebanon looks as if it was paved with polygons of salt stones. In addition, in the moonlight, it changes to ghostly blue. From a perfectly smooth breakdown, only Ojos del Salar or Eyes of Salara, ie several large holes in salt, flooded with water all year round, are drilled into the sky.
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It just needs to rain, and the plain becomes the largest natural mirror. No wonder the ancient Bolivians give him the attribute of God. Clouds and sky are suddenly up and down, and you can hardly tell where the reflection ends and where the real sky begins. This happens once a year in the period of flooding, ie from December to April. Photographers come down on a giant puddle from all over the world like wasps. Wading and running in a few centimeters or decimeters of salt water, however, certainly does not benefit either shoes or car chassis, and therefore the guides are happy when it all evaporates soon again.
Trick photos without Photoshop
Do not worry that you and your lenses will be dry in the dry season. Visual effects can be handled without blinking. The infinite horizon erases the differences between what’s next and what’s ahead. Just play with perspective and depth of field - and the optical illusion will do all the fun for you. You don’t even need imagination to take fantastic photos from here. In addition to the technique, the adventure agency brochures also describe the compositions of the most classic rags that people perform here.
Osolte to po soli
Four-wheel-drive guides advertise three-day salt-field trips. They start from Bolivian town of Uyuni or Chilean San Pedro de Atacama. The stops on the plain and the program all have the same, so it only depends on whether you want to turn the wheel and return to the starting point or end on the other side. Just be careful if you are going to Chile, you have to have a Bolivian exit stamp in Uyuni at the Immigration Office.
Even driving a car on the plain is a surprisingly powerful experience. Since you don't have any landmark around you most of the time, distances, direction and speed distort strangely. Ordinary driving seems like a surreal move, something between flight and sailing. After all, listen to it from our famous trabantaires , who rushed around here and breakfast boiled eggs with salt.
Island that casts a shadow
In addition to 10 billion tons of different salts, there are other attractions. Of the natural ones, for example, 22 islands. In the heart of the salt plains lies a black rock island, whose hollow ridge is glowing through a high cactus forest. Cacti grow here at a rate of 1 cm per year, and it is not difficult to calculate that the 12-meter giant has been looking at Salar de Uyuni for nearly 1200 years. And that she has something to look at. For every sunrise the island throws a ghostly long shadow.
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Romantic show in pink
Huge flocks of flamingos have a reserve in November. Three species come together - Chilean, Andean, and James - to turn the monotonous wasteland into a clear parquet into their solemn courting dances. There is also a hotel built and equipped with a salt complex on the plain, which now functions as a museum.
Cemetery of contraption
Train lovers should cry a few salty tears on the cemetery, where locomotive wrecks are resting in the room. Museum pieces of steam engines stand abandoned in the open air about 3 km from the town of Uyuni and are crawled through tourists and rust through. The post-apocalyptic scene was preceded by a booming mining industry in the 19th century, for which Bolivia built a pathway to the Pacific.
This is called the bottom
Silver was mined and what is being mined now? Of course salt. The most common is represented by classic kitchen salt or halide and gypsum. Surprisingly, the local miners are pretty old-fashioned, ie practically with hoes. Luckily, only about 25,000 tons are scraped off to preserve the plain. But besides salt and minerals, there is another “gold mine” that represents lithium. It is estimated that there are around 70% of the world’s reserves. The bottom line is that you are at the very bottom of the lake (originally a Pleistocene lake).