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Tour Operator Uyuni

Tour Operator Uyuni – Salty desert adventures – the Andes salt expeditions tour operator- salt flats Bolivia 3 day tour Uyuni- Tour At Bolivia From Atacama Eco Tours Chile. Salar de Uyuni Salar de Uyuni (or “Salar de Tunupa”) is the world’s largest salt flat, or playa, at over 10,000 square kilometers (3,900 sq mi) in area.[2] It is in the Daniel Campos Province in Potosí in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes at an elevation of 3,656 m (11,995 ft) above sea level.The Salar was formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes that existed around forty thousand years ago but had all evaporated over time. It is now covered by a few meters of salt crust, which has an extraordinary flatness with the average elevation variations within one meter over the entire area of the Salar. The crust serves as a source of salt and covers a pool of brine, which is exceptionally rich in lithium. The large area, clear skies, and exceptional flatness of the surface make the Salar ideal for calibrating the altimeters of Earth observation satellites. Following rain, a thin layer of dead calm water transforms the flat into the world’s largest mirror, 129 km (80 mi) across.
How To Choose A Salar De Uyuni Tour Ft Andes Salt Expeditions Bolivia

The Salar serves as the major transport route across the Bolivian Altiplano and is a prime breeding ground for several species of flamingos. Salar de Uyuni is also a climatological transitional zone since the towering tropical cumulus congestus and cumulonimbus incus clouds that form in the eastern part of the salt flat during the summer cannot permeate beyond its drier western edges, near the Chilean border and the Atacama Desert.

Salar has been used as a filming location for movies such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017; as planet Crait), The Fall (2006), Salt and Fire (2016), and The Unseen (2017), and several others.

Uyuni formation, geology, and climate

Salar de Uyuni as viewed from space, with Salar de Coipasa in the top left corner Salar de Uyuni is part of the Altiplano of Bolivia in South America. The Altiplano is a high plateau, which was formed during the uplift of the Andes mountains. The plateau includes fresh and saltwater lakes as well as salt flats and is surrounded by mountains with no drainage outlets.

Uyuni History

Mountains surrounding the Uyuni salt flat during sunrise, Daniel Campos Province, Potosí Department, southwestern Bolivia, not far from the crest of the Andes The geological history of the Salar is associated with a sequential transformation between several vast lakes. Some 30,000 to 42,000 years ago, the area was part of a giant prehistoric lake, Lake Minchin. Its age was estimated by radiocarbon dating shells from outcropping sediments and carbonate reefs and varies between reported studies.

Lake Minchin (named after Juan B. Minchin of Oruro) later transformed into Paleo Lake Tauca having a maximal depth of 140 meters (460 ft), and an estimated age of 13,000 to 18,000 or 14,900 to 26,100 years, depending on the source. The youngest prehistoric lake was Coipasa, which was radiocarbon dated to 11,500 to 13,400 years ago. When it dried, it left behind two modern lakes, Poopó and Uru Uru, and two major salt deserts, Salar de Coipasa and the larger Salar de Uyuni. Salar de Uyuni spreads over 10,582 km2, which is roughly 100 times the size of the Bonneville Salt Flats in the United States. Lake Poopó is a neighbor of the much larger Lake Titicaca. During the wet season, Titicaca overflows and discharges into Poopó, which in turn, floods Salar De Coipasa and Salar de Uyuni.

Lacustrine mud that is interbedded with salt and saturated with brine underlies the surface of Salar de Uyuni. The brine is a saturated solution of sodium chloride, lithium chloride, and magnesium chloride in water. It is covered with a solid salt crust varying in thickness between tens of centimeters and a few meters. The center of the Salar contains a few islands, which are the remains of the tops of ancient volcanoes submerged during the era of Lake Minchin. They include unusual and fragile coral-like structures and deposits that often consist of fossils and algae.

Uyuni Climate

The area has a relatively stable average temperature with a peak at 21 °C (70 °F) in November to January, and a low of 13 °C (55 °F) in June. The nights are cold all through the year, with temperatures between −9 and 5 °C (16 and 41 °F). The relative humidity is rather low and constant throughout the year at 30% to 45%. The rainfall is also low at 1 to 3 mm (0.039 to 0.118 in) per month between April and November, but it may increase up to 80 mm (3.1 in) in January. However, except for January, even in the rainy season the number of rainy days is fewer than 5 per month.

Uyuni Economic influence

Salt production at the Salar Located in the Lithium Triangle, the Salar contains a large amount of sodium, potassium, lithium, and magnesium (all in the chloride forms of NaCl, KCl, LiCl, and MgCl2, respectively), as well as borax. With an estimated 9,000,000 t, Bolivia holds about 7% of the world’s known lithium resources; most of those are in the Salar de Uyuni.

Lithium is concentrated in the brine under the salt crust at a relatively high concentration of about 0.3%. It is also present in the top layers of the porous halite body lying under the brine; however, the liquid brine is easier to extract, by boring into the crust and pumping out the brine.  The brine distribution has been monitored by the Landsat satellite and confirmed in ground drilling tests. Following those findings, an American-based international corporation has invested $137 million in developing lithium extraction. However, lithium extraction in the 1980s and 1990s by foreign companies met strong opposition from the local community. Locals believed that the money infused by mining would not reach them. The lithium in the salt flats contains more impurities, and the wet climate and high altitude make it harder to process.

No mining plant is currently at the site, and the Bolivian government does not want to allow exploitation by foreign corporations. Instead, it intends to reach an annual production of 35,000 t by 2023 in a joint venture with ACI Systems Alemania GmbH. Salar de Uyuni is estimated to contain 10 billion tonnes (9.8 billion long tons; 11 billion short tons) of salt, of which less than 25,000 t is extracted annually. All miners working in the Salar belong to Colchani’s cooperative. Because of its location, large area, and flatness, the Salar is a major car transport route across the Bolivian Altiplano, except when seasonally covered with water.

Uyuni Name

Salar means salt flat in Spanish. Uyuni originates from the Aymara language and means a pen (enclosure); Uyuni is a surname and the name of a town that serves as a gateway for tourists visiting the Salar. Thus Salar de Uyuni can be loosely translated as a salt flat with enclosures, the latter possibly referring to the “islands” of the Salar; or as “salt-flat at Uyuni (the town named ‘pen for animals’)”.

Aymara legend tells that the mountains Tunupa, Kusku, and Kusina, which surround the Salar, were giant people. Tunupa married Kusku, but Kusku ran away from her with Kusina. Grieving Tunupa started to cry while breastfeeding her son. Her tears mixed with milk and formed the Salar. Many locals consider the Tunupa an important deity and say that the place should be called Salar de Tunupa rather than Salar de Uyuni.

Uyuni Flora and fauna

A part of Incahuasi Island inside the Salar, featuring giant cacti, James’s flamingo, Culpeo, Bolivian vizcacha, Andean goose, Andean hillstar, and Andean flamingos in the Laguna Colorada, south of the Salar Vicuñas near the Salar De Uyuni 2017 .

The Salar is virtually devoid of any wildlife or vegetation. The latter is dominated by giant cacti (Echinopsis atacamensis pasacana, Echinopsis tarijensis, etc.). They grow at a rate of about 1 centimeter/a to a height of about 12 m (39 ft). Other shrubs include Pilaya, which is used by locals to cure catarrh, and Thola (Baccharis dracunculifolia), which is burned as a fuel. Also present are quinoa plants and queñua bushes.

Every November, Salar de Uyuni is the breeding ground for three South American species of flamingo feeding on local brine shrimps: the Chilean, Andean, and rare James’s flamingos. About 80 other bird species are present, including the horned coot, Andean goose, and Andean hillstar. The Andean fox, or culpeo, is also present, and islands in the Salar (in particular Incahuasi Island) host colonies of rabbit-like viscachas.

Salar De Uyuni Bolivia Adventure Travel With Ker Downey Tour

Uyuni Tourism Hotels

Palacio de Sal Traditional salt production at Salar. Such salt blocks are used for building salt hotels Salar de Uyuni is a popular tourist destination, and consequently, a number of hotels have been built in the area. Due to the lack of conventional construction materials, many of them are almost entirely (walls, roofs, furniture) built with salt blocks cut from the Salar. The first such hotel, named Palacio de Sal, was erected in 1993–1995 in the middle of the salt flat,  and soon became a popular tourist destination. However, its location in the center of a desert caused sanitation problems, as most wastes had to be collected manually. Mismanagement caused serious environmental pollution and the hotel had to be dismantled in 2002.

Train cemetery One major tourist attraction is an antique train cemetery. It is 3 km (1.9 mi) outside Uyuni and is connected to it by the old train tracks. The town served in the past as a distribution hub for the trains carrying minerals en route to Pacific Ocean ports. The rail lines were built by British engineers arriving near the end of the 19th century and formed a sizeable community in Uyuni. The engineers were invited by the British-sponsored Antofagasta and Bolivia Railway Companies, now Ferrocarril de Antofagasta a Bolivia.

The rail construction started in 1888 and ended in 1892. It was encouraged by Bolivian President Aniceto Arce, who believed Bolivia would flourish with a good transport system, but it was also constantly sabotaged by the local Aymara indigenous Indians who saw it as an intrusion into their lives. The trains were mostly used by the mining companies. In the 1940s, the mining industry collapsed, partly because of mineral depletion. Many trains were abandoned, producing the train cemetery. There are proposals to build a museum from the cemetery. Cemetery of trains near the town of Uyuni

Uyuni Satellite calibration

Salt flats are ideal for calibrating the distance measurement equipment of satellites because they are large, stable surfaces with strong reflections, similar to that of ice sheets. As the largest salt flat on Earth, Salar de Uyuni is especially suitable for this purpose. In the low-rain period from April to November, due to the absence of industry and its high elevation, the skies above Salar de Uyuni are very clear, and the air is dry (relative humidity is about 30%; rainfall is roughly 1 millimeter or 0.039 inches per month). It has a stable surface, smoothed by seasonal flooding — water dissolves the salt surface and thus keeps it leveled. As a result, the variation in the surface elevation over the 10,582-square-kilometer (4,086 sq mi) area of Salar de Uyuni is less than 1 meter (3 ft 3 in) normal to the Earth’s circumference, and there are few square kilometers on Earth that are as flat. The surface reflectivity (albedo) for ultraviolet light is relatively high at 0.69 and shows variations of only a few percent during the daytime.

The combination of all these features makes Salar de Uyuni about five times better for satellite calibration than the surface of an ocean. Using Salar de Uyuni as the target, ICESat has already achieved a short-term elevation measurement accuracy of below 2 centimeters (0.79 in).

By using data from MISR to perform passive optical bathymetry when the flat is flooded and calibrating the resultant water depth model with topographical data from the laser altimeter of ICESat, it has been shown that the Salar de Uyuni is not perfectly flat. The 2006 analysis revealed previously missed features: ridges between 20 and 30 centimetres in height that are roughly sinusoidal with a wavelength of 5 km (clearly visible in 1973 and 1975 LandSat images, and still in the same places decades later), and a moat around the periphery that is 1–3 km wide and 20 to 50 centimeter deep. They originate from the variation in material density, and thus the gravitational force, beneath the Salar’s sediments. Just as the ocean surface rises over denser seamounts, the salt flat surface also rises and falls to reflect the subsurface density variations.

Read more:


Uyuni 2018 Guide How To Choose A Tour What To Expect Global Sapien- How To Visit The Uyuni Salt Flats From La Paz The Inside Track.

Uyuni Go/Walk/Drive/…

First Day– The World’s Largest flat
On a primary day, you’ll visit the salt flats. within the dry season, this may be a psychoactive white landscape. within the rain, it’s principally submerged and can show an ideal reflection of the sky.

Uyuni Plaza Arce (3669m, 20.463 S, 66.823 W) – Most journeys begin here next to the train depot at 10:30 am, though edifice pickup is sometimes available.
Train burial ground (3669m, 20.479 S, 66.834 W) – is sometimes the first issue of the tour, however, some operators favor ending the tour with it. an area with Delaware of destroyed previous steam locomotives.
Colchani, Bloques de Sal (3653m, 20.301 S, 66.938 W) – a village seven kilometers north of Uyuni that survives off on the process of salt. Salt souvenirs are on the market, a salt repository that has carvings of animals created with salt (they cause you to pay the fee upon exit), some samples of articles of furniture, and home-building techniques victimization salt. bogs are available for 1B.
Salt-Mining space (3653 m, 20.321 S, 66.994 W) – a locality wherever salt is mammary gland from the plane into piles consideration a lot each and left to dry within the sun before transport to an industrial plant than to your table.
Salt Hotels (3653 m, 20.331 S, 67.047 W) – many hotels are created fully out of salt. it’s necessary to buy candy to travel inside.
Isla de Los Pescados or Isla Incahuasi (3653 m, 20.243 S, 67.625 W) – The name originates from the fish-like look of the island’s reflection in the wet season. there’s a fee of BOB30 to go to this island of fossilized coral coated in 1000-year-old cacti in the middle of the Salar. These cacti (the highest of them being 9-10 m) grow at a rate of 1cm per year, therefore you’ll be {able to} simply calculate their age. you will see a gnawer or 2 here, also. Most tour teams eat lunch on the western “shore” of this island. bogs are on the market for BOB1.
Accommodations are often found in the city (3660m, 20.983 S, 67.767 W), though for a true treat try and get the agency to use accommodation nearer to the Salar: you’ll then be able to rise before dawn and reach the flats by 4×4 to see the foremost spectacular sunrise of your life. A lot of basic “salt hotels” might have showers for 10B. and a camera recharge station.

Second Day – heading south past vibrant lakes to lake Colorada
Lake Hedionda (4186m, 21.568 S, 68.05 W) – a lagoon jam-packed with flamingos and a well-liked spot for lunch. bogs are on the market for BOB1. usually, you’ll have lunch at the outside picnic shelters here.
Viscacha Area – a brief stop at a rocky rock reveals a colony of Viscachas. The tour guides feed them carrots to coach them to come back out for food.
Arbol First State Piedra (4412m) – a stone tree that has been incised out of the howling, sandy winds.
Lake Colorada (4278m, 22.2 S, 67.8 W) – a lake colored red by the protoctist that boarded it. conjointly you’ll see immeasurable flamingos. A 30Bs (Bolivian citizen) or 150Bs (foreigner) fee to enter the Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa is needed to travel any further.
Accommodation – lake Colorada space has many basic accommodations in adobe shacks while not heating. Beds and blankets are provided. there’s electricity for a few hours, however, usually, no station to recharge batteries. the surface temperature is often below -20°C at the hours of darkness in July. you will be able to speak the host into firing up the heater for the warm water (15B pp) but the showers are situated outside the lodge and need stalking through the icy night.

Third Morning – Geysers associated Hot Springs all the way down to lake Verde and Back

It’ll begin at an ungodly hour (5 am) to go to a number of the following:

Star de Manaña geyser basin (4850m) – a group of effervescent sulfur pools and a geyser, usually visited even as the sun is rising. There aren’t any railings here, the bottom is often slippery and cave-in, and which water appearance hot.
Termas First State Polques hot springs (4400m, 22.536 S, 67.649 W) – adjacent to Salar de Chalviri – bring one thing to swim in if you would like to get pleasure from the new springs. a well-liked spot for Breakfast. Primitive bogs are on the market for 6B.
Lake Verde (4400m, 22.795 S, 67.84 W) – (coloured inexperienced by Arsenic, Lead, Copper and alternative significant metals) with an ideal reflection of Volcán Lincacabur (5960m). Note that fairly often you won’t truly see the inexperienced of this laguna… The green color solely seems once it’s is windy, which is usually not the case in the early morning when tours visit the laguna.
Next aim to be a protracted rebuff to Uyuni, otherwise, you also can branch off here to San Pedro First State Atacama. If going to San Pedro the bus usually leaves around 9.30 am. Bolivian immigration workplace on the market at the border, charging Bs15 for the service, however, this charge is probably going unofficial or a scam, so if you stand your ground or demand a receipt you may not need to pay.

Lake Blanca – A white lake crammed with Borax.

Third Afternoon – Eastward toward Tupiza

If you decide on the four-day tour to Tupiza, then you’ll burst off the overwhelmed track, and visit some tiny communities. you’ll see the previous and a few of the following:

Lake Celeste – A clear-blue lake coloured by Mg and manganese.
Lake Amarilla – A yellow sulphur lake, some previous cave paintings nearby.
Viscacha Area – Associate in Nursing|AN|associate First Stategree|associate abandoned 16th-century mining city wherever prospectors used slave labor. looking at who you discuss with the town was abandoned as a result of either, there was a slave rebellion or, men began to go blind/missing. Regardless a shot within the 70s to repopulate the town was unsuccessful and other people currently board a town of an equivalent name that’s handy however not unmarked by the ominous Volcano Uturuncu (6020m).

Third Afternoon – Northward Toward Uyuni

The road back to Uyuni is incredibly bumpy. it always takes 7h from the lake Verde. You will stop in varied small communities on the way.

Valles de Rocas – several strange valleys of rocks taking drugs out of the altiplano. The guide can illustrate patterns within the rocks that agree with acquainted objects.
Accommodation – Tours reside in various small cities on the way to their final destination. Heating and showers are dependent upon wherever the motive force decides to stop. the tiny city of Alota is a comparatively popular tour.

Fourth Day – ending in Tupiza
The tour are going to be a protracted ride through the attractive landscape. The last attraction before arriving in Tupiza is:

Sillar (21.44 S, 65.8 W) – are large columns of clay shaped by erosion.

Fourth Day – ending in Uyuni
San Cristóbal (21.095 S, 67.21 W) – is a city with a 350-year-old church containing a silver altar.
Train burial ground (20.479 S, 66.834 W) – a group of the many previous trains 3km southwest of Uyuni.

Read more:


Salt Uyuni Panoramic view of the Salar (
Esmeralda Tours Tour Operator Uyuni Bolivia

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