Salar de Uyuni (map) is the largest salt flat in the world and one of the most amazing natural attractions of Bolivia.
The flats cover an area of over 10,000 km² and to see the best parts, you’ll need to cover quite some ground. While it’s possible to explore this unique piece of land on your own, most visitors opt for organized tours along some of the best sights.
Thanks to the sedimented salt, the area is perfectly flat – which is often used for various technical purposes (testing of vehicles and the like). In the middle is Isla del Pescado (map) – a volcanic rock. It provides great views and is a natural reservation.
There isn’t much flora, mostly just grass and bush. The Isla del Pescado is covered by an ancient cacti forest – cacti like Echinopsis atacamensis pasacana and Echinopsis tarijensis, which grew up to 12 meters high. The cacti grow at pace of 1cm per year, hence their age is up to 1000 years.
Very little rain happens in the area, but yearly flooding occurs, mostly in January. At that time the whole area changes to a world’s highest altitude mirror.
Every November, Salar de Uyuni is the breeding ground for three South American species of flamingo feeding on local brine shrimps.