The Salt Flats of Bolivia
Un lugar raro
In the southern tip of Bolivia, there exists a weird place called the Salar de Uyuni. It’s weirdness is seen every aspect of its existence.
There were some obvious things that made it unusual, for instance, the fact that it was the largest salt flat in the world and the highest in the world. However, if you look a little deeper there was something else that was weird about this place that I think is kind of interesting.
The salt flats are located in the southern tip of Bolivia and they kind of run into a bit of Chile and Argentina. The route to get to there is just this side of convenient (several hours in a bus followed by about 28 hours in a Toyota Land Cruiser) . And yet, just like a lot of the places that I’ve traveled to in South America, some of the most remote areas had well-beaten paths to get to them. This is because of how well-known they were in the cultural zeitgeist of travelers of this generation. Now, there are likely countless reasons why this happens in the traveler community, however, the one that interests me the most is this almost infectious way that information about these places spread throughout what is a very diverse and large population. Even further, how the wave of popularity of certain remote areas affects the local population and the local economy. So, back to my main point, the salt flats are weird.
There are flamingos that live in three different stranded lakes all three of which are of different colors.
There is an ancient island that was inhabited by people of the Incan Empire covered in 1000-year-old cacti.
Weirdest to me, at any given moment in the High season there is a collection of people from all over the world that decided it would be a good idea to come check this place out. Now, this is something that you’ll see if you go to any major tourist attraction all over the world, from Machu Picchu to the Great Wall of China. The cool thing about the salt flats of Bolivia is that it appears to be at a moment in time where it hasn’t reached peak popularity and it may never reach the popularity of the other huge tourist attractions of the world. Now I wonder, given the current growing trend of contrarian-natured youth, how long before the salt flats of Bolivia become the coolest uncool place to be.