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Salar de Uyuni

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Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni Bolivia altiplano

Salar de Uyuni and jeep, Bolivia

Peter and Jackie Main
The Salar de Uyuni in the southern altiplano of Bolivia is considered the world's largest salt pan. With a surface area of some 12,000 sq. km., the salar is an enormous, completely flat, blindingly white plain, baked dry by the sun.

It's a high altitude excursion 3,700 m (12,136 ft) requiring visitors to be already acclimatized to the altitude and in full realization of what they're getting into.

Tours of the salar can be as little as a half-day to a four day trek. Many of the tours begin from Uyuni, a little town on the edge of the salar. Your choices are:

  1. Uyuni circle
    This four day tour begins and ends in Uyuni. This is the cheapest and probably the most popular excursion.
  2. Topiza - Uyuni
    This four day tour starts in Topiza and ends in Uyuni. The advantage of this route is that you don't retrace your steps, however it is more expensive.
  3. Uyuni - San Pedro de Atacama
    This three day tour starts in Uyuni, crosses the border into Chile and ends in San Pedro de Atacama. The direction of the tour can be reversed, but the prices of this direction are much higher. The advantage of this tour is the fantastic sights along the southern edge of the salar and the altiplano. The disadvantage is the sometimes prickly Bolivia/Chile political situation which might make the border crossing difficult.

Orient yourself with this interactive map from Expedia and then view this large Satellite map. of Chile/Bolivia with the turquoise colored Salar de Uyuni.

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