There are few places in the world that lend to such a sensation of awe as the Uyuni Salt Flats. This natural wonder, caused by the evaporation of an ancient inland sea has a way of stretching the imagination of all visitors. The result of the sea’s evaporation was miles and miles of perfectly settled salt which lays so flat that visitors can actually see the natural curvature of the earth. In the middle of the Uyuni Salt Flats sits a coral lake covered in tall cactus of hundreds of years of age. The area is like nowhere else in the world, and really could appear in movies as the landscape from a foreign planet. On the edge of this beautiful place sits one of the most bland, non-descript town in the entire world: Uyuni, Bolivia.
Things to do in Uyuni
- Train Cemetery: Some of the tour companies that do salt flat tours make stops at a place called the train cemetery. This is a place where dozens of old train cars have been left to rust away in the dry air. My advice, however, is to not visit during the day but come here to watch the sunset. The light of the sunset will make the colours of the rusting trains and the graffiti pop in your pictures. Getting there is just a short 1o minute walk down the train tracks.
- Uyuni Salt Flats: The one and only reason people come to Uyuni is to visit the salt flats. Organizing a tour is fairly easy if you are planning a day trip. If you are hoping to do a 3 or 4 day trip to either San Pedro, Chile or Tupiza, Bolivia you might want to book this in advance or risk having to wait in town for a space to open up. If you want to book ahead try looking up the tour agency called Tonito Tours.
Where to eat in Uyuni
The one thing I miss about Uyuni the most, I’ve been 7 times, is the pizza at the Tonito Hotel restaurant. Minuteman Pizza, run by Boston native Chris, makes the best pizzas in all of South America, and they are dirt cheap. This is the most popular place in town to eat so you need to book a reservation. If you’re looking for a bit of a wild night on the town the only place to go is the Extreme Bar which has some crazy drinks and some alcoholic challenges.
Where to sleep in Uyuni
Why stray too far from the pizza, right? Tonito Hotel has very comfortable rooms with hot showers for about 20US$ for a private room. The breakfast served in the restaurant is fantastic and very cheap as well. If you’re looking for a cheaper stay try the HI Hostel in town which has dorms for about 7US$ and privates for about 9US$ a person.
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