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Awash In Salt: Photos From Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

by Andrea on June 2, 2011

With so many photos of Bolivia’s famous Salar de Uyuni floating around, we thought it would be impossible for it to surprise us. At an elevation of 3653 metres, the largest salt flat in the world (12,106 square kilometres) was formed when the prehistoric Lago Minchin evaporated. Today it is visited by tourists and also provides salt for the Bolivians, though we are told they still import sea salt from countries like Chile.

salt mounds drying uyuni Awash In Salt: Photos From Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

Salt dries in mounds on the flat before it is processed.

Unfortunately we only had one day to explore the salt pan. When filmmakers want to depict ‘heaven’ as an endless expanse of otherworldly white clouds and surfaces, this could easily be their set. We sat in silence as we drove along, staring out the windows and contemplating the vastness of this unique place.

I’ll let our photos tell the story for words cannot describe such a location

hexagons uyuni Awash In Salt: Photos From Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

Locals call these formations ‘The Hexagons.’

salar de uyuni vehicle Awash In Salt: Photos From Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

uyuni glistens Awash In Salt: Photos From Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

Parts of the flat are wet, others drier…

uyuni cave Awash In Salt: Photos From Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

Deep “caves” have formed on parts of the surface.

salt crystals uyuni Awash In Salt: Photos From Salar de Uyuni in Boliviavast uyuni Awash In Salt: Photos From Salar de Uyuni in Boliviawalking on water uyuni Awash In Salt: Photos From Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

cactus island salar de uyuni Awash In Salt: Photos From Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

We visited this bizarre natural island covered in giant cactus…

salt tables uyuni Awash In Salt: Photos From Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

…and ate lunch on tables formed out of salt.

uyuni gymnastics Awash In Salt: Photos From Salar de Uyuni in Boliviauyuni reflecting pool Awash In Salt: Photos From Salar de Uyuni in Boliviasalar de uyuni sunset1 Awash In Salt: Photos From Salar de Uyuni in Boliviasalar de uyuni sunset3 Awash In Salt: Photos From Salar de Uyuni in Boliviasalar de uyuni sunset4 Awash In Salt: Photos From Salar de Uyuni in BoliviaSo, what do you think of Bolivia’s most popular attraction?

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{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy Sweeney June 3, 2011 at 5:39 am

I’ve been craving to see the Bolivian salt flats ever since I first heard of them about a year ago. And your photos are totally different than ones I’ve seen before — only makes me want to see them even more.

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Andrea and John June 3, 2011 at 11:00 am

Thanks so much, Cathy! You should go =)

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Anonymous June 3, 2011 at 4:28 am

Wow.  I was looking forward to these, and they were worth the wait!  I can’t wait to see these in person, some day!  Amazing!

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Andrea and John June 3, 2011 at 5:19 am

Thanks so much! =) You guys must go…and there’s a really good pizza place in Uyuni town…American style…best we’ve had in South America =)

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Amanda Williams June 3, 2011 at 5:17 am

Holy cow. Amazing! I never tire of seeing photos from this place. I would LOVE to go there someday.

My favorite photo is third from last — simply stunning!

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Andrea and John June 3, 2011 at 10:59 am

Thanks so much, Amanda! =)

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Jamie Davy June 3, 2011 at 5:41 am

youre right, there are a lot of photos. but for good reason, its bloody amazing!
love the second one, it almost looks like its taken with a tilt shift.
the sunset ones are great as well.

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Andrea and John June 3, 2011 at 11:00 am

Thanks so much, Jamie =)

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Jade June 3, 2011 at 6:18 am

Stunning… the one photo of the car- it almost looks like a mirror reflecting the image! Unreal and gorgeous.

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Andrea and John June 3, 2011 at 11:02 am

I couldn’t believe that one when I was reviewing! Looked like a fake backdrop. Thanks so much, Jade =)

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yTravelBlog June 3, 2011 at 11:57 am

Stunning photos. I really want to go here. I’ve heard so much about it this past year. So jealous

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Thanks so much =) Definitely put it on your list!

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Marina K. Villatoro June 3, 2011 at 1:51 pm

This place blew my mind when I visited it. It’s surreal and the cactus island is such a mystery on how it exists!

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:01 pm

So surreal! Cactus island was so much fun but a mystery indeed =)

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Sherry June 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Wow! What an awesome photo collection to inspire me to go there, too. The photos are gorgeous and the place looks almost surreal.  I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like for the two of you to be there in person.

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:01 pm

It’s just crazy how white it is – you just feel like you’re driving forever to nowhere…

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Kelsey Freeman June 3, 2011 at 4:41 pm

I’ve been wanting to go there for years!

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:02 pm

You definitely should…a great place for photography =)

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Christy @ Ordinary Traveler June 3, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Great shots! I’ve also wondered myself if I’ll be bored of the photos I take here since there are SO many floating around on the net. I guess it’s completely different when you see it in person.

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Thanks so much, Christy =) I tried not to look at too many on the ‘net so I wouldn’t be influenced…it’s fun to just get out there and see it, never mind the pics!

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Emily June 3, 2011 at 9:50 pm

I can see how this would be the kind of place where you’re still blown away even after all the photos. I hope to be blown away in person someday not too far in the future!

And your photos are really gorgeous.

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Thanks so much, Emily! You guys should definitely try to get to Bolivia…so beautiful and heaps to do there =)

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Faith June 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Wow, this is just so beautiful. The picture of him standing next to the car looks so surreal! 

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Thanks so much, Faith =) That photo looks bizarre to me as well…

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Krista June 3, 2011 at 10:02 pm

WOW!! Your photos are absolutely stunning!! It feels peaceful just looking at them, I can only imagine how it must’ve been gazing out over the flats.

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:05 pm

You just can’t believe it when you’re there…thanks so much, Krista =)

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A Kiwi in Chile June 4, 2011 at 12:39 am

Incredible photos that make me want to go there. That’s right, I haven’t been there…. YET!

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Thanks so much – you’ll love it…just GO =)

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Dina VagabondQuest June 4, 2011 at 2:33 am

Mmm…. my dream destination…. You guys are such great photographers :)

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Thanks so much, Dina! It’s so much fun to play out there – you and Ryan will LOVE it =)

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Angela June 4, 2011 at 2:40 am

Gorgeous shots, wow, planet earth is truly full of beautiful places.

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Thanks so much, Angela – it certainly is! Love seeing places like this =)

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Normand Boulanger June 4, 2011 at 3:13 am

Great pictures, very very beautiful shots, can’t wait to get there.

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Thanks so much, Normand…highly recommend it! =)

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Lenche June 4, 2011 at 8:12 am

Wow. Absolutely amazing, otherworldly describes it well..

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:11 pm

You would love it, Lenche =) Wish we had time to stay there more days…

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Robin June 4, 2011 at 8:52 am

Those shots are absolutely gorgeous – what a place!

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Thanks so much, Robin! =)

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Abi June 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm

These are the most beautiful photos I have seen for a long time. I missed Bolivia when I was travelling through South America – and now I really wish I hadn’t! Lovely work – thank you.

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Thank you SO much, Abi – what a compliment! If you ever get back to SA, don’t miss Bolivia again. It’s still so unspoilt and the people are fantastic =)

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Abby June 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Yay! I’ve finally made it over and subscribed to your site — and just in time for this. WOW. Like you said, there are so many photos around, but yours are ridiculously spectacular. You almost need sunglasses to look at them! They are so, so very beautiful. Glad you guys had fun!

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Wow, thanks so much, Abby! Really appreciate the compliment – it was just so much fun to be out there; the photos took themselves! =)

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Tijmen June 5, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Awesome photo collection! Must be such an amazing destination to visit with the endless white and reflective surface.

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm

It truly is! Never seen anything like it before…wish we had more days there. Thanks =)

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Megan June 6, 2011 at 11:38 am

These are incredible!

I guess with the salt being super concentrated it must hurt if you get some on your hands and then in your eye?? I can totally imagine myself doing that. 

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Andrea and John June 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm

We didn’t rub our eyes, haha, so not sure! We did taste the salt, though. Everything just looks so clean out there =)

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Matt Hope June 7, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Wow, the cube in hand picture is freaking cool.  Gotta love nature.  Awesome photos and post.

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Andrea and John June 8, 2011 at 12:24 am

Thanks so much, Matt! Nature is indeed fantastic =)

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Red Nomad Oz June 8, 2011 at 10:06 am

Wow!  How surreal – makes the saltworks I’ve visited downunder here in Australia look like … well … a pinch of salt!  Great photos – love the handstand one!!

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Andrea and John June 8, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Thanks so much! I’m not usually much of a gymnast but got inspired out there =)
~Andrea

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Randy Kalp June 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Wonderful shots! This place looks very cool. I have never see anything like this before.

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Andrea and John June 9, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Oh you MUST go! It’s amazing…I don’t get wow’ed very often but this place had me breathless with excitement!

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Wendy Waters June 10, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Fantastic photos.  I’ve been their twice (1993 and 2003), both incredible experiences. 

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Andrea and John June 11, 2011 at 4:56 am

Thanks so much, Wendy! Did you do the multi-day tour? Wish we had time for that – I’d love to return =)

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Erin in Costa Rica June 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Love the photo of the piece of salt on your hand. It helps me to imagine what it looks like in real life on a larger scale…not sure if that makes sense. Let’s just say it makes this photo essay that much more magical :)
The photo of the car is cool, too – the reflection and background are so perfect it looks photoshopped!

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Andrea and John June 15, 2011 at 11:40 pm

It DOES look Photoshopped, I know, haha…but it isn’t. Salar de Uyuni was one of our favourite places to take pictures!

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Claire June 16, 2011 at 1:33 pm

These pictures are phenomenal-I just heard of this place last year after another blogger visited and wrote about it. Now two posts on the topic and I am thinking…..how close is Nicaragua to Bolivia?! Is this doable in a weekend?!! haha. Thanks for sharing. 

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Andrea and John June 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Thanks so much, Claire! I would recommend doing the three day circuit – we only had time for a day trip but apparently there is much more to see. =)

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Andrea and John June 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Thanks so much, haha =)

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Andrea and John July 11, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Both North and South America are gorgeous! =)

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Pavithra April 29, 2012 at 6:56 am

Hi,

Amazing photographs! :-)
Could you please tell me in which month you visited the Salar? Thanks!

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inspiringtravellers April 29, 2012 at 8:20 am

Thanks so much, Pavithra – we visited in late May =)

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