In the Potosí and Oruro departments in Bolivia, there is a magical area where the ground reflects the sky, creating a mirror effect. People who travel here are sure to get an Instagram-worthy picture that will create the illusion that they have transcended gravity and are walking on clouds. The giant salt flat that allows people to experience walking in a cloud sandwich is known as Salar de Uyuni.
This salt desert in Bolivia spans over 4,000 miles and contains about ten billion tons of salt, according to Beautiful World. “Unlike traditional deserts, which have sand in abundance, the Salar de Uyuni features vast expanses of glistening white salt.”
Before Salar de Uyuni became a huge salt flat, however, it was a grand lake. Beautiful World explains, “Essentially, the Altiplano (high plateau) here had no drainage outlets, which meant that
water from the surrounding mountains once collated to form a giant lake.” Even though the lake has since dried up due to the intense sun in the region, the thick salt crust still thrives.
According to an Aymaran legend, the mountains named Tunupa and Kusku were previously giant people and were married. Kusku, however, left his wife for another woman-turned-mountain, Kusina. The legend states that Tunupa’s tears formed the salt flats.
The famous mirror effect can be observed only during the rainy season in Bolivia. “During the wet season, the salt desert is transformed into [an] enormous salt lake, albeit one that is only six to twenty inches deep, traversable by both boat and truck,” according to Atlas Obscura. The shallow lake mirrors the sky above, which provides the salt flat with its nickname of the World’s Largest Mirror.
Because rainy season in Bolivia is from March to April, these months would be the ideal time to plan your next vacation to Bolivia. Although it is recommended to visit between July and October for the best weather, if you want to experience what it is like to float in the clouds, a visit during the wet season would be most suitable.
Salar de Uyuni provides more than just the opportunity to defy gravity and walk among the clouds. It is also home to a hotel made entirely out of salt. “In the middle of this seemingly infinite salty lake is a hotel built entirely out of—naturally—salt. Created from salt bricks held together with salt mortar, the hotel and everything inside it, including the chairs and tables, is made from salt,” according to Atlas Obscura.
Salar de Uyuni should definitely be at the top of your vacation list. Because of its pure beauty and rare opportunity to walk in the clouds, Salar de Uyuni is a must-see.
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