Amazing Salt Flats

I am going to go out on a limb and say the salt flats in Bolivia are among the top natural scenery I have seen so far in the world. I am going to be short on words and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Salt Flats

The salt flats dry into these hexagon shapes because of their chemical composition.  The white is blinding and stretches for miles.  This helps create optical illusions.

But it wasn´t all fun and games!  We also saw a train graveyard:
Salt being gathered for processing.  You don´t have to dig very far under the salt flats to find water, so the processing removes all of the moisture.
We stopped at an island that used to be underwater millions of years ago.  Now the island is riddled with fossilized corral and giant cacti.

Beautiful sunset

Salt Hotel — everything but the toilet and sink were made of a salt

The area is surrounded by a dozen or so dormant volcanoes (and one semi-active, more on that later.)  When the dormant volcanoes were active, they spewed giant rocks all over the place, creating strange formations and each group completely different from the last.

This is NOT moss… it is hard organism

We also saw different lagoons, the most interesting being one that turns red when the sunlight hits it because of micro-organisms that react to the sunlight by changing color.  There are also three different types of flamingos living in this cold climate!  (I thought they were only tropical birds)  They like to eat the different micro-organisms that live in the lagoons.


Red lagoon

Flamingos

And flamingos weren´t the only animals living out there in the bitter cold.

Llama

 We walked through the crater of a semi-active volcano… which means steam and bubbling pools of mud (no lava or magma)… followed by a dip in a hot spring pool, which was a warm relief after the frigid air.

Semi-active volcano

Warming up in the hot spring

Lastly, I would like to give a special shout-out to our guide, Oscar, from Red Planet Expeditions.  He was by far the most enthusiastic guide I had in Bolivia.  He was always upbeat, kept things moving, was super friendly and really interested in people and the world.

Oscar and me

 


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