August 2013
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Travel – Salar de uyuni salt plain – Bolivia – Part 1

Salar de Uyuni (or perhaps Salar de Tunupa) is the world’s biggest salt flat at 10,582 sq kilometers (4, 086 sq mi).

Overview of Salar de Uyuni

• It is situated in the Potosi and Oruro departments in southwest Bolivia, close to the crest of the Andes which is at an elevation of 3 ,656 meters (11,995 ft) above an average sea level.
• The Salar was created on account of transitions between many prehistoric lakes.
• It is protected by a few meters of salt crust that has an unprecedented flatness with the mean altitude distinctions within one meter over the whole section of the Salar.
• The crust functions as a way to obtain salt and deals with a pool of brine that is extremely rich in lithium.
• It consists of 50 to 70% of the world’s lithium reserves that is in the process of getting recovered.
• The large area, very clear skies, along with the extraordinary flatness of the surface help to make the Salar a perfect object for calibrating the altimeters of Planet surveillance satellites.
• The Salar may serve as the leading transport route across the Bolivian Altiplano which is a significant breeding ground for many species of pink coloured flamingos.
• Salar de Uyuni is a climatological transitional section because the towering tropical cumulus congest-us and cumulus incus clouds that develop in the east part of the salt flat all through the summer and are not able to permeate beyond the drier western edges, close to the Chilean border as well as the Atacama Desert.

Tour Background

• This information will outline the “standard” tour.
• The tour can be carried out in 4×4 vehicles (generally Toyota Land cruisers) with six or seven people, with the drivers quite often cooking.
• The majority of 3 and 4 day tours possess the identical itinerary for the very first 2 1/2 days , a full day on the salt plains and then going south to the southwest part of Bolivia after which splitting off the way happens.
• The particular sites which are seen might be impacted by the tour, but group input might explain which sites are frequented and the length of time that should be spent there.
• Accommodation is generally offered in basic refuges as well as the climate can be quite cold, however, it is really worth it for the awesome scenery.
• Avoid tours that provide a night in one of the salt hotel rooms – these are illegal.

Preparation of the Tour

What to Bring
• Flashlight (torch) – The lamps go out whenever the generator runs dry.
• Coins as well as small bills – The restrooms aren’t free.
• Sunglasses – The salt flats are blinding.
• Camera, extra battery and plenty of memory cards.
• Additional water – The tour generally offers an insufficient supply. An additional 2-liter bottle daily is best to have.
• Sunblock and hat – There is absolutely no atmosphere to prevent this sun’s rays up here.
• Sleeping bag – It is possible to rent one with the tour. Down is the most suitable, and be certain that the zipper works.
• Warm clothes – Layered is the most suitable.
• Hot water bottle – The nights are very cold and you will likely be very pleased to have it.
• Flip-flops – The restroom amenities are shared.
• Extra snacks, particularly fruit and protein – The food is sufficient in quantity however is usually heavy on starches.

Best time to visit/climate

• The region features a comparatively stable mean temperature with an optimum at 21 °C in November to January and a minimum of 13 °C in June.
• The nights are cold throughout the year, with temperature ranges between -9 and 5 °C.
• The relative humidity is quite low and consistent all through the year at 30 to 45%.
• The rainfall is furthermore low at 1 to 3 millimeters monthly between April and November; however it might improve up to 70 millimeters in January.
• But, with the exception of January, even during the rainy season the number of rainy days is less than five monthly.

Location on Google Maps

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How to get there?

1. By flight
• Airline travel is the obvious approach to get to Bolivia; the primary airports are situated in La Paz to the western part of the country as well as in Santa Cruz to the east.
• The arrival strategy has to be designed in the purpose of the travel to the country.
• You must remember that La Paz gets the majority of their visitors because of the immense culture and heritage from the Incas as well as other native cultures from the Andean area.
• From La Paz it will be simpler to move to:
– Tiwanaku ruins
– Oruro’s carnival
– Potosí’s mines
– Uyuni
– Lake Titicaca
– Los Yungas valley
– Andes Mountains
• This is because La Paz has the hold of:
– Government
– All of the embassies
– Foreign establishments possess their head office in the city
• These can be useful in the event of an emergency.
• On the other side, Santa Cruz with a warm climate can turn out to be a good area for doing business visit additional alternatives in tourism. These are like the:
– Missions
– Noel Kempff Mercado national park
– Eastern cities
• In addition, there are some foreign consulates in Santa Cruz.
• However, do not forget that the metropolitan areas in the south and central Bolivia also provide an extremely rich experience.
• The cities are such as:
– Cochabamba
– Tarija
– Sucre
• There are many methods to get to these cities from La Paz or Santa Cruz.

2. From Europe
• Following on from Aerosur’s loss of life in September 2012, the perfect options from Europe to Bolivia now are with Air Europa or Boliviana de Aviacion from Madrid to Santa Cruz.
• Additional connections can be achieved in neighboring nations like Brazil or Peru, or in the U.S.
• The price might go from 1000-1200€ to other greater prices based on the class and duration.

3. From Latin America
• Airlines that take a flight into Bolivia from other Latin American countries consist of:
– LAN from Santiago via Iquique
– From Lima to La Paz
– From TACA Perú to La Paz
– From Lima to La Paz

4. From USA
• You will find departures from Miami to La Paz and also Santa Cruz on American Airlines.
• Connectivity is also possible on Latin American airlines like:
– Copa
– Avianca
As soon as you have the international trip booked, it’s much simpler and cheaper to arrange the internal flights from the place of departure.

5. By Train
• There are numerous train lines in Bolivia, each one with different degrees of quality and performance.
• Nevertheless, sufficient transportation via train can be obtained.
• The FCA schedule can be obtained at their website.
• Keep an eye on the belongings.

6. By car
• It is usual for visitors to travel by means of a land border at the north-east of Chile/ South-West of Bolivia.
• Remember that approximately 5% of most of the roads in Bolivia are smooth.
• Nevertheless, the majority of primary routes between cities are paved. The cities are like:
– Aka big cities
– Santa Cruz
– La Paz
– Cochabamba
– Sucre
• 4×4 is especially needed when off the flatter altiplano.
• Remember that in mountainous areas of traffic occasionally switches edges of the road.
• That is to make sure the driver has a much better view of the harmful drops.
• An international driver’s license is needed but on most occasions EU or US drivers licenses will likely be accepted.
• You will find frequent police controls on the highway and tolls to be paid for road use.

7. By Bus
• There are numerous options for touring from Argentina to Bolivia by bus.
• Take a look at the Bolivian Embassy’s website in Argentina for particular options.
• In addition there is a bus that operates from Juliaca and Puno in Peru to Copacabana.

8. By Boat
• It will be common for visitors to get to Bolivia by boat, by navigating from the port city of Puno, Peru, over Lake Titicaca.

Some Travel Books on Bolivia

Lonely Planet Bolivia For 91 Days in Bolivia Bolivia in Focus

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

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