Home South America Bolivia Let’s be Salty…..With World’s Salt Desert…!

Let’s be Salty…..With World’s Salt Desert…!

Bolivia is proud of having the world’s largest salt field- Salar de Uyuni which is 3,656 meters above the level of the sea. Moreover, this Salar de Uyuni salt field covers the plateau of Andes up to 10,500 square kilometers. It is one of the most renowned tourist centers in Bolivia as well. Tourists around the world come to visit this broad white ground of Salt here.

In the center of the white broad salty ground, there are volcanic rocks that seem to be like small islands or sometimes black polka dots or stains on a pure white piece of paper. The most famous about these volcanic islands are “Inca’s house” or “Incahuasi” of Quechua. Quechua is a highland tribe of Bolivia along the Andes plateau were these tribes of “Incahuasi” lives and the language they use to speak is Quechua which contains Spanish words. The people of the Inca civilization temporarily take refuge here on this volcanic rock highland when they used to cross this salt field.

Amazing structures of coral and fossils of seashells are seen around these rocks up to the length of 40 meters high. These are the last remnants of a prehistoric lake- Minchin Lake which got dried 20 to 40 thousand years ago. Thousands of Cactus i.e. Trichocereus pasacana grow here on this volcanic rock highland which slowly moves towards the sky on this “Incahuasi” refugee land. These beautiful plants grow only one or two centimeters a year and their height can be up to 10 meters and life can be up to 300 years.

Witness the Charm of Horizon

These salt fields are almost completely flat and there is no difference from one place to another, other than 1 meter only. When the rain comes or water flows from the nearby lake, this area turns into a huge lake, and then one can witness the charm of the horizon easily. For this reason, the best time to visit Salar de Uyuni is just after the rainy season i.e. between December to March or April. During this time, a thin layer of water above the salt field turns it into a huge mirror, in which clouds are seen moving generally.

Colorful World to Amaze You

Uyuni Salt Flat, Bolivia
Uyuni Salt Flat, Bolivia (Image Source: unsplash.com)

According to the experts of Bolivia’s National Service of Protected Areas (SERNAP), the subterranean forces have shaped Salar de Uyuni which influenced amazingly southwestern Bolivia. One can even take the thrill of Eduardo Avaroa National Andean Wildlife Reserve which is less than 300 kilometers from the South of Salar de Uyuni. Simultaneously, many geothermal features can be easily seen here i.e. the spring of Sol de Manana Geyser Basin and it is proud to be one of the most diverse land areas of Bolivia in South America. The hot spring- Sol de Manana is like a geyser. Sludge-filled pits always raise bubbles and steam with boiling mud from which sulfur gas comes out.

As soon as dawn approaches, convoys of vehicles with a good number of tourists, come to see the natural springs of hot water here. By the way, the morning here is very chilling. So, just chill out in hot water…. heeheeeehee! Just kidding. There is a huge difference in the temperature of air and gases released from inside the Earth and this geothermal activity is most visible in the morning only. Even the explosion of hot gases can go up to 100 meters high.

Blood or Water…? You Decide

Just a distance of 45 kilometers from Sol de Manana, Laguna Colorado comes which is a Red Lake and is situated at an altitude of 4,300 meters approximately, inside the Wildlife Sanctuary. This Red lake of salt has a depth of just more than half meters but less than a meter and it is known only for its red-colored water.

The color of this lake is due to rich in minerals as many underground hot springs erupt underneath the Earth which too keeps raising the temperature of this lake which actually helps Red Dunaliella salina algae grow at this temperature. The red pigment of this algae, along with the sedimentation of zooplankton (fauna) and phytoplankton (plant residue), gives the bay water a red color when combined together. Glory is to the God Almighty who is the Best Creator.

Flamingos on Cloud 9

flamingoes, Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
Flamingoes, Laguna Colorada, Bolivia (Image Source: unsplash.com)

The Laguna Colorado Lake is a suitable- the most nesting ground for flamingoes because there is a huge amount of plankton (residue) found in its water. Moreover, hunters to stay away from its rocky and mud-soaked shores which seem to be a swamp. Three of the six species of flamingo i.e. Chili, James, and the Andes can be found in this lake very easily. In fact, in the year of 1957, James Flamingoes were re-discovered here and it was believed that they had become extinct since a decade ago.

Alluring Multicolor Scenario

What makes Laguna Colorado more beautiful and the most special is the balance of its diverse colors and its natural elements. Green-Yellow moss along with piles of white borax and its Red pigment of algae creates a multicolored scene altogether.

But hold on, there is another phase of this utopia waiting for this charm to get destroyed. Yes…! Unfortunately this multicolored environmental scenario may change soon. In the year of 2019, the Ministry of Economy and Public Finance of Bolivia approved a project to build a geothermal plant just 40 kilometers from Laguna Colorado. Eliana Flores Bedregal, a famous Ornithologist and conservationist who is no more, strongly opposed to this project in the starting. She said that the drainage of underground hot water would disturb the balance of groundwater layers here. In 2012, she wrote in the Bolivian newspaper “La Rezon”, “Continuing the construction of the geothermal project represents the extinction of James Flamingoes and the destruction of the fragile ecosystem here.”

Lakes of Minerals to Mesmerize You

Lake, Altiplano, Bolivia
(Image Source: unsplash.com)

Laguna Colorado is not the only colorful lake here as Eduardo Avaroa even holds Laguna Blanca (White Lagoon) and Laguna Verde (Green lagoon) at the Southern West corner of the National Andean Wildlife Reserve. Both are just at a distance of a few meters from each other. Due to a large amount of arsenic and copper present in the Lake, the color of the Laguna Verde is mint and the milky color of Laguna Blanca is due to the borax found beneath the Lake.

A famous tour guide here, Mauro Berna said that sometimes due to the automatic Geological movement here, one won’t be able to see the true colors of the Lagoon. However, the other natural principles too, get applied here to let the Lake watercolor get change which partially depends on the temperature, time of the day, and the air.

Most probably it is due to the chilled morning temperature or perhaps the borax particles flowing below the surface of the Lake but being here at that at the time to witness this perplexing scenario, it seems like roaming on a deserted planet. That’s all…..? Well, decide yourself, and let’s see what you discover to make people feel thrilled. Bolivia waiting…….!

Source: BBC Travel

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