As always a great chat to the one and only Jim Martin from Adventure Rider Radio riding motorcycles on the biggest salt lake in the world – Salar de Uyuni. After the initial 7 month lockdown we had to sit out in Sucre, Bolivia the first thing we had to do was head back to Salar de Uyuni to camp on the salt lake while it is dry.
We visited the place before the lockdown when it was wet but had to camp on it when it is dry. It was a magic few days camping and riding around the massive expanse of salt which covers over 10,000 square kilometers, and is a phenomenal sight to behold. We also talk about what it’s like to travel in South America, about the variety of cultures, diverse landscapes, how much there is to explore, and the ease of travel.
Some facts about Salar de Uyuni.
-The Uyuni Salt Flats are located on a high altitude Altiplano and the actual Uyuni altitude is 3656 meters above sea level.
-Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt plain in the world, it is 100 times bigger than the Bonneville salt flats in the USA. The Uyuni Salt Flats National Park in Bolivia measure 10582 square kilometers.
-The sheer massive size and the beautiful contrast in colour with its environment, the Salar de Uyuni comes is used by GPS and space agencies as it is perfectly flat and visible from outer space they use the area to calibrate satellite sensors.
-It is estimated that the flats are made up of over 10 billion tonnes of salt. Only a very small percentage of that gets extracted each year: around 25 thousand tonnes.
-The salt flat is pretty flat, over the entire area there’s a total altitude difference of less than 1 meter. Because it is so big and the variations so small you can’t see them with the naked eye.
– The salar was formed some 40,000+ years ago after a giant prehistoric lake called Lake Minchin dried up, it is said it was part of the ocean and the reason they found crustacean on some of the islands.
-There are roughly 35 islands on the salar, including the incredible Inca Huasi Island, which translates to “house of the Incas.”