Uyuni Salt Flat - The world's biggest natural mirror

Vanesa Zegada | Live the World

November 23, 2022

If we talk about the most impressive natural wonders on earth, then the Uyuni Salt Flat, located in Bolivia, is definitely on the list. Let’s find out why this enormous Salt Flat, covering an area of 10.852 square km and visible even from space, is so unique and special.

© iStock/diegograndi

The formation of the Salt Flat

Thousands of years ago, Uyuni Salt Flat, used to be a salty lake. It got dried little by little, due to geological and atmospheric phenomena. With the water gone, only the salt has remained on the surface, giving birth to a desert landscape with a flat and bright white surface.

© iStock/yuriz

A photogenic place, with colors that need no filters

First of all, let’s be clear on something, there are two states of the Uyuni Salt Flat- dry or wet, depending on the season.

When it is dry, it is a perfect place to make fun and impressive pictures using perspective due to its bright color and its size. 

© iStock/DmitriyBurlakov

On the other hand, when it is wet, which means that it has a thin layer of water on the surface, it looks like an immense mirror reflecting the sky. This phenomenon occurs mainly during the rainy season (from November to April). Only the fortunate ones can observe it during the dry season- in case of an eventual rain.

© iStock/Delpixart

Some additional attractions in the Uyuni Salt Flat

Since the Uyuni Salt Flat was a huge lake, it used to have some islands. Incahuasi and Isla de Pescado are two of them and can be visited. Even though, sometimes during the rainy season, it is not possible to reach them, especially if the water layer gets too thick.

© ZoomalMapa/vanesa

Finally, since there is so much salt in the area, many constructions are made out of it. In fact, it is possible to stay in a hotel fully made of salt; and when I say fully, I mean from the walls to the furniture and decoration- but don’t worry, pillows and sheets are not made of it.

The sky in Uyuni

The dry and clean atmosphere in this region creates the effect of very intense and bright colors in the sky during the day and at sunset. At night, these characteristics added to the absence of light on the surroundings, make this region one of the optimal ones in the world for stargazing. Indeed, one of the world’s most important observatories is not far from the Uyuni Salt Flat. Now, imagine a sky with these attributes reflected on the biggest natural mirror on earth: a salt flat covered by a thin layer of water, revealing an immense white plain. Keep in mind that if you are not able to visit it during the rainy season- when the layer is most likely to be formed- you might not see the natural mirror! Anyhow, the Salt Flat is still an excellent place to observe the stars, as well as to enjoy the beautiful white coat left on this territory by the salt.

© iStock/YoriHirokawa

Through this lucky and complicated combination of factors, nature has gifted us with a magic and unique place. The Uyuni Salt Flat is a natural spectacle worth seeing at least once in a lifetime.

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