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Salty Bolivian flat offers bizarre destination

By Catholic Online
July 29th, 2010
Catholic Online (

Salt, salt and more salt is what greets visitors to Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni. The area is 3,800 square miles of salt flat spread out across Bolivia's remote southwest. Described as an endless sheet of hexagonal tiles, created by the crystalline nature of the salt, Salar de Uyuni  is dotted with pyramids of salt.

LOS ANGEELS, CA (Catholic Online) -  The area is renowned for its desert dryness, freezing night temperatures and fierce desert sun. However, the landscape is not devoid of life as pink flamingos, ancient cacti and rare hummingbirds all live there.

During the rainy season, the desert is transformed into an enormous salt lake, albeit one that is only six to twenty inches deep and is easily travelled by both boat and truck. During this time, the shallow salt lake perfectly mirrors the sky, creating bizarre illusions of infinity.

In the middle of this endless collection of horizons is a hotel built entirely out of - naturally, salt.

Created from salt bricks held together with salt mortar, the hotel and everything inside it, including the chairs and tables, is made from salt. While the Hotel Playa Blanca has no electricity and little in the way of amenities, and its water must be trucked in, it does offer even more important and certainly rarer qualities . utter silence, an all-encompassing austere beauty, and an astonishing view of the night sky.

Other interesting tourist destinations in the area is the nearby Laguna Colorado and Laguna Verde. Laguna Colorado is a red-hued lake filled with thousands of pink flamingos, while Laguna Verde is a blue-green salt lake found at the foot of the volcano Licancabur. Its shifting aqua color is caused by copper sediments and microorganisms living within the lake.

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