Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Travel Photo of the Day: Incahuasi Island on the Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

This photo was taken in October 2006 on a trip to the vast salt flats of Uyuni, Bolivia, from the top of a cactus island known as Incahuasi Island. In Spanish, the flats are known as Salar de Uyuni, and stretch for 4,086 square miles or 10,582 square kilometers, making them the world's largest. The flats are quite high, at an almost 12,000 foot elevation and were formed from the residue of ancient lakes. The salt lies in a hard crust about 3 feet or 1 meter thick over a huge pool of lithium-rich brine. Aside from the blinding white beauty of the snow-like salt cover, the area is home to such diverse wildlife as wild foxes known as culpeos, pink flamingos, Andean geese, and the Bolivian vizcacha, a rodent that is sort of a cross between a rabbit and a chinchilla. The area is also rich with smoking volcanoes, inverted wind-shaped alien-looking rock formations, steaming thermal baths and multi-colored lakes. In the distance of the photo, you can see a lone 4x4 jeep motoring across the flats, the only practical form of transportation for this remote area.      

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