Salar de Uyuni

Map of Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers. It is located in the Daniel Campos Province in Potosí,near the summit of the Andes and is at an elevation of 3,656 meters above sea level.

From Colchani, going to the salt flat of Uyuni. There is no road around here.

Four wheel drive cars are running on the Salt Flat.

Surface of the salt flat.

The Salar was formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. It is covered by a few meters of salt crust, which has an extraordinary flatness with the average elevation variations within one meter over the entire area of the Salar.

Piles of raw materials of salt

Extraction of raw materials of salt

Dakar Rally Monument and a restaurant on the Salt Flat of Uyuni. We are walking to the restaurant.

This was originally a salt hotel called Playa Blanca but now it is a restaurant.

The entrance and the interior of the restaurant. If you use the bathroom here you have to pay 5 U.S. dollars.

I spent for a while taking some photos around the restaurant.

And then taken the car, we are getting back to the hotel.

We took a rest for a while in the hotel and are going out again to looking at the sunst at dusk.

Left the hotel, we are going to see the setting sun. The mountains in the distance are mirages.

We are running to the best point to see the setting sun.

Arrived at the spot, other tourists are already on standby.

Sunset: Local time 18:42

Setting Sun: From 18:43 to 19:12

Scenery around here, about 19:10.

Well, it is time to get back to the hotel already, and have dinner, use a shower and go into the bed.

Because it is a high altitude here, I suffer from lack of oxygen and get tired. But this scenery is wonderful. It is good that I came to this country, Uyuni Bolivia. Buenas noches.



Colchani Bolivia

We arrived at the hotel in the Colchani village at dusk. The hotel is located near the Salar de Uyuni. It take 40 minutes (30 km).

Hotel Cristal Samaña Colchani Bolivia (The hotel is made of salt.)

I think this hotel is not really good hotel. They say it is a 4 stars hotel, but in fact it’s two and half stars. There is no fridge, kettle, tea and coffee set in the room.

The reception, lobby, corridor and my room of the hotel.

I had to stay at the hotel for three nights. If you come to here, you should stay at a hotel in the town of Uyuni.

The inside of the hotel.

The sunrise of the early morning, the view from the hotel.

We are going to the village of Colchani on the next morning. The road is not good.

From the hotel Cristal Samaña, getting into the town of Colchani.

Colchani is a village in the department of Potosí,  in the highlands of the South American Andean state of Bolivia. In 2009 it had an estimated population of 611.

Arrived at the town center of Colchani.

We visit a salt maker’s house first. Salt is piled up in the open air.

The village is located at an altitude of 3668m on the eastern bank of the Salar de Uyuni, and is a center of salt production at the salt lake.

Inside the salt-works. Purifying the raw material salt, packing it in a small bag and selling them.

Bought two small bags of salt here for my friend, and then I am going to the souvenir shops nearby.

A lot of souvenir shops are on the main street of Colchani.

A variety of colorful souvenirs.

A local female street vendor

Our hired jeep parking on the main street.

After souvenir shopping, we take the car again and are looking around the nurrow town of Colchani.

Train station, parish church and llama farm of the town of Colchani Bolivia.

And then we are heading to the Uyuni Salt Lake.

Llama and Uyuni Bolivia

Left the city of Potosí for the town of Uyuni Bolivia.

As this area is beyond the forest limit there are no normal trees.

A few of llamas appeared in front of us on the road. We took some phots here.

The llama is a domesticated South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since the Pre-Columbian era. The height of a full-grown, full-size llama is 1.7 to 1.8 m tall at the top of the head, and can weigh between 130 and 200 kg.

Llama Ranch on the Way to Uyuni

Llamas are very social animals and live with other llamas as a herd. The wool produced by a llama is very soft and lanolin-free. Llamas are intelligent and can learn simple tasks after a few repetitions. When using a pack, they can carry about 25 to 30% of their body weight for 8 to 13 km.

Llamas grazing freely in the fields.

From llama ranch going to Uyuni, the color of the rock is amazing.

Rock and soil color changes. A extremely little settlement is there, human can live even in such barren land.

Flowers and blossoms on the way to Uyuni.

Wonder sparse woods near the town of Uyuni.

We are going into the town of Uyuni.

Uyuni is a city in the southwest of Bolivia. There is little agriculture in the area because water supplies are scarce and somewhat saline. It serves as a gateway for tourists visiting the world’s largest salt flat, the Uyuni salt flat. Each year the town receives approximately 60,000 visitors from around the world.

Arrived at the town of Uyuni, and going into the town center. Lively main square of Uyuni.

Founded in 1890 as a trading post, the town has a population of 10,460. The town has an extensive street-market. It lies at the edge of an extensive plain at an elevation of 3,700 m above sea level,

The suburbs of the town of Uyuni.

We hire a Jeep (4 wheel drive car) here and head for a small village of Colchani, Salar de Uyuni. 

Leaving the town of Uyuni for the next destination.

Potosí Bolivia

Gate to Potosi Bolivia. We arrived at the edge of Potosi City, it is 4,100m above sea level here.

Potosí is a town in southern central Bolivia. It is the capital of the Potosí Department and has a population of almost 175,000. It lies at the foot of the mountain Cerro Rico (Rich Mountain), whose silver wealth Potosí made in the early 17th century, one of the largest cities in the world and of the silver and tin deposits the city depends today.

Looking down the city of Potosí from here.

Got into the city of Potosí, we are walking the Tarija street to the city center.

Tarija Street Potosí Bolivia

Iglesia de San Francisco on the Tarija street. Built in 1547 San Francisco is the oldest church in Potosi.

Interior of Iglesia de San Francisco, the nave and the altar.

As left the church and walking, found a restaurant on the street and we ate lunch there.

Restaurant El Empedrdilloel Potosí, it has a reputation for offering good meals.

Main square of Potosí, called 10 de Noviembre (November 10th Plaza). Left, the white house is the court. Statue of Liberty in the center. Right khaki house is the first mint.

November 10th Plaz is a place of relaxation and refreshment for local residents.

Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, Potosí

Interior of Potosí Cathedral

Located in the November 10th Plaza, the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, also called Potosí Cathedral was built between 1808 – 1838 with baroque and neoclassical colonial influence.

Main Alter of the Potosí Cathedral

This cathedral is not so big, but it has a different atmosphere than the European cathedral.

Vault and stained glasses of the Potosí Cathedral.

After the cathedral, we are walking to the Casa Nacional de la Moneda (National Mint of Bolivia) in the next block.

Casa de la Moneda (former National Mint of Bolivia) can be visited as a museum.

The Casa de la Moneda was an important center of Spanish colonial trade in South America. It was built in 1572 and from this mint that most of the silver shipped through the Spanish Main came.

Inside of the National Mint of Bolivia. Courtyard, Fountain, El Mascaron (decoration of mask ) of Casa de la Moneda and Argentine coin minted in the Mint of Potosí, 1815. It’s prohibited to take photos in this house.

Next we are walking to the central market Potosí nearby.

Mercado Central (Central Market) on the street of Héroes del Chaco (Heroes of the Chaco War) Potosí

In front of the market, there are many stalls and street vendors.

 Well, let’s get into the market house.

Inside of the market, there are a lot of small food shops and sells every food.

The inhabitants around here eat meat of Llama. I have tried it, that was not so bad.

Left the Central Market, when we are walking around in the vicinity an old church appeared. It’s the Church of San Lorenzo Potosí.

Iglesia de San Lorenzo (Church of San Lorenzo de Carangas)

The church was built in the mid-16th century and renovated in the 18th century. It is regarded as a masterpiece of the festival style in which indigenous culture and Baroque style are fused, and the facade is sculpted precisely.

Taking some photos of the church of San Lorenzo, I was strolling in the city of Potosí for a while.

The town of Potosí is very interesting and unique. The inhabitants are shy but honest and kind. I have to leave. Gracias y adiós Potosí!

Going to Potosí Bolivia

We left the hotel in Sucre for the town of Potosí at 8:00 am in the morning. As I stay up late at night and sleep late in the morning… I am very sleepy.

Going to the next destination the city of Potosí Bolivia.

Before long, passing through a little village of Yotala.

Yotala is a district in the prefecture of Chuquisaca in the South American Andes. It borders of Sucre in the north, the province of Yamparáez in the east and Potosí in the west. It is 2,800 meters in elevation. The main industry of the village is agriculture and livestock production. It has a population of 9,403 inhabitants in the 2012.

Yotala, Puente Méndez on the Pilovoayo River, which is the border with the prefecture of Potosí.

Leaving the village of Yotala for the south through the national highway No. 5.

A nostalgic and gentle village of Millares, Bolivia.

Millares is a village in the Potosí prefecture in the South American Andes of Bolivia. The village is located at an altitude of 2,308 m on the eastern edge of the Bolivian Altiplano (unstable high plateau in Peru and Bolivia between the high mountain ranges) on the left bank of the Río Uchu Mayu. It has a population of 414 inhabitants (2012 census).

The river called Río Uchu Mayu. Leaving the village of Millares, there have been people’s activities from long ago in such a small village in the deep mountains.

From the village of Millares we are running to the southwest.

A small village is coming into view. It is a town of Betanzos.

Betanzos is a small town in the Potosí prefecture in the South American Andes Bolivia. It is central place of the county Betanzos and capital of the province Cornelio Saavedra and is located at an altitude of 3,327 m in the Bolivian highlands.

Parish Church of Betanzos

Betanzos has a population of 4,632 inhabitants (2012 census). The economy is like many other villages in the area, most of the population engages in agriculture.

From Betanzos heading to Potosi and getting into the city. Many houses are made from sun-dried bricks.

At last we arrived at the city of Potosí. Silver mine “Cerro Rico” (rich mountain) is in the front.


Sucre at Night

We came back from Tarabuco to the hotel in the city of Sucre. The hotel is called “Parador Sant Maria la real.” The hotel is located on the Bolivar Street, it take three minutes to the main square on foot.

Hotel Parador Sant Maria la real Sucre

The Hotel Parador Santa María La Real dates from the second half of the 18th century. The hotel was built on the manor house and orchard of the palace of the Royal Audience of Charcas, the highest judicial and administrative authority in this part of the Spanish empire in America.

Through the entrance, there is the reception on the left and the lobby on the right.

Blue Patio, indigo colored.

Next to Blue Patio is the Red Patio. My room is at the right corner of the red patio.

Bolivian young friends who are staying in the next room.

Come from the city of La Paz they will participate in matches of tennis tomorrow. Unfortunately, I have to leave the town of Sucre tomorrow morning. So, I hope they will play good games.

Through the narrow hallway, going to the old dining room to have dinner.

A colonial passage way and underground rooms with ancient pictures, ceramics furnishings and other objects of art that are part of the décor, creating a truly unique environment.  

After dinner I am going out for a night walk and strolling about the main square.

Bolivar Street in front of the hotel, Parador Santa Maria la Real.

Sucre Cathedral on the main square, May 25th Plaza.

Town Hall of Sucre on the main square.

The park of May 25th Plaza, Sucre

Siku (Spanish, zampoña) musician in the park. (The siku is a traditional Andean pan flute.)

Balloon vendor and children.

Many locals rest in the park at night.

It is time to get back to the hote and go to bed already. Buenas noches.

Tarabuco Sunday Market

We are going to a village called Tarabuco at the Sunday morning. My friends say that the Sunday market of the village is famous and they really love shopping, but I am not interested in shopping. I think that it would be boring.

From Sucre going to the village of Tarabuco.

Tarabuco (officially San Pedro de Montalván de Tarabuco) is a small town of the province of Yamparáez in the department of Chuquisaca in the South American Andes. It is best known as the home of the Yampara culture.

Gate of Tarabuco, on the National Highway No. 6

Statues of the Gate of Tarabuco, I do not know their details, probably they are heroes of the Yampara tribe, Quechua.

Tarabuco is located at an altitude of 3,292 m, with a population of 2,977 inhabitants (2012 census).

Arrived at the edge of the village, from here we are walking into the center of Tarabuco.

Calle 1º de mayo (Street May 1st), this street will be turned into a pedestrian precinct on Sundays.

Each Sunday, a colorful and vibrant open-air market attracts locals and tourists alike. 

May 1st Street, gradually small shops open on both sides of the street.

A family who looks happy is having a late breakfast.

Town Hall of Tarabuco on the street of May 1st.

Turned to the right at this corner you will reach the main square of this village.

Arrived at “Plaza Principal 12 de marzo” (Main Square of March 12th).

The garden of the main square of Tarabuco.

Locals in traditional costumes

Many people wear traditional Yampara costumes, which not only preserve their identity but also advertise their location of origin within the area to others.

Street stalls around the main square.

Getting into the alleys.

Many people gather for county town. Most are women.

Sellers and customers seem to enjoy it.

Various things are sold here.

It was past 12 o’clock, we were looking for a restaurant and found it.

Restaurant “Pukara Wasi” Tarabuco Bolivia

Pukara Wasi offers the best typical regional food. You are able to observe the process and the techniques of the weaving in traditional loom, Yampara and Jalq’a Textile Handicraft of high quality.

Restaurant Pukara Wasi : Strange big tree trunk and pretty waitresses were impressive.

After lunch, we come back to the main square of Tarabuco.

Parish Church of San Pedro de Montalban on the main square of Tarabuco

When we arrived in the main square, the street stalls decreased considerably.

The people in front of the church are also sparse. It’s time to leave Tarabuco.

Adiós Tarabuco y gracias.