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天空之镜——乌尤尼盐沼 The Spectacular Sea of Salt - Uyuni Salt Flat

  第一次看到乌尤尼盐沼的照片时,Grace不禁怀疑这些图片的真实性——世上真有这样一面镜子?你确定不是PS的杰作吗?在玻利维亚的乌尤尼盐沼,你可以真正体验到何为无穷无尽。这个广袤的盐沼在覆盖了水之后会变成全世界最大的镜子,放眼望去,你根本分不清哪里是天,哪里是地。传说中的“not of this Earth”大概就是这样吧。

Uyuni Salt Flat 乌尤尼盐沼  Have you ever wanted to visit another planet but don't quite have the wallet power? If you want to feel the out-of-this-world experience, you could try the Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia. It is one of the landscapes on planet Earth where you may feel that you are somewhere else in the universe entirely.

  This place is 1)immense. It is over ten thousand square kilometers in area, which makes it the largest salt flat in the world. It's also the highest salt flat in the world at 3,656 meters above sea level.

  The Uyuni Salt Flat is what remains of a 2)prehistoric lake. All around it there are mountains, which means there are no 3)drainage 4)outlets and the salt is left at the old bed of the lake.

  The origin of the Uyuni goes back some 40,000 years. At that time, the area was part of a huge prehistoric lake, Lake Minchin. With time the lake dried up. Two lakes still remain—the Uru Uru and the Poopó. Two salt flats were left—the smaller Coipasa Salt Flat and the Uyuni. It is thought that the salt flat contains up to ten billion tons of salt.

  From a distance, the salt flat appears like an 5)enormous ocean, still and white. The 6)tiles on the flat stretch on as if to 7)infinity—and beyond. It looks like something out of a science-fiction film. When there is rain—as there is occasionally even at this altitude—then something magical happens. The salt flat becomes a mirror of the sky.

  Just as you think you have seen it all, something else comes in to view that will astonish you. You will also get the opportunity to see the amazing “tree” made out of rock. The strangeness of our planet is 8)exemplified by this peculiar product of thousands of years of 9)erosion.

  You may not have heard of Uyuni, but our astronauts have. It is used as a target for 10)calibrating and testing 11)remote sensing systems on satellites in orbit. Why? It's big—very big—and has an incredibly smooth surface which is highly reflective when it is covered in water, making it perfect for that task.

  In terms of a wildlife vacation, it is probably not the best place to visit. However, on the edges of the salt flat, you will find the 12)llamas are everywhere.

  South of Uyuni, the two other lakes and the mountains of the Andes 13)dominate the view. There are three different types of 14)flamingo that visit these lakes, and the sight of them flying is breathtaking. The flamingos are one of the few large animals that 15)thrive in these areas—and you will see 16)flocks of them on your visit.

  Where to stay though? It would be silly not to take advantage of the 17)hospitality of the local hotel, which is completely made of salt. Likewise for the furniture inside. You can even picnic if you want. Of course, be prepared for your picnic table to be made of salt, too. Surprise!

  Uyuni also 18)boasts a train 19)cemetery which is full of the 20)rusting shells of trains from the past. How did they end up here? Uyuni is an important transport 21)hub in Bolivia with four train lines connecting in the town. It must have seemed the logical place to abandon the trains which were no longer needed. It perfectly adds to the strangeness of the place.

  Of course, the main reason people come here is to see the spectacular salt flat. Although the pictures are amazing, imagine how 22)jaw-dropping this place must be with your own eyes.

  Highlights of the Tour   旅程精华

  Fish Island   鱼岛

Fish Island 鱼岛  Fish Island is located 74 kilometers from Colchani, right in the middle of the salt mines. It has a total area of 100 23)hectares and very 24)picturesque 25)scenery.

  The layer of 26)granite and 27)organic materials have produced a strange 28)breed of giant 29)cactus (six meters in height), which has developed an interesting 30)ecological system.

  On the island's 31)summit there is a cave. The internal walls of the cave present a 32)geological cut that provides information on the various layers of the ground. This is perhaps one of the best places to take wonderful pictures of the island and the salt mines as well.

  Fishermen's Island   渔夫岛

Fishermen's Island 渔夫岛  The Fishermen's Island is formed on top of the remains of a volcano 120 meters above the surface of the salt mines.

  On this island there are seven 33)archaeological sites that belong to the Tiwanaku注 culture. There are two Incan ruins, 30 34)caverns, 12 natural tunnels and one forest of cactuses.

  Best Visiting Time   最佳旅行时间

  The Uyuni Salt Flat can be visited all year long—even though the majority of the tour operators in the area strongly recommend the dry season of the year between April and October.

  Rainy Season (November to March)

Rainy Season 雨季  During the rainy season, the Uyuni Salt Flat is covered by about 20cm of water. As a result, it becomes a huge mirror reflecting the sky. Without a doubt this is an amazing landscape worth being appreciated and photographed. Another advantage of a visit during the rainy season is the presence of at least 25,000 pink flamingos and other birds at the Colored 35)Lagoon. The disadvantage of traveling during the rainy season is that the Galaxies Cave and Fish Island are covered by water, making it impossible to visit these attractions.

  Dry Season (April to October)

  The dry season is the most recommended period for a visit to the Uyuni Salt Flat. The 36)octagonal salt formations can be appreciated in full and all the attractions of the area can be visited. June and July are considered to be the high season.