Salar de Uyuni and Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni and Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni extends to the south of the central high plateau and is located in its lower part (3.656 m). In summer, its surface turns into a huge lake with an area of ​​12.106 sq. km. and a depth of 60 to 80 cm. In winter, the water evaporates, leaving behind a salt cover. Here is one of the world’s largest deposits of lithium. The annual rainfall here is minimal, so the zone is desert. Salt marsh amazes with breathtaking landscapes. Here you can see giant rocks eroded by wind and sand. Other attractions in the salt marsh include the Green Lagoon, surrounded by volcanoes, and the Colored Lagoon, which changes color from red to blue-black and back every day.


“When the surface of the salt desert is flooded with water (4-6 inches), then in the middle of it you feel like an ant on the surface of a giant mirror. The blue sky merges with the blue water, in which clear reflections of the islands are visible, due to the lack of a horizon line, as if floating in the air. Dry areas of the desert are covered with a white salt crust, similar to a perfect snow cover. Stephen Saber.


“One of the most stunning places in Bolivia and the most amazing of wonders. The rare James flamingos and the more common Chilean and Andean flamingos breed and live in its reddish algae-colored waters. The shores and lower part of the lake are covered with bright deposits of white sodium, borax and chalk. Clean air is cold and nighttime temperatures can drop to -20 Cº. The landscape between the Colored and Green lagoons is breathtakingly beautiful – the geysers of Sol de Magnana, seething mud pools, evaporated streams, lakes with flamingos and weathered rocks. South American Book.

Lake Titicaca

The Incas called Cuzco the navel of the world, and Lake Titicaca the cradle of mankind. The current inhabitants of the lake still consider themselves descendants of the first people. The lake covers an area of ​​about 9,000 sq. km. and is the highest navigable lake in the world (3,820 m), up to 257 m deep.

The lake was the cradle of many ancient civilizations and was considered sacred by them. The Tiahuanacu culture originated here in the period of the birth of Christ and existed for more than a thousand years, spreading to the territory of Peru and northern Chile. The ceremonial buildings of Tiwanaku were built on the shores of Lake Titicaca, thus letting us know that the lake was considered sacred even 2000 years ago. The Incas believed that their ancestors came from the waters of the lake and their supreme deity Viracocha was portrayed as a light-skinned bearded man who began the process of creation on one of the islands of the lake.

The lake is surrounded by many legends. It is said that cities, roads and treasures are hidden under water. Jacques-Yves Cousteau explored the depths of the lake in a small submarine. Instead of flooded cities, travelers found only a huge frog (about 80 centimeters in length), which had an unusual color (a fusion of several colors at once).

The most famous islands of the Bolivian part of the lake are the islands of the Sun and the Moon, where, according to the legends of local Indians, heavenly bodies hid during floods. The Inca Empire, according to legend, originates on the island of the Sun. Inca Manco Capac and his wife and sister Mama Occlio arrived on the island and subsequently founded a solar empire. On the island there is a temple of the sun, today called the sacred stone or progenitor stone (in the northern part of the island). Just 200 meters from the temple of the sun, there is a structure called Chinakana (“the place where you get lost”). Here on the island grows a sacred variety of maize. Pre-Colombian tribes believe that those who had grains of this maize were not subject to hunger and they always had bread. Also on the island of the Sun stand out the Pilcocaine Palace and the Yumani steps, built by the Incas.

Totora reed grows in the shallow waters of the lake. Local residents continue to actively use it for a variety of purposes. Light boats are made from it, plowing the waters of the lake. Birds build nests between reed stalks and their eggs are eaten by the locals. In some parts of the lake, you can see floating islands woven from reeds, on which reed dwellings are built.

The Copacabana peninsula is known for its archaeological pre-Spanish structures. Thousands of tourists and pilgrims flock here to honor the dark-skinned maiden of the lake, who is worshiped in Copacabana.

Behind the settlement of Copacabana is an astrological observatory, possibly built before the birth of Christ – Orca del Inca.

Suriki Island is famous for its reed raft weavers. Four inhabitants of the island wove a Ra II raft for the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl. Two of them, the Limachi brothers, own a small souvenir shop on the island.

Lake Titicaca, Bolivia