Inka Travel Guides
Bolivia
Inka Travel Guides
BOLIVIA

Bolivia, a landlocked and isolated country at the heart of South America, covers an area of more than 1 million sq km. It is the poorest country in South America, and has a population of only around 9 million. The great majority of its people are of indigenous descent, making it the most indigenous country on the continent. The strength of Amerindian culture is perhaps greater here than anywhere else in Latin America. More than half of the population speak an indigenous language. Quechua, the language of the Inca Empire, is spoken by about a third of the population, and Aymara by another quarter. Another thirty or so indigenous languages are spoken by small minorities. Spanish, Quechua and Aymara are all official languages, though in practice Spanish remains the language of government.

One of Bolivia’s most extraordinary natural wonders is the Salar de Uyuni. These eerie salt flats stretch over an area covering 9000 sq km in the Altiplano, to the west of the town of Uyuni in Bolivia’s southwest. Salar de Uyuni is by far the largest salt lake in the world. Although technically a lake, it does not look much like one. It has a thick, hard crust of salt on its uppermost layer - so thick, indeed, that it is possible to drive across it! And there is a very limited amount of visible water, even in the rainy season. Despite its desolate appearance, the landscape is home to many types of animal, including the rabbit-like viscachas that live on the islands in the middle of the lake, three of the South American species of flamingos that feed and nest here during the rainy season, the Andean fox, and herds of vicunas grazing on the scarce vegetation. Isolated Quechua and Aymara communities live on the shores of the lake. The Salar de Uyuni is what remains of a sea that filled the entire high plateau up to Lake Titicaca. Over the course of millions of years, the sea disappeared, and today Lake Titicaca in Peru, and Lake Coopo, the Salar de Coipasa and de Uyuni in Bolivia are all that remains. It is an astonishing and unusual sight, and driving in a 4X4 across this perfectly flat, white and harshly inhospitable expanse is one of Bolivia’s most enjoyable and otherworldly experiences.

If you want to discover this extraordinary landscape, then have a look at our SALAR DE UYUNI 4X4 discovery trip.

Inka Travel Guides