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The planet?s largest salt mine lies in Bolivia, whose 12.000 km˛ are share by the departments of Potosí and Oruro. This is Uyuni salt mine which originated as a result of the sea withdrawal, leaving a vast and endless white plateau. Lake Titicaca, el Poopo and other minor salt mines emerged this same way, whimsically created by nature.

 

 You have to be ready to begin the adventure. Getting to know the landmarks (hills) to find your bearings, maps, compass and even a GPS will be key elements to avoid getting lost in this white dessert. Don?t ever try in summertime, the rains flood the area. Finally, be tough to withstand the climate and the sensation of loneliness amid this void.

 

Colchani is the village where the salt is handled. It is interesting to see the process it takes to finally obtain the precious mineral. There is a curious salt-built hotel nearby to stay in, even furniture is made of salt.

 

The landscape changes south of the Altiplano. Flamingoes, mountains and volcanoes are common sights in this region. The Department of Potosí holds the largest silver bed within the depths of Rico Mountain, also called Sumaj Urqu (Magnificent Mountain). It has been a silver mine since colonial times. Pailaviri mine is of the most important and ancient that could be explored down to 240 meters.

 

The blooming mining industry gave way to the settlement of Potosí, at the foot of Rico Mountain over 4.000 m of altitude, what makes this town the world?s highest. Its colonial architectonic legacy earned it the status of World Heritage. Walk its cobbled streets and visit the main square and old buildings: the House of the Coin (Historical Archive and Museum), the Temples of San Lorenzo, Copacabana, San Martín, San Francisco and La Merced.

 

The Department of Oruro keeps several other attractions that show Bolivia?s stunning beauty: Colorada (Reddish) and Verde (Green) Lagoons, Obrajes Thermal Sources, Pampa Ahullagas? archeological site, Mount Sajama and its geysers, Coipasa Salt Mine and the cave paintings at Cala Cala.

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