As Bolivia’s spectacular Uyuni Salt Flats appear in more and more new reports and magazine articles, “travel traffic” to the region is on the rise as well. The true economic and environmental impacts of the rapid increase in tourism in southern Bolivia are unknown, however relieving the concentration of visitors to popular sites (which is often determined by a lack of infrastructure and service that let you get anywhere else!) can go a long way to making sure that the benefits and impacts of tourism in sensitive environments are more evenly distributed.
With more than a decade of operating expeditions to the flats and the serene landscapes of the Eduardo Avaroa Reserve, to the south of Uyuni, La Paz on Foot has witnessed first hand the massive change in travel to the remote region. However, most travelers only visit a small number of destinations due to limited access and lodging. In an effort to lead a shift towards better distributed benefits and to showcase the lesser known landscapes of the region, La Paz on Foot developed a new itinerary that focuses on the salar itself and the communities and geological wonders found on the salt flat’s remote northern coastline, dominated by Volcan Thunupa. Thunupa is a mythological entity and a central character in Andean creation myths . . . standing at “his” base it is no wonder why the volcano conjures up feeling of awe.
To learn more about La Paz on Foot’s new 3-day Salar de Uyuni Norte Expedition, visit their website here. Highlights of the tour include crossing the salt flats, sleeping in lodgings made of salt blocks, a partial hike around the base of Volcan Thunupa, optional visit to a burial chamber with intact mummies inside and some of the best star-gazing you will ever experience. For travelers with time on their hands, the expedition can be combined with classic tours to the Eduardo Avaroa Reserve.