A giant prehistoric lake once covered a large portion of western Bolivia. When it dried (11500 or so years ago), two major salt flats were left behind, Salar de Coipasa and the Salar de Uyuni. Salar de Coipasa is the second largest salt flat in Bolivia (Salar de Uyuni being the largest in Bolivia and the world!).
Riding across the Salar de Coipasa on a bicycle was nothing short of magical. No road, no trash, no people, just us, our bikes and miles and miles of smooth, sparkling, white salt.
We checked the GPS, picked a mountain peak corresponding to where we wanted to go, pointed the bikes in that direction and rode over 20 miles in a straight, flat, unobstructed line.
It is easy to imagine this place covered with water. The salt gives the impression that we’re riding over a frozen lake. In some places, particularly close to the shore, the salar is slushy. The surface also cracks and upheaves like ice.
Salt blocks cut out of the salar:
Sunset on the salar:
Search Google images for Bolivian salt flats and you’re bound to find some pics of naked people. My Facebook feed has been burning up with photos of our cycling buddies in their birthday suits on the salars. There’s something about being alone out here in the wide open expanse of the salt flats that inspires us to strip down and go Lady Godiva-style on our bicycles.
If you dare to see the evidence of our naked ride on the Salar de Coipasa (in the form of our salty white buns), click here. We’re not totally naked, we left our socks and shoes on. If we have a future in politics, these photos are the least of our concerns.