Welcome to ‘heaven on earth’, or more specifically, to Salar de Uyuni, the mirror of the world.
Located in the southwest of Bolivia, this 10,582 square km phenomenon is the largest salt flat in the world. With an elevation of 3,656 metres, it’s a full 11,995ft above sea level.
The Salar is covered by a few meters of flat salt crust formed when prehistoric lakes dried up, and becomes a stunning natural mirror when flooded with water. But the pictures speak for themselves.
As well as serving as a spectacular tourist attraction, the size, surface and reflectivity of the flats make it ideal for testing instruments on orbiting satellites being used to study Earth. A fitting function for a place that certainly seems like it’s out of this world.
The dreamlike setting is also a major breeding ground for pink flamingos, who clearly like a bit of romance before they get down to business, and the area also contains the highest concentration of lithium in the world – making it a prime location for mining.
Travellers who visit the area are encouraged to stay with local families in the surrounding towns of Atulcha, Villamar and San Juan, areas so remote and cut off from the world that they prepare you appropriately for the surreal experience to come.
The families who host backpackers are not well off, rarely even possessing basic luxuries like water or electricity, but they charge the scarily small sum of just £8 a day for their services (so tip well, if you do end up going!).
This is just the kind of natural wonder that reminds you why bucket lists exist.