Incahuasi – Home of the Incas
Also called the Isla del Pescado thanks to its fish-like profile, the island of Incahuasi is situated smack in the middle of the enormous Salar de Uyuni. We arrived there midway through the first day of our tour. Covered by millennial cacti and composed of coral, the island is a stunning reminder that the salt flats used to be part of a gigantic lake.
The perfectly level Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world, roughly the size of Lebanon. On this endless white horizon, with the peaks of the Andes far in the distance, there’s almost no vegetation or shelter, except for Incahuasi. The island’s name means “Home of the Incas”, which underlines its importance in those long-ago days before jeeps. Incans crossing the salt flats used Incahuasi as a refuge.
Given that we were in the middle of a gigantic, parched landscape of salt, it was bizarre to be standing on an island made of coral. And it’s even more strange to imagine that an island of coral can support life. Huge, thousand-old cacti dominate Incahuasi, sprouting up wherever there’s room. We hiked to the top and were floored by the panorama. I had never considered how magnificent a white plain of utter flatness might be.
Though it was just a short stop, Incahuasi was definitely among the more amazing sights we’d get a chance to experience during our tour. Enjoy the pics… just when we think Bolivia can’t astound us anymore, it pulls another trick out of its hat.
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June 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm