Photo in the News: New Salt Hotel Built in Bolivia

picture of salt hotel
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July 25, 2007—Visitors may want to take luxury with a grain of salt at this remote accommodation.

The hotel, seen above on July 14, is among a handful constructed solely of salt blocks on the white plains of the Salar de Uyuni in southwestern Bolivia.

The 4,085 square-mile (10,580 square-kilometer) region is the world's largest salt desert. The desert was once a lake 40,000 years ago, and it is now a hot spot for adventure tourism.

The blindingly white flats stretch as far as the eye can see, except for a few raised mounds of salt. Despite its barren appearance, the desert hosts cacti and rare hummingbirds, and three species of flamingos stop over each year to breed.

Until the recent tourist boom, the only inhabitants of the chilly, harsh region were salt miners, who still extract 25,000 tons of salt annually from the 10 billion tons available.

—Christine Dell'Amore

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