The history of Incahuasi Island, the “House of the Incas”

car in the incahuasi island in the uyuni salt flats

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Can you imagine an island surrounded by water in the middle of the desert? Well, that’s exactly what you’ll find in the middle of the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia.

In this post, we tell you about this peculiar form of nature, the Incahuasi Island in the Uyuni Salt Flats.

What is Incahuasi Island and where is it?

To put you in perspective, the Uyuni Salt Flats is the largest salt desert in the world, with more than 10,000 square kilometers. The Uyuni Salt Flats Tour features numerous stops, where you can see everything from a Uyuni Train Cemetery, to geysers in the middle of the desert. Undoubtedly, the Uyuni Salt Flats is one of the most original and photographed places in all of Latin America.

In the middle of this plain, there is a small elevation that contrasts totally with the white landscapes of the salt flat, the Incahuasi Island. The name comes from the Quechua language, the language of the Incas and means The house of the Incas.

contrast uyuni salt flat with incahuasi island

Legend has it that this name was given in times of Spanish colonization. The Spaniards arrived in these lands with their horses, but these animals were not able to cross the salt desert. Instead, the incas moved with the llamas, animals that were accustomed to this place. Then, as the Spaniards could not access, the incas took refuge in this mountain, a place where they were safe. You know what “better skill than strength”…

The current inhabitants of the Incahuasi Island of the Uyuni Salt Flat are gigantic cactus. Some can reach more than 10 meters high, and live more than 1200 years. Can you imagine seeing the sunrise in the Uyuni Salt Flat for more than 1000 years? You’ve got to love the place already….

giants cactus in incahuasi island

In case you have already decided, our colleague Ester in her experience in the Uyuni Salt Flat, recommends wearing appropriate shoes for this place. For most of the trip, you won’t need them, as you’ll be doing it mostly shoeless. But in this case, they will be necessary if you want to see the island from the inside and not come back with your feet like a strainer.

Best time to see Incahuasi Island in the Uyuni Salt Flats

Any time is a good time to visit this place, but if you want to see the mirror effect all over the best time to go to the Uyuni Salt Flat is during the South American summer. You already know that the seasons of the year in South America are different from those in, for example, Europe.

This summer season (from December to February), is the rainy time of the place. As the water remains stagnant, it will be the ideal time to see the whole salt full of water, and in the middle, a small desert island that floats out.

cars with tourists with mirror effect on incahuasi island in the Uyuni Salt Flat

We can’t think of a better postcard of your trip to Uyuni than floating on the water, with an island behind you. You’ll be the rage on social media!

And if you can’t visit during this time, don’t worry. Given the grandeur and all the things to see in the Uyuni Salt Flat, any season is good to visit. Do you already have it on your list of upcoming trips? Do you know any other site as curious as this one?

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