The sixth version of Dakar 2014 will take place in South America and for the first time pass through Bolivian territory. The whole country awaits the race that will take place between the 1st and 18th of January, 2014.
The countries included in the route of Dakar 2014 are Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. The competition will have 13 stages. The first will take place on 5th of January between Rosario and San Luis (Argentina), and the last on the 18th, between La Serena and Valpaíso (Chile). Bolivia will welcome - in the departaments of Potosí and Oruro - the seventh stage (Salta-Uyuni) and the eighth stage (Uyuni and Calama), on 12th and 13th of January, respectively.
Through the Dakar, Bolivia intends to show its wealth of natural tourism. Without doubt it can be considered an excellent opportunity to promote tourism in this country, as the Dakar will be seen in over 200 countries. About 1200 hours of transmissions of the host countries will be seen by around 1000 million people around the world.
Bolivia expects the arrival of about 70 thousand visitors from various countries during the Dakar 2014. These people will follow the competition through its stages. Bolivia has been preparing its hotel capacity for this number of visitors during the past months.
The Bolivian segment will have as its main attraction the Uyuni Salt Flats, considered the biggest continous salt desert in the world. Located at 3650 meters above sea level in southwest Bolivia, the Uyuni Salt Flats hold the greatest reserve of lithium in the world, besides being the most important tourist attraction in Bolivia.
Bolivia will receive the Dakar 2014 the 12th and 13th of January in the motorcycle and quad categories. These will participate in the marathon stage and will not receive any technical assistance. This means that in case of any difficulties, the participants must rely on themselves or request help from other competitors of the rally.
The route will cover 10 municipalities of Potosi and one of Oruro. The municipalities of Villazón, Tupiza, Atocha and Uyuni will receive the competition on the 12th of January. A day later the race will go through San Pablo de Ipes, Colchaca, Tawa, Ika, San Pedro de Quemes and San Agustín, ending in the salt flats of Garci Mendoza located in Oruro department.
The Dakar 2014 will cover 830 kms in Bolivia, starting at the border with Argentina in the city of Villazón (Seventh stage). It will continue to the city of Tupiza and enter the fantastic Uyuni Salt Flat, which will be completely covered by water. It will certainly be a great challenge for the drivers to make it through the salt flat turned into a giant sky-colored mirror.
The race will then leave Potosi to enter the Garci Mendoza salt flats located in Oruro. This is one of the main places of quinua production in Bolivia. The Dakar will exit Bolivia through the Avaroa border post located in the municipality of Santiago de Quemes in Potosi department.
The vivac (camp) of the motorcycles and quads will be in the town of Uyuni at the gates of the majestic Uyuni Salt Flats. The caravan will arrive at the town of Colchani located on the shores of the salt flats. Visitors may enjoy a stay at one of the salt hotels here.
The Salt Hotels located in the Colchani area have been built from salt blocks and have a unique decoration made entirely of salt from the salt flats: beds, chairs, tables, floors and other accessories make these hotels unique in the world.
At the beginning, when the race enters Corral Blanco, a community located 5 kms to the west of Villazón, the vehicles will come across a rocky terrain and almost immediatly very fine sand and dunes.
Arriving at Tupiza (where the stage before the connection to Uyuni ends), they will pass near the Angostura de Palquiza and the canyon of the San Juan de la Mina river with soft, rocky and hard earth terrain.
At this part there will be gravel until finally they get to the connection with the road to Uyuni.
The second stage, leaving from Uyuni, will run partly over the salt flats and then the drivers must deal with varying terrain: dunes, desert sand and rocky sand.
The Dakar 2014 will have over 300 competitors who will pass through Bolivia on motorcycles and quads. This number will be finalized on the 20th of November in París.
There will be three bolivian participants of the Dakar 2014: Juan Carlos Salvatierra and Fabricio Fuentes will compete in the motorcycle division; and Wálter Nosiglia will participate in the quad division.
Uyuni Salt Flats
Located in southwest Bolivia, this white desert is the greatest concentration of salt in the world and holds the biggest reserve of lithium on the planet. During the rainy season the Uyuni Salt Flats become a giant mirror, offering a unique landscape.
Inside the salt flats is the Incahuasi islands, home of giant cacti. From the lookout point on the island one can see the imponent Tunupa volcanoe and the majesty of the Uyuni Salt Flats.
Another touristic place included in nthe route of the Dakar is Tupiza. The area of Tupiza surrounded by the coloured hills of the at 2600 meters high. The fertile valley of the Tupiza river has a pleasant climate and beautiful natural surrounding. The caravan of the Dakar will cover the Cañon del Duende, Cerro la Cruz, Quebrada de Palala, El Sillar, La Puerta del Diablo, Toroyoj, Valle de los machos, Cerro Elefante and El Angosto.
Garci Mendoza Salt Flats
Located close to the Uyuni Salt Flats at the feet of the Thunupa volcano, the Garci Mendoza salt flats were declared as the capital of the quínua.
At the main square of the village of the Garci Mendoza salt flats there is a church with mestizo barroque style from the 17th century. Its architectural composition reflects the social mixing that the conquest of America brought and its infrastructure conserves a great part of its original structure. The outer wall is made up of pointed arches, the tower has three parts with arches at midpoint. This is one of the most important and relevant architectural and religious attractions in the region on the Atlantic-Salt Flat route.
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