Uyuni Train Cemetery — Geocache of the Week

by gcuyuni
S 20° 28.920′ W 066° 50.280′

Geocaching is an anytime, anywhere adventure that can lead you to very unexpected places. With no place to dodge the sun, the blazing desert floor is the perfect backdrop for some extreme geocaching and discovering some very unique attractions. Grab your sunglasses—we’re traveling to Uyuni, Bolivia to explore a very unusual cemetery for our Geocache of the Week, Uyuni Train Cemetery (GC6QJBD).

Image by filip-cz.

Nestled in the Andes in southwest Bolivia, is the world’s largest salt flat, otherwise known as Salar de Uyuni. Once a prehistoric lake stretching over 4,250 square miles (11,000 square km.) has turned the landscape to bright white salt and rock formations.

To the east of the salt flats, you will find one of the major tourist attractions for the area, the Uyuni train cemetery. According to the cache page, the town once served as a distribution hub for trains to carry materials to Pacific Ocean ports. The mining industry collapsed in the 1940s due to mineral depletion, leaving many trains abandoned on the tracks, creating a train cemetery.

Image by adamas84.

On your way to this geocache, you’ll pass through the small town of Uyuni. There’s only one small sign pointing you toward the train cemetery so it’s best to ask for directions from the locals. Once you’ve been pointed in the right direction you will be at the location in no time–it’s kind of hard to miss! 

To begin your hunt for this geocache you will have to think like a conductor. Geocachers will have to familiarize themselves with every car on the train. Starting your hunt for this geocache in the front with the railway engine is a great place to begin. As you make your way back through all of the cars imagine where you might hide the geocache. Would you hide it in the spokes of the driving wheels? How about on the inside of one of the rims on a window?

Image by SpeedCore.

As you pass through each car and make your way toward the caboose take some time to inspect each little hiding place and hole in the wall. With over 100 train cars to explore, it could be overwhelming to search so many hiding spots but don’t give up, victory is near!

For this cache, a small magnetic key box on one of the train cars in front of you unlocks your smiley. Since this is a popular tourist destination, tour buses bring hundreds of visitors to the cemetery every day; be careful to not let the muggles see you searching for the container.

Image by WK1711.

Geocachers travel all over the world to visit this site. Gunnie69 recounts their experience at the train cemetery and finding GC6QJBD, saying,

“Oh boy, what a fantastic big kids playground…I love the old trains, the shapes, and the “art” that has formed through the corrosion and loss of metal limbs. Grantakl and I had moved in for a very quick look when we first arrived. Grant picked the spot, but there was a tour guide and a couple of muggles within 3m of GZ, so I could not make a great approach to the hiding spot. We left it for a while, headed off a raft of photos, then I nipped back a little later when the coast was clear. A great location for a cache, cheers.”

Image by mir_asp.

his geocache is a must-find for train enthusiasts and explorers alike. Geocachers that make the trek to find GC6QJBD in the Uyuni train cemetery leave with lasting memories of exploration and getting to be their very own train conductor—just like when we were children. This area is surrounded by the beauty of nature and the creativity of all those around them.

Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world. Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.

Mackenzie is a Community Manager at Geocaching HQ. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest she loves finding new geocaches and exploring the area. You will typically find her out on the coast discovering new lighthouses.