Salar de Uyuni
Howdy all from Bolivia for the last time. This trip at least. I’ve just returned to Uyuni after a three-day trip to the Salar De Uyuni, so I’m going to try and give you a brief run down of how it went.
I ended up taking the company Brisa, for $110 which is pretty cheap but there are loads of operators at this end of the market. Paying more will get you an English speaking guide and I presume better accommodation, however the two hotels I stayed at were fine if a little basic. The areas visited are quite remote so you can’t expect too much.
I found my group very laste – just before 10am, they generally leave any time between 9am and 11am. We were off in a land cruiser shortly after 1030am, five in the land cruiser, max is six. The first stop for almost every group is this train cemetary 3km outside Uyuni town. There are dozens of rusted old steam engines. It’s amazing, and would be more so if there weren’t many tourists around taking selfies in as many places as they can find. But hey, I’m a tourist too.
Then we went out to the salt flats. It is huge in area, and it sort of creeped up on me. White salt as far as I could see. There’s a hotel we stopped at where there were Dakar 2016 signs (Dakar rally was held here this year), and people taking selfies as far as the eye can see. What is fun is to take perspective photos – it seems to be the fad. A toy dinosaur in the foreground and people in the background. There are many different ideas out there though!
From there the next main stop was the Incahuasi Island, which is a rock island in the middle of a salt sea. With no water. Amazing cacti on the island we hiked to the top and back. The hotel for the first night was partially salt. Because we were five and not six I had my own room which was nice although there was a lot of noise and it was hard to sleep.
Day Two and it was a day of lagoons. We went to three separate lagoons where we saw a lot of flamingoes. I tried to get a photo in Galapagos of flamingoes but was just too far away, so this was awesome. We also saw a number of volcanoes and an area called Arbol de Piedra which was a little Wadi Rum in Jordan, where time, wind and sand had worn away at several rocks and made quite sensational shapes.
Which was earlier – much earlier today. The hotel had electricity until 9.22pm when they shut it off. I was packing by torchlight. Didn’t really have an option. We were off at 4.38am to see some geysers. They shot hot air which was of course steam straight up in the air with that unmistakeable hint of sulphur. Well, a bit more than a hint. It was absolutely freezing at this point, at best zero degrees celcius.
From there we went to a hot spring, where we were joined by many other tour groups. Just the one pool for everyone. The next stop was another lagoon – Laguna Verde, and then we went to the border with Chile, where many people doing the tour from various groups left to cross the border, including two from ours.
From then on it was a long ride back to the town Uyuni where you find me now. We saw a couple of nice villages and many llamas on the way, as well as a couple of rivers, pretty dry for the most part. The air is fullof dust – something tobe aware of if you’re doing a tour. I will review it all more comprehensively when I’m back home, but it’s been an amazing experience and we were very happy with it and our guide. Tomorrow morning is another early one for me, I have a six o’clock bus to Tupiza as I make my way to Argentina. Thanks for reading and as always, May the Journey Never End!