Salt Flats, Volcanoes, Geysers and Flamingos

Uyuni is a strange Bolivian town, a desert-like landscape in the middle of nowhere and at 3656m. The main reason people come here is to visit the Salar De Uyuni – the world’s largest salt flat. And it’s cold, it’s very very cold.

We booked up on a 3 day 2 night tour that would take us through the salt flat and on to stunning volcanic landscapes, high altitude lagoons, geysers and the Siloe desert, dropping us at the border with Chile where we could continue our travels.

DAY 1

Our driver from Quechua Connections picked us up and after a short orientation meeting we headed off as a group of 10 people in 2 jeeps. The first stop was the Cemertario de Trens, an antique train graveyard left to rust and erode from the salt winds. Railways were constructed by the British in the 1880s to carry minerals from the Andes all the way through to the Pacific Ocean but when the mining industry collapsed many of the trains were abandoned here.

Next stop was a salt factory where they showed us how they process the salt from the salt flat. Salt is so cheap in Bolivia and they can’t export it so they make hardly any money from it.

Back in the jeep and the moment we’d been waiting for, off-road and on to the salt flat. The sky was bright blue and the salt was brilliant white, formed in a hexagonal pattern. It was amazing driving across it, with nothing else around for miles.

One of the jeeps had brought bikes so we stopped in the middle of the flat and cycled over to the salt hotel for lunch. It was pretty intense at such high altitude and with the blinding white salt, but one of the most surreal things we’ve ever done!

After lunch we drove right into to middle of the salt flat to take photos and some funny perspective shots!

Our final stop of the day was at Inca Huasi, an island situated right in the middle of the salt flat. The island is what’s left of an ancient volcano and it’s completely covered in cacti. We walked around and stayed to watch the sunset, before heading to our hostel for the night, in the absolute middle of nowhere.

DAY 2

After a cold night we set off on the longest day of driving, reaching altitudes of almost 5000m! We passed through volcanic landscapes, high altitude colourful lagoons with wild flamingos, the Siloe desert and ended at the geysers Sol de Mañana.

A breathtaking day in every sense of the word. Pictures say it better than words…

DAY 3

After the coldest temperatures we’ve experienced yet and a sleepless night at 4700m, we set off for two final viewpoints before getting dropped off at the border with Chile. An absolutely amazing few days with landscapes that were out of this world. The lack of oxygen and freezing cold nights were totally worth it!

 

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