Salar de Uyuni

Trip Start Jun 30, 2010
Trip End Aug 25, 2010

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Saturday, July 31, 2010

Today I returned from Salar de Uyuni - the largest salt flat in the world, located in the Bolivian altiplano. It may as well have been the moon.

Our group of 5 started a bit before midday (after being told to get to the agency by 10 - I guess this is how things work here) and got into the Toyosa (not a typo) Land Cruiser for 3 days of spectacular landscapes.

The route starts in Uyuni and passes through the salt flats before entering the barren dessert lands. Not without a stop at the train cemetery first though, which in all honesty was a bit of a let down, especially compared to everything that followed it. Our lunch spot was Isla de Pescador, a small island filled with cacti surrounded by the salt flats. Following this we made our way to the first hostel - basic dorms with limited electricity and hot water. Oh, and it got cold... really cold.

The following two days we left the salt flats and passed through the Bolivian southwest. The scenery throughout was amazing. Mountains on all sides, lagoons of various colours (depending on the chemicals being mined nearby), and some out-of-this-world rocks. Arbol de Piedra has been carved by the wind over hundreds of years and now stands tall in the Atacama desert in the shape of a tree. Having never seen anything of the sort, it really was the highlight of the tour.

As well as the awesome landscapes, I was lucky enough to get a group of Dutch and Belgium people who spoke good English. We had a lot of fun playing with perspective in the salt flats and they taught me how to play Yahtzee! Our final night the tour agency bought us 3 bottles of wine (adding to our own supplies of beer, rum and wine) and we drank it all to keep warm through the night.
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