Mindblowing Bolivia

Trip Start Mar 15, 2006
Trip End Dec 20, 2006

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Saturday, September 23, 2006

I signed up for a 3 day tour from San Pedro in Chile to Uyuni in Bolivia for $80 USD all inclusive. There are quit a few companies that offer a very similar thing, but I would recommend the company I went with (Estrella del Sur) because I think our food was better than many of the other groups.
There were 5 of us on the tour, a lovely Spnaish couple, and a German man living in Chile and his cute 5 year old son. The common language was Spanish (the guide only spoke Spanish), so I got lots of practise.
The trip was absolutely amazing, the scenery so varied and spectacular.
On the first day we visited Laguna Blanca (white lagoon, high amounts of calcium carbonate), and Laguna Verde (green lagoon, high amounts of copper and arsenic), then headed through the Dali desert (with unusual rock formations), for a quick dip in the hot springs (it was so nice and warm, but outside I think the temperatures would have been in the -ve degrees), and on to the Morning sun geysers (steaming pools of boiling mud and steam at 5000 metres), before reaching Laguna Colorado (red lagoon, lots of red coloured algae), home to thousands of flamingoes. That night we stayed in a basic refugio without running water. I didn´t suffer too much fro the altitude, just a mild headache and persistent blood nose. I was very glad I had my sleeping bag too, as it was veeery cold!

The second day we visited the Arbol de Piedra (a stone shaped a bit like a tree), before passing more lakes of various colours, and more flamingoes. That night we stayed in ¨Hotel de Sal¨, which is made completely out of salt, including the tables and chairs. We were gratefufl they had hot water for a shower as we were very dusty from having to push the 4WD after it got bogged in the sand.

The third day we crossed the Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world. It was quite spectacular, with shimmering white crystals as far as the eye could see. In the middle was Isola de Pescadores (Fisherman´s island), a little island of cactuses, some 1200 years old, and 4 or 5 metres high. We continued on to the Salt mines an the train cemetery outside Uyuni. The train cemetery had a collection of 20 or so steam trains from 1907 to the 1950´s rusting away in the desert.

Unfortunately I missed my bus to Potosi this morning (it left early!). I have changed my ticket to leave tonight instead, which means I miss out on the scenery, which is supposed to be lovely, and I arrive in Potosi at 2am! Oh well...

NB' I have quite a few more photos to come )including those coveted train photos...) but internet is a bit slow here. I will try to upload in the next couple of days
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