Uyuni - Salar - Tupiza - An incredible four days

Trip Start Aug 23, 2006
Trip End Dec 23, 2006

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hey everyone. Just arrived into Tupiza, Boliva after spending four days on a Salar de Uyuni tour. I know I have lots of updating to do and promise to do so soon. Arrived into Uyuni via bus/train from La Paz on Tuesday night the 14th. The next morning I lucked out and got the 6th and final spot on a 4 day tour of the Salar arriving into Tupiza on the 18th. I highly recommend doing a tour with a company that allows you to end in Tupiza as you are then spending your fourth day seeing more sites..and you avoid having to spend time on a bus to get down to Tupiza afterwards. I went with Licancanbur tours...they were great. The tour was fantastic as was the company...Michael (US), Becca (US), Katherine (US), Larra (US) and Andrew (UK)....a bunch of Yanks and a Brit.

We started out on our 4 day tour by loading up the Land Cruiser with our stuff, our food for the next few days, two spare tires and finally we picked up our cook...who was a squatty old woman but pretty funny. First stop was a railroad graveyard where they actually have the cargo train that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid robbed can still see the bullet holes. Becca had a bit of difficulty climbing around the train and had to get bandaged up on her arm, her foot and her stomach after scracthing herself on the rusty metal. After that the famous Salar...or salt plains. The Salar de Uyuni is the larger salar in the world...and given the vastness of it, you can take some pretty good photos that play tricks on the eye. We also visited an "island" in the middle of the salar which was ouf first lunch stop. The food was great...fresh llama and vegatables. After a couple more stops, we left the Salar and came to our first overnight stay. The rooms were tiny but the town was friendly. We walked to the main square and met some locals who laughed at how tall the women were in our group. Played some soccer and then back for dinner and drinks. Up early the next morning for more sites...including an active volcano, tons of flamingos and the highest point on our trip...5000 meters, or over 18,000 feet. I was pretty much out of it the second ear infection and the altitude gave me some serious problems. Our overnight stay was a large room with 6 beds...I popped an ambien as soon as we arrived and slept for 10 hours. Felt much better the next day which included some great sites including a thermal bath, some fantastic lakes and a brief stop in Chile where we said goodbye to Becca and Kat. Sad to see them go...but nice to have more room in the truck! Lunch stop was an amazing oasis in the middle of nowhere and there were tons of lamas eating around us as we ate. Our overnight stop was similar to our first night...a small town. But this one had a market which we got the guy to open for us so we could buy some beer and wine. The market was bascially the size of a closet and he didnt have much to offer...but it was fine for us. The next morning we passed within 30 minutes of San Vincente which is where Butch Casidy and the Sundance Kid where killed and burried. We begged our driver to stop by...but we didn't have enough fuel. The road into Tupiza was spectacular...just some incredible rock formation. You really felt as if you were in the old west...amazing. Arrived into the Tupiza, got the last two rooms in the Hotel Mitru and immediately jumped into their pool to wash 4 days of road grime off us. We only had one shower in those four the dip in the thermal baths...but even though the pool was cold, it was a welcome relief.

Until then...all is well in Tupiza.

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