Bit of salt?

Trip Start Jun 27, 2009
Trip End Jun 26, 2010

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Where I stayed
various lodges

Flag of Bolivia  ,
Wednesday, December 2, 2009

After arriving on the overnight bus for which most of it is on unpaved roads so very bumpy and little sleep to be had, I arrived in Uyuni very tired, but managed to book a 3 day tour of the salt flats. I was fortunately able to get a hostel room for a couple of hours sleep and a much needed shower.

On the tour I was with an Italian guy named Luca, an Aussie girl named Allison, a Kiwi girl called Denise and two Danish girls named Maria and Amelie. The first day our guide Lucio took us to the train graveyard, then onto the salt flats which were amazing. We all did the usual touristy bit of taking photos of people in strange poses behind inanimate objects so that it appears that you are sitting, standing or lying on them. That night we staying in a remote village which had a cool mummy cemetery. Apparently a group of people at a time well before the local indigenous population had arrived had used the ancient coral formations in the area as a special burial site. The area previously had been under water millions of years ago thus creating the coral formations which now appeared as weird rock formations.

The next morning we left early for the desert and mountains to the south west of the salt flats. It was amazing scenery and we ended up at an impressive sulphurous laguna with many pink flamingoes. We also came across many other strange rock formations such as the rock tree. That night we stayed next to the laguna in an even more remote village which had originally been created in an attempt to harness the thermal energy from the laguna but failed and was now only frequented by tourists. It was a very desolate and bleak place, which was cold and incredibly windy. I truly felt like I was on the roof of the world. That night after everyone had gone to bed (very early as usual as we had to be up by 3.30 am) I was outside having a cigarette and enjoying the night sky and finally saw the southern cross star constellation for the first time since I had been back in Australia. It was a nice reassuring sight despite the freezing temperatures.

After a brief sleep we were all up early to leave for the thermal springs which were quite impressive in the near darkness and apparently are not much to look at during daylight. It was incredibly cold and I had not layered properly so I was quickly back in the 4wd and soon after everyone else too. As the sun was rising we headed on to a hot water spring which we were supposed to soak and bathe in. I would not have got in (nor would Luka, Allison & Denise) if the the two Danish girls hadn't taken the leap. It was an incredibly painful experience getting in and out of on account of the freezing temperatures, but it was well worth it as it was beautifully warm once in. Pretty much after we had arrived all the other hordes of tours in their 4wd turned up as well so it soon got crowded. We had breakfast in a shack by the springs and after that we headed onto the Chilean border where I said goodbye to everyone as they were all crossing over into Chile. I continued back to Uyuni with Lucio to catch an overnight train to Argentina that evening. The train wasn't too bad and I managed to get some sleep before arriving at Villazon at the border between Bolivia and Argentina the next morning.

Whilst walking from the station to the border I was constantly harassed by Bolivian touts trying to get me to take a bus from Bolivia into Argentina but I was determined to cross on foot and in the process met some lovely Argentinian's returning themselves and so had company as I crossed over into Argentina. Once across we made our way to the bus terminal and in a mad dash managed to get on a bus heading to Salta at just that minute. The trip down from the border in the Andes to Salta was very beautiful as the landscape is a mixture of desert interspersed with lush valleys. It was magnificant looking out as the landscape changed from dry empty desert into lush green forest and farmland.
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Mishka on

Oh, beautiful photos, Hools! And happy memories.

I can't believe I've missed quite a few of your posts (haven't read you since Central America!), but have now RSS-ed you so this won't happen. :-)

Hope you're well and happy and not too travel-knackered... I got a bit weary after a few months but I'd give anything to be back there with you now!

Besos, amigo!

M xxx

Bao-Tam on

Hi Jules,
Wow , Fantastic lanscapes!!

Have a Great Xmas and a Wonderfuil New Year!

Bao-Tam & Roberto

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