Salt Flats Tour

Trip Start Jul 20, 2008
Trip End Jul 31, 2008

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Friday, August 1, 2008


We had to get an overnight bus down to Uyuni from La Paz - 12 hours. All started well, nice bus, food provided but after an hour we were told to close curtains as protesters were throwing stones in the street (usual strory - peasants revolting due to bad pay / no voice etc.). Luckily nothing bad happened so we carried on, but the roads seemed to disappear which meant the remaining 10 hours was spent vibrating as the bus sped along dirt tracks.
Day 1
After absolutely no sleep we arrived in Uyuni and had some was freezing. Still traveling with a couple from the Inca Trail, we hooked up with our tour company and got put in a jeep - luckily filled with only 6 people instead of 7 so plenty of room. Unfortunately (probably moreso for them) we were put with two old French people.
We set out in the jeep and first stop was an old train graveyard, of course we clambered over them like it was a giant play area! We went on to stop at a small town where artisans were trying to flog anything you can imagine made from salt. Surprisingly enough, the ground did taste of salt. Driving over the Salar de Uyuni was awesome - simply mile upon mile of....salt. We stopped off at a holtel / museum made intirely of salt which was quite interesting. Then we drove to Isla Incahuasi, an island in the middle of the salt flats filled with Cacti, some of which are over 1000 years old. We did a walking tour to the top of the island and had views over miles of plain white. After this we drove into the middle of nowhere and took some perspective photos sitting on pringles tins etc. We weren{t particularly good at this as you probably can see.
We were told the accomodation and food were going to be pretty dire so were not looking forward to the night. For some reason however we were put up in a immaculate salt hotel - everthing was made of salt including the beds, walls, tables, chairs, etc. etc... The food was good and we got free wine!


Day 2

We had to get up early and headed away from the salt flats over arid lands whete the scenery changed to mountains and volcanoes. We drove to some lagoons where there were loads of flamingos feeding on the mineral rich waters. The best lagoon that we visited was Laguna Colorada, which, as you can see from the photos is red in colour. After this we headed to our hotel for the second night. As the sun set temperatures dropped massively to around -20, not nice. The hotel wasnt as nice as the first one but still far better than expected. We went to bed pretty early as the following morning we had to get up before sunrise.


Day 3

Alarms went off at 5, it was so cold during the night we all slept in what we were to go out in so it was simply a case of rolling out of bed into the jeep. WeŽd never been so cold but the stars in the sky were brilliant, and we had hot springs to look forward to! The drive down to the first set of geezers was freezing. When we got there it was worth it, though the smell was bloody awful. We drove on to the Hot springs - ice surrounding water that was around 30 degrees. Liz and Fi stayed in the jeep while Dave and I had a cold run (still well into the minus degrees) and jumped in to watch the sun rise in the warm. After about 40 minutes we had to get out - surprisingly it wasnt as bad as getting in and we dried off and had breakfast.

After eating we headed to Laguna Verde, nearly 5000m in altitude, a lagoon with green waters overlooked by a huge volcanoe nearly 6000m high.

This was one of the best tours weŽve done, though bloody freezing. The whole thing only set us back just over 50 quid so great value as well! We finnished the tour and boarded a bus to San Pedro de Atacama, in the middle of the desert.........................

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