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Too Much Salt!!!

Our 4WD trip through the Salt Flats to San Pedro De Atacama. The landscape is crazy! I will let the photos do most of the talking.

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We arrived in Uyuni and wondered where the tumbleweeds were. That was all that was needed to make the ghost town seem like it was out of a Western. We had been on a bus for the last 8 hours and had gone through electrical storms and hail to get there from Sucre.


It was straight off to book into our hostel for the night. It again looked like a saloon in an old western and creaked like it was that vintage as well. The bed was comfortable though so we were fairly happy.
We opted to booked our trip through the salt flats with Red Planet. I am not one that enjoys leaving things to chance so I had booked with them directly via their website rather than turning up the day before and hoping they had space. We had asked our guide which companies he would recommend and most had said Red Planet or Quecha Connections if you wanted an English speaking guide. They cost more but you are less likely to have the horror story that can occur on the flats. There have been a few horror stories we have heard about...crashes, drunk drivers, drivers falling asleep, drivers not going to all the amazing locations you are meant too and of course breakdowns.


Our worries were instantly gone when we saw our vehicle and met our driver, Ron. Ron was amazing. He had been doing the trip for about 4 years now and was a trained maths teacher. We were lucky and had only another three people in the vehicle with us. Luis, Pedro and Lillian were all from Portugal and spoke Spanish and English. They were awesome people and we had a great time with them. Like us they loved taking photos and so we were all more than happy to make extra stops and battle the weather (cold) to get some amazing images!


Our first stop was the Train Cemetery. This is where numerous locomotives that were used when mining occurred are now laying to rest and rusting. I wish I had known how close it was to Uyuni as we would have gone by ourselves when it was deserted. It was difficult to get the true magnificence of the site when there were people all over the trains. I spent ages looking at all of the pieces and on the swing that has been made between two of them.


We continued on stopping at a village on the edge of the salt flats where they process salt for Bolivia. Bolivia doesn't export the salt as the value in salt is not enough to make exporting a successful prospect. Although salt is not a important resource for Bolivia any more the salt flats hold one of the biggest lithium reservoirs in the world. Lithium is an in-demand element as it is vital for making things like batteries. At present Bolivia is considering if it should start harvesting from this reservoir to export.


Our next stop was on the salt flats, where we saw another Dakar sign. Dakar is the race through the desert and it is a big deal here. They really want to keep it in this area. At this point we were on the salt flats and it was bright! The cars everywhere looked like you could just pick them up as they seemed to be floating on the salt.


We did the silly out of proportion photos and continued on to Inca Wasy or fish island. The island is one of the few in the desert. This one is covered in coral and cactus. The views around are stunning! We continued on and stopped at a salt harvesting area for the sunset. It was freezing cold but we were given a stunning sunset and made Ron stop numerous places along the way as the sky lit up.


We had our own room that night in a basic hotel. The next morning we were going into the national park. We stopped at a few ghost towns that it looked like they should be a part of a zombie movies before getting to view volcanos and numerous lagoons on the way. .


The lagoons were full of flamingos and surrounded by stunning landscapes. As we continued to drive higher and higher (we reached 5000m) our landscape changed along the way, we went through scrub to desert, from colourful terrain to sand.


We eventually got into the national park and went straight to Laguna Colorada also known as the red lake. The flamingos were vivid pink and beautiful due to the algae they eat. For the lake to go red it needs a combination of wind and sun to make the reaction occur.


We continued along and made it to Sol de MaƱana or the geysers on sunset. The boys took numerous funny shots and acted like they were 10 before we continued on.


We arrived at our accommodation for the night as the sun was setting. The view was stunning and rivalled the spectacle we had the night before.


That evening we got the luxury of relaxing in a natural spa pool under the stars with a massive full moon. It was beautiful! The next day we headed to the green lake...and it wasn't green. It is only green when it has the combination of wind and sun just like the red lake. We had the sun but it was perfectly still. Instead of the green we got stunning reflections. They were glorious! We again made Ron stop along the way for more shots. By this point if he saw a camera out of the window he didn't even ask he just stopped for us.


We had a transfer to San Pedro de Atacama at the border rather than heading back to Uyuni. It was quiet a change. It was hot and dry when we arrived in San Pedro. Our first job was to have a shower.


Our two night trip went incredibly fast. Yet again we were lucky and had an amazing group to travel with and we can't wait to go and visit them in Portugal! Oh and the blog title was Lewis favourite thing to say while we were on the flats. :D

Posted by chellebelle 06:01 Archived in Bolivia Tagged salt flamingos uyuni lagoons transfer colorada red_planet geseyers Comments (0)

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