Published: May 31st 2011May 26th 2011
The border crossing is a wooden shack in the middle of nowhere, health and safety doesn´t exist, dead dogs can be found in the street, toilets often have to be flushed with a bucket of water and don´t have toilet paper, the showers are cold... Bienvenido a Bolivia!!! It´s the poorest country in south america and on first impressions it really feels like it, but it´s still a really amazing country.
Like most backpackers travelling around south america we did the famous salt flat crossing from San Pedro De Atacama in Chile to Uyuni in Bolivia. It´s a 3 day, 2 night trip in a 4x4 and it´s epic! Over three days you see Geysers, Lagunas in every colour you can imagine, hot springs, a train graveyard, flamingoes, salt hotels and then finally end at the world´s largest salt flats. There was six of us travelling together in the 4x4 and we were so lucky with our group, everyone was great. So many of the other groups just looked plain miserable!! Before I arrived I´d heard bolivian food wasn´t great, but the food provided on the tour was brilliant, simple but nice and we were never left hungry. We spent the first night in the dessert on tomb like beds. It was so creepy, I thought I was literally on my death bed and didn´t want to go to sleep in case I didn´t wake up. With the hugh altititude, I got quite bad stomach cramps, a slight headache and everytime I tried to exert myself I was really out of breath. Fortunately I didn´t get altitude sickness, but it was so cold none of us took our clothes off for two days. Thankfully our final night was at a hotel in Uyuni. Although it wouldn´t even make a one star rating at home, had padlocks on the doors instead of locks and cold showers, it felt amazing after our first night, I was so happy! Our final day was on the incredible salt flats, we spent two hours trying to get some funny perspective shots. We´d been in the "awesome fun pub" the night before getting inspiration on what shots to take and we were well and truly dedicated to the cause. We got some amazing photos. We even had our ever patient driver taking some for us on top of the 4x4! Bless him, he was great with us!
We finished our epic adventure in an amazing Pizzeria in Uyuni (a lonely planet favourite and rightfully so) before we headed off in our separate directions. I headed to Potosi, the highest city in the world and reknown for it´s silver mines. I´m back travelling solo again now, but not for long I´m sure!