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Published: September 24th 2018
The huge white expanse of Salar de Uyuni, salt flats, has to be the most well known place to visit in Bolivia and I'm sure there aren't many people who would bypass it, why would you?! It's an incredible part of the world!
People either do it as a multi day tour or day trip or the occasional adventurous people cycle there!
For us, we heard that a lot less people do the tour from Tupiza than from Uyuni town (also less people per jeep) and that tours from Tupiza arrive at different times to places than the swarm of Uyuni or San Pedro tours (due to going the opposite direction) so the decision to go from Tupiza was a no brainer even if more costly.
We chose Alexandro Tours from reading some excellent reviews and they already had our attention when they said they leave earlier each day than the other tour companies, therefore avoiding the convoy of other jeeps and intrusion of other people at the various stops! They also tailored the route and bypassed the normal way due to frozen lakes so that we could benefit from the tour!
After finishing the tour, we can
say it was the perfect agency to go with and the tour was absolutely incredible which means that I now have to do two blogs!
There were five of us on the tour plus the driver, Hoshin. Usually there is a cook that accompanies the tours but we didn't have one for some reason.
Our group consisted of two Swiss Germans (Max 21 and Mathias 19 who we called the children of the group, Los Niños), a Frenchy (Billy 43) and us. It was a good mix of ages but meant Anna was the only girl in a male dominated group.
All of us spoke French so it was good for me to continue improving my French skills.
We set off at 6.30 on day one of four (tours from Uyuni are three days) and spent the day visiting various places. The change in landscape and its colours was constant throughout the day as we climbed up to 4800 masl. Almost everywhere there was a view with Llamas and Vicunas as the jeep and us became coated in dust (no paved roads exist).
Hoshin our guide was very nice, patient and knowledgeable and he explained about each place
we visited (in Spanish of course but slowly). He has been guiding these tours for 10 years and knows how to take a good photo! He was always keen to be one step ahead of everyone else and to avoid the other jeeps by leaving earlier or later each day.
We visited incredible land formations and lansdcapes plus a deserted town dubbed the Bolivan Machu Picchu. It was hard to resist taking photos of everything as the excitement of day one was dominant.
The sleeping arrangements are basic and shared but all have electricity to be able charge batteries. It gets very cold at night but the tour agency provided us with sleeping bags as extra warmth.
Sleeping was difficult and limited and it was a luck of the draw if you got a comfy bed or a person who didn't snore!
Day two was even more visually stunning once we entered Eduardo Avaroa national park, tucked away in the most south western part of the country. We had stops at a partly frozen lake sprinkled with flamingos and through landscape surrounded by mountains and volcanoes until reaching a natural thermal pool where we were the first
to jump in. it definitley took away the bite of a cold morning.
We then continued on to Laguna Verde and it's background of the cone shaped Lincancabur Volcano which marks the border with Chile. It was absolutely beautiful landscape and colours.
We returned to the thermals for lunch but this time there were about 30 jeeps and a more crowded thermal pool (although in peak season there can be as many as 90 jeeps, I shudder to think how horrible that must be).
The next stop was Laguna Colorado famed for its red lake with hundreds of flamingos. We got really close but flamingos are very cautious and and move away quickly even if you're still a hundred meters away. We got 'told off' by a guide as we had unknowingly walked on some special vegetation but in reality we weren't the first to and won't be the last.
Our last stop was the geysers which were also impressive and a little smelly but with an amazing range of colours.
The days in the jeep are long but somehow go quick. I guess you don't notice the time when you're constantly enthralled in the landscape that stretches
out. It heats up during the day and it's a steady change of jumper on, jumper off or jumper and jacket on.
Day one was amazing but day two was even more spectacular and we still had two days, many kilometres and the grand finale of the Salar de Uyuni to come!
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