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Published: August 4th 2018
I love this place...and let's put it simply, no way I can do a single blog about our Uyuni 3/4 days trip...so you'll just have to suffer three entries. Yes too, I acknowledge that I'm late already blogging and it will only go worst. I'm still replying to a seriously decent amount of emails everyday, so going through the pictures and blogging is done after visiting, replying to email, simply enjoying every moments of life...and there is only 24 hours in a day, with nights that are way too often way too short! Smile!
After some 8 years, I'm back to Bolivia...and specially to Uyuni region, one of the top 10 place for me to visit in the world. Second visit this time, a first for Tanya, but if you ask, yes, we will come back in 10 years!
With nature, there is always something different. I did this trip in July/August the first time....which is winter here for those who are not really sure where to put the Equator line. This being the desert of Atacama, it is normally very very dry. Well, few days before our arrival, they had a storm...and a big
one. Snow poured down all over the place. Temperatures at nights are well below zero, but during day time, it does reach 10 to 12 degrees. Therefore the snow has melt pretty fast all over the place, but not at high altitude. This is exactly where the geysers are. They are on both side of the border, I mean in Chile as well as in Bolivia. For your info, I found the Bolivian ones way more impressive. But up there, close to 5000 meters, the snow is still packed...and there is no way to go up there, even with a proper Land Cruiser. Therefore, this trip will de facto be different from the one I already did. I actually don't mind this. Tanya and I have seen geysers in New Zealand as well as in Yellowstone (plus I did Iceland)...and we are coming back to Uyuni in 10 years!
So here is to a slightly different trip...one with some snow around! First change, instead of leaving around 8am, we have to be ready by 4.30am as we are driving north to cross at Ollargue border as the one next to San Pedro de Atacama is closed with
tons of snow. We drive back next to Calama, than on the way north before reaching the border just after 8am. Huge queues here! The border open at 8.30am, and by 10am, the mini bus is stopping right in between Chile and Bolivia, first for a very nice breakfast, than on to our Land Cruiser for the next coming days. We are traveling with Cordillera. I can only encourage you to contact Flavio, the owner, in San Pedro de Atacama. Prices in 8 years haven't move, but this trip was way more comfortable than what i did few years ago. Next blog, I will come back on the differences between the "backpacker tour", and the "luxury tour"...truly not the same price! We are obviously on the "backpacker tour".
Cordillera work slightly differently from what I did before. Our "group" is composed of 16 people and 3 cars. The "backpacker tour" is normally 6 per car plus the driver and eventually a cook. This is a packed experience. But we are lucky, we only have a driver and 5 of us. This mean, we have sufficient space to enjoy the many hours driving each day...a huge difference! We
are paired with a University teacher and his wife from Holland, as well as a young American teaching primary school in Santiago. Nice crowds. Next car is a family of 5 from Denmark, truly nice and international people. We didn't share much time with the third car guests.
Today, it's basically all about lagunas and flamingos! This place is as gorgeous as ever. My last trip, we had very few flamingos as there was a lot of wind. This trip, we would see thousands of them. They can be approached and are pretty tamed! Would have love to see more flying just above our heads with the camera ready! We are also having a lot of fun with the other guests...which makes it for a perfect trip. Our driver, David is not much talkative, but since a very nice guy...and between us, we have way enough Spanish knowledge to understand anything he has to tell us!
End of the day, it's the tree of stone. It's high, around 4750 meters high...and Tanya doesn't really like it, specially her head, but next day will be better once she is used to it. Arriving from the
Chile side makes it harder as you go up fast. If you spend few days before in La Paz...you suffer there and get used to it by the time you reach Uyuni. Last time, I didn't see much of the "Arbol del Piedra"...as we had a sand storm. Today, it's different, the place is gorgeous and there is some serious amount of snow left.
The night will be spend next to Laguna Colorado. We are seeing our first lamas and vicunas...what a place. No pisco this time with us, but instead some nice Pinot Noir from Chile. Yes, I come organized. Food is very nice, but cold and altitude is kicking in for most people! We share a room with our fellow passengers. This is like way back in our youth...or as the Dutch would put it...it's like a "refuge" in the Alps. It's fun, but none of us has a good night with the altitude! Who cares, we had a beautiful day and tomorrow will be gorgeous too!
more to come...soon! So many pictures to go through!
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