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Published: September 26th 2018
Day three was dubbed the rock climbing day as again we were the first of the groups to set off in the morning following a pancake breakfast (better than the stale bread we had the second morning).
We stopped at various sites, a rock resembling the football world cup and a camel which we climbed on to. Also another group of rock formations where Hoshin our guide got us to climb up 50 meters for a view!
We also visited a tiny part of a huge rock landscape that stretches many kilometers. Here we climbed up for a view of a small lake which forms the shape of South America. It was a perfect sunny day and good for some reflective shots!
Our final stop before lunch was called the Anaconda, a windy lake in a deep canyon and yes you guessed it, we had to walk on to rocks for the view!
Lunch saw an introduction of some red wine and a secluded place far away from the other jeeps.
We made our way north to the salt flats via some beer tasting at julaca where we had some cactus and quinoa beer (quinoa being the main staple
food amd agriculture that they produce in this region). The cactus beer tasted ok but a bit of a sharp taste for me!
Eventually we got to the edge of the salt flats to where our accommodation was at around 4, and finally, before setting off to see the sunset in the salt flats, we got to have a hot shower and get rid of that never ending dust that got in to all nooks and crannies!
With the vast expanse (220km by 180km) of white in a cold setting you would think that the salt flats resemble snow but it's the opposite! It's completely hard, like concrete that hasn't been smoothed over. The salt flats are a constant source of salt that ascends to the surface and it has a depth as far as 300 meters. The flats are so big that you don't feel crowded even when other jeeps are about. I even tasted the salt and can verify its real salt!
It was then back to the salt hotel (blocks of salt instead of bricks) for more wine and even lasagne, the food appeared to be getting better each time!
Hoshin also explained the
plan for the following day, usually other groups get up very early to get to the top of a cactus island to see the sunrise, but in his opinion it didn't make a difference where on the flats you saw the sunrise. We left a little bit later than other groups and watched the sunset from the salt flats ground not too far away from the island, therefore avoiding the crowd on top of the island and enjoying a relatively empty view!
Plus with the suns rays hitting the hexagonal patterns of the salt made for some amazing scenery.
By the time we got to the island, all those people were coming down and there weren't many people up the top of the island for us. The top gives great 360 degree views of the salt flats and amazing cactuses that are dotted around the island.
Mathias didn't join us up the top as he had tried to back flip when watching the sunrise but slipped on the landing and hit the hard serrated surface head first, giving himself many scratches and a small concussion! He soon purked up slightly during the day but how unfortunate for him!
groups have breakfast at the bottom of the island and then disappear in to the white expanse to take the classic perspective photos. Our group spent two hours doing those photos and Hoshin was amazing! He knew exactly how to take the photos from his years of experience and even refined our positions and gave us ideas! He was so patient and was willing to give us time even to the point where no other jeeps were around and others had long since departed!
He even went out of his way to find an area with some water (usually water is only for December and January but somehow there was some about) so we could take some reflective photos! He really was a great guy and we were so thankful and lucky to have such a professional and kind driver/guide!
Our final time on the salt flats was for lunch and then to Uyuni which is quite the horrible looking town with rubbish used for roundabouts. We said our goodbyes to the group as they all got off at Uyuni and we continued with Hoshin back to Tupiza. It had been a long day from 5.30am to 7pm.
You could tell Hoshin was quite tired, credit to him, long days driving, guiding and preparing! He does a tour for four days and has one day off then does another four day tour, this is repeated all year round as he (and most Bolivians) don't get holidays! What a life, especially with a family and being 35 years old!
About 900kms driven, four days, plently of amazing places and landscapes seen and we can say it was one of the best tours we've ever done, especially on this trip!
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