Back to Basics - Bolivia style!

Published: September 9th 2013
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Tupiza to Uyuni

With sore muscles we never knew we had, from the horseriding, we jumped into a 4x4 jeep with two ozzies, a cook, and a guide and started our 4 day trip covering the south of Bolivia which on day 4 we end up at Salar de Uyuni.

Day 1

The first day was spent mostly in the jeep covering as much distance as possible - we climbed and climbed and looked down the sheer drops of the rugged landscape which was more like dessert than what we imagined from Bolivia- which was rainforest...We all had our first of many "baños naturales" experiences (going to the toilet outside, without ANY cover), and saw lots of llamas, alpacas, deer and birds.

We stayed in rooms in a remote village which was up high and met the rest our group. It consisted of a Canadian, two english girls and two swiss ladies. We were obviously having too much fun as we failed at further international relations by upsetting the French by being too loud. A quick slap on the wrist and we stayed up until very late at night, (by remote villages standards that´s 9pm).

Day 2

After a relatively warm nights sleep we were up and out on the road/dirt track by 8am and carrying on with the sights, fun, and our cooks favourite playlist. Big love to basshunter (sang in Spanish - like a lot western songs), his tenticles stretch even to Bolivia! Ha! The second day was full of treats, which ranged from a mini salt flat with some flamingos on and Volcan Licanabur (which is at 5,916 metres high- for reference the highest mountain in the Uk in 1000metres!) - a huge turquiose coloured lagoon overshawdowed by a volcano !Wowzers!..there were lots of fluorescent-colored lakes that have been created from a collection of different minerals from runoff from the surrounding mountains. We were then taken to a hugh thermal bath (the only chance for some sort of cleaning action!) which was lovely and warm which we relaxed in before heading to an enormous geyser field.

Here they dont have ´do not come close´ ´stay behind this line´signs and we could see right into the geysers and their boiling water which looked like boiling grey paint!...l suppose with a few more people walking on this area, the already very soft ground will fall through resulting in ´death of a gringo´ signs being put up!..but for now we were right amongst it! great!..The second night got a bit chilly - Minus 20 !!! But we were at 5,000metres!) we were ´proper´ freezing and l wore most of my clothes to bed - luckily l had some sleeping tablets left so after having one of those l managed to sleep through the night!..

Day 3

We were back on the road by 8am again and this day consisted of seeing more lagoons, ending with an amazing one which was filled with pink flamingos, hundreds of them..very beautiful. We also visited Arbol de Piedro (the tree of stone) and a red lagoon. On this night we stayed on the edge of the salt flats in the aptly named ´Salt hotel´ which is (you guessed it) entirely made of salt bricks. It was quite special to stay here and it also meant that to watch the sunrise over the salt flats the next day we wouldnt have to get up too early as we were pretty much on the outskits of the 10,000 sq KM of salt flats!

International relations hit a record low again tonight - we were having too much fun again! Who thought laughing and enjoying each other´s company would be frowned on so much!?, but never mind, tomorrow was the great reveal of the salt flats which was all that mattered.

Day 4

We were up at 4.30 and managed to get ourselves together in time to watch sunrise over the salt flats. In one word...BRILLIANT!... As far as our eyes could reach we saw...SALT! This salt is also up to 11 metres thick, we were surrounded!

We got an even better view of the SALT from an island which is slap bang in the middle, called Incahuasi Island, which is covered entirely in cacti and is where the original but not very friendly to the envrionment original ´Salt hotel´ is so was closed down. We ate breakfast here and warmed up before taking the obligatory gringo pictures of us jumping and posing in different positions with the scenary in the backgroud (because it looked amazing!), shots playing with different perspectives so that toy dinosaurs were chasing us and we even managed to spell out Uyuni with our body shapes! All fun and games!

From here we headed up to Uyuni and fared ´bon voyage´ to our ´travelling friends´to await our bus on the infamous road from Uyuni to La Paz. A very cold, and bumpy 12 hour journey we were told!...It certainly was for Craig, but for me, l was all good. A had a belly full of food, and sleeping bag at hand so nested into the journey and when l woke up we were pulling into La Paz bus station! phew!

What we learnt from this 4 day trip;

1) Geology rocks

2) Sleeping tablets warn off the cold

3) Take a sleeping bag on overnight bus journeys

Additional photos below
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