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Published: December 8th 2015
Other worldly is how we would describe our tour through Salar de Uyuni, the salt flats of Southern Bolivia. We ended our stay in Bolivia with an amazing three day trip through some of the most spectacular terrain either of us has ever scene. From the white vistas on the salt flats to the blues, greens and reds of the lagoons, we were on a sensory overdose that kept us high throughout our final days in Bolivia. From there we would cross over the sandy boarder into chile for the next part of our Journey.
Like we've done so many times before, we hopped on an overnight bus to Uyuni which is the starting point of all the salt tours going from north to south. When our bus finally stopped it was 4 am and our tour didn't leave until 10 am but we got lucky and there was a nice lady waiting for people like us who didn't have a place to go that early in the morning. She gathered a group of about 10 people and shuffled us through the empty, dark and cold streets of Uyuni to her little cafe where she served us a hot breakfast
Our last meal in Bolivia....tiramisu the size of a piece of lasagna.
and let us hang out until all the tours began. It seemed like a pretty lucrative business for her and every hour or so she'd bring back another group of tourist who were stranded like the ones before them.
After we ate and washed up we headed off to meet our group of 4 others and a guide. Our group this time was 2 girls from Japan, 2 girls from Spain and Kristine and myself. After some small talk and introductions we hoped in our toyota Land Cruiser, which we would spend a good amount of time in over the next 3 days, and headed off to our first stop, the train graveyard. There wasn't much to this spot other than some rusted out freight trains but it was neat to see in the middle of nowhere. We hoped into some of the empty trains and snapped some pics and then headed off to the famous salar de Uyuni.
We had seen pictures of the salt flats before and it certainly lived up to the hype and excitement we had for this place. It is the largest salt flat in the world at over 4,000 square miles. It
was formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes and it's covered by a few feet of salt crust and it's also a major breeding ground for several species of pink flamingos which we would see later on during our tour. The white of the salty ground and the clear blue sky set up for some picturesque views and it seemed like those were the only two colors that went on for miles. There are no objects to give off depth perception, except the blue sky and white ground so you can creat really unique and quirky photos, which we took plenty of. Once everyone had their fill of photos we hopped back into the truck and headed to an island in the middle of the salt flats. The island slowly got bigger and bigger as we drove and when we arrived we could see all the cacti that littered the island. We got back out of the car to explore and hiked around the entire island with 360 views of the salar. After checking out the island it was time to hop back in and drive 3 hours to our salt hotel for the night. Yes, a
salt hotel.....floor, walls and beds were all made from the salt from the flats. Surprisingly we slept exceptionally well for being in a salt hotel and felt rested for the next two days of the tour.
Day two started with clear skies which lasted the entire day. After eating breakfast we drove through vast desert lands to the first of three lagoons. As soon as we stepped out of the truck we were nailed with a cross breeze that almost knocked us off our feet. We headed back to grab our beanies and an extra layer. The Laguna was filled with pink flamingoes and their colors contrasted with the dark blue of the water and light blue of the sky was a spectacular scene. We could have spent the entire day at just this one spot looking out over the lagoon and taking in all the colors but we had others to see and a lot more ground to cover. The nex two lagunas were similar to the first except instead of blue water, one was a emerald green and the other was a dark copper red and they were all filled with more flamingoes. On the way to
ou next home we wanted to stop and take some pics of the scenery so we hopped out of the truck and were once again almost knocked to our feet from the hurricane like wind that was whipping around. If we had to describe what the middle of nowhere looked like, that particular area would be it. We ended the day with another couple hours in the SUV and a nights stay at a place that wasnt nearly as unique as the previous hotel.
The third and final day was the begining of a tough stretch for me. I was up all night battling stomach issues that would stick around for the better part of the next 7 days but I would have to make another 10 hours before our next bed. We hoped into our second home, the SUV, at 4am and headed to check out geysers and watch the sun rise. If it wasn't so cold when we got to the geysers I think we would have enjoyed them more but we snapped a couple pics and ran back to the car for warmth. Our next stop was a natural spring and our first chance at washing
ourselves off in 3 days. Despite the bitter wind Kristine woukdnt pass up the chance to soak her tired body in the 100 plus degree water, a choice I don't think she regretted. Once again, like so many times before we climbed back into the SUV after warming up in the hot spring and were on our way to the final spot of the tour, Laguna verde. The green lagoon was a bright emerald green made that way from the arsenic that seeped down the mountains and into the lagoon. While it was a very pretty site for the eyes it would be deadly to go for a swim, although with the wind chill I don't think anyone would have any interest even if it wasn't filled with a deadly element. After seeing our final Laguna and fighting the wind on the last day we were ready for our transfer into Chile through San Pedro de Atacama and venture through the driest desert in the world.
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