Salt Flats Tour, Tupiza to Uyuni, Bolivia


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South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Tupiza
December 9th 2013
Published: December 9th 2013
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Our 4 day tour began in the town of Tupiza, which is surrounded by mountainous, jagged red rocks. The town depends mainly on agriculture and mining. Due to it standing at 2,950m above sea level the temperature can drop to freezing at night, but was late 20's in the day.

We then drove in the jeep up the narrow mountain paths until we reached an incredible view point. The mines can provide minerals such as silver, lead and gold. We then chased some llamas across some fields and headed to a little village where we had a kickabout and some lunch. It was so hard to breath as we were then 4,500m above sea level and the air was so thin. After lunch we headed to the Ghost Town which was used for mining but is now apparently cursed. It just looked like some old stone ruins to me, and hopefully it's not haunted because Freeman climbed up some of it and knocked half a wall down... Our final stop of the day was the Morejon Lagoon which is 4,855m above sea level. The lake is fed by snowmelt from the mountains and contains Borax which is used to make glass. That night we played football with some local kids in the village we stayed and just played cards after we were left gasping for air after five minutes. When it went dark I went outside and the number of stars was astonishing, it looked like a picture from NASA! I had never seen so many stars before and it was amazing to see, unfortunately my camera couldn't pick them up.

Day 2 began at a llama farm which must of had around 50 llamas that they sell for $500 US each, this gally must be balling for a Bolivian! We then visited a couple of lagoons, one which stunk of rotten eggs due to its sulphur content and the other was a stunning turquoise colour. Then came the best part of the day, the thermal water of polques where hot water bubbles to the surface. We lay in the warm water before lunch which felt incredible after being sat in a jeep for so many hours and not having a shower for two days. After lunch we went to the Morning Sun Geyser Basin which is a volcanic basin where boiling, bubbling mud and gases shoot out of the ground, it stunk as well! The final stop of the day was Laguna Colorada which is red in colour due to the presence of plankton and algae in the water. Back at our hostel we ended up having a few beers and some red wine so I went to bed slightly worse for wear...

First stop on day 3 was the Stone Tree which doesn't sound too impressive but it was good. The rock has eroded more at the bottom as the rock is softer which gives it the shape of a tree, it looks like it should fall over. We then did a bit of rock climbing around the area which I enjoyed as exercise had been at a minimum and we got some good views from the top. We then visited a chain of lagoons which had started to get a bit boring but we stopped for lunch in a rocky area looking out to a semi-active volcano, you could just see some gases escaping from the top. After dealing with lunch we headed to another village called San Juan where we entered an extremely weird graveyard, the graves were built up out of the ground from rocks but had openings where you could look in and see the skeletons. That evening we stayed in a hostel made entirely from salt and salt blocks, we were all tired and had to be up at 4:30 the next day so we had an early night.

Our your guide, Obi, banged on our door at 4:30 the next morning which we were not impressed with, however it would soon be worth it as we drove to the salt flats and watched the sun rise. After the sunrise we went to Incahuasi Island which has over 6,000 cacti on it. We hiked around the island and got some good photos and then one of the lads, George, pretended to bum a wild llama which made such a funny photo! We then built out names out of salt blocks and then drove to the middle of the salt flats to get our pictures where you get no depth perception which gives you the chance to get some good photos being giants etc etc. We visited another salt hotel where a group of local girls treated us like celebrities and had a few photos with us, they loved it! Obi and our cook then dropped us off in the town of Uyuni, it had been an epic 4 days with incredible scenery but I was ready for a good scrub in the shower and back to a big town where we could go out and party, next stop, La Paz!


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