Salar De Uyuni

Plaza de Armas - Potosi

Plaza de Armas – Potosi

The plan was to go to Bolivia’s capital Sucre but due to political tensions & the unavoidable road blocks, I could only go as far as Potosi, a city 3h west of Sucre.  Potosi is a small mining town at 4090m above sea level & although I thought I wouldn’t suffer from the altitude, the altitude sickness got me and I had to stay a couple of days in bed feeling nauseous. The thing to do in Potosi was the coöperative mining tour with a 2km tour inside some of the oldest mines of the Cerro Rico with a taste of the local Ch’alla (toast with alcohol), coca leaves & cigarettes in honour of the ‘Tata Ckacchu’ El Tio (Silver’s Owner).  It was supposed to be good but I didn’t make it & when I heard the Sucre situation hadn’t change after 3 days, I decided to go on & make my way to Uyuni.

Uyuni

Uyuni

Uyuni lies 4h west of Potosi and is not the prettiest town but it’s the getaway to the breathtaking ‘Salar De Uyuni’. At arrival I strolled around town and stayed in Hotel Avenida (35Bs), a nice hotel in front of the old train station and next to all the travel agencies where all the tours depart. I chose a 3d/2n tour with ‘Olive Tours’ for 650Bs.  Not the best agency in town but it was ok. I couldn’t wait to depart and was very keen to see all the beauty out there!  The 4×4 jeeps for the Salar De Uyuni tours are always for max. 6-people and so I met my fellow travellers Barbara from Brasil, Christina & Ulricke from Germany and finally Coos & Marcia from the Netherlands.

Uyuni's old train cemetery

Uyuni’s old train cemetery

Our driver & guide was Miguel. Christina & Ulricke met Colten from Texas & Olie from UK in Potosi, 2 guys who bought a van in Colombia and travelled South -America ever since. They would follow us with their van because they were not at ease to drive on their own through the vast salt flats on their own. Especially sue to the fact that their van broke down a day earlier. So once set, we all drove off to the incredible ‘Salar De Uyuni’. Our first stop was the Old Train Cemetary, just outside of town before driving to the small town of Colchani where the houses were made of salt bricks and where I bought some beautiful ‘salt’ souvenirs from the locals.

Salar De Uyuni

Salar De Uyuni

Once done, it was time for the highlight of the trip, the salt flats! We entered the flats right outside of Colchani where we first could admire the small salt pyramids made by locals for own use. After lunch, Miguel raced on the white crystal surface to Isla Pescado (30Bs) a beautiful island among others with a huge amount of cacti situated in the middle of the vast salt area. Breathtaking views on the salt flats when we hiked to the top of the island.  To end our first day, we drove to ‘Cuevas Galaxias’ where we enjoyed a breathtaking sunset reflecting on the white salt surface in beautiful Salar De Uyuni.  Afterwards we drove to Posada Cora’, a salt hotel in Puerto Chuvica.  An adventure on itself when we experienced the freezing temperatures inside. No heating spotted & hot showers were an option (10Bs)

Oli & Colten in the Siloli desert

Oli & Colten in the Siloli desert

After a cold night & a basic breakfast, we left for the Siloli desert passing Salar de Chiguana, Volcan Ollague and the lagoons Canapa, Hedionda where we spotted some flamingo’s.  After lunch we drove by laguna Chiarcota, Ramaditas & stopped at Arbol de Piedra..  Last stop was Laguna Colorada with a reddish color before we drove to our ‘hotel’.  The hotel was extremely basic, containing just concrete walls and ondulated plates as roof with no isolation nor heating!  At 21.30, right after a simple dinner, all lights & power were shut off.  Sleeping with temperatures of -5C to -10C was a real challenge, just how I like it…

With Coos, Marcia, Ulricke, Christina, Miguel & Barbara @ Laguna Verde

With Coos, Marcia, Ulricke, Christina, Miguel & Barbara @ Laguna Verde

After a rather untasty breakfast, we left for our third & last day starting at the geisers. The bravest amongst us enjoyed a hot water spring too. I must say it was freezing but once in the hot spring it felt like heaven!  Our last stop after driving through the Salavador Dali desert & passing the Lincancabur volcano  was the white & green lagoon.  Again breathtaking views with snowy volcanoes in the background.  After a group photo at the green lagoon, Miguel switched into turbo mode and raced to the Chilean border where we would go our seperate ways after a fantastic adventure.  Coos & Marcia drove back to Uyuni with Miguel while the rest of us were transferred to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Salar De Uyuni”
  1. Michelle says:

    What an amazing place!!
    I am a travel enthusiastic and is awesome to see the places where u have been!!
    Hope i can do it one day as well 😀

    Also i was trying to read something about you, like how did u planned this trip and how did u afford it 😛

    Have fun on your amazing journy!
    Regards

    • I’m sure you can 😉 It was a fantastic journey indeed… Unfortunately it’s almost over for me! 2013 will remain in my memories forever 🙂

      Actually, I didn’t plan that much… Just figured out which countries I really wanted to see, took a year off at work and bought an around-the-world ticket. And afterwards my plan was… No plan! Just go with the flow! 🙂

      How did I afford it… well, simply by working and saving money for this incredible journey! 😉

      Good luck and if you have more questions, just e-mail me or add me on Facebook

      Didier

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