Almost start of Salt Flat Tour, night in a salt hotel instead

Salar de Uyuni Travel Blog

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Not much to the town of Uyuni, but there were random people playing musical instruments wandering the street

So with my backpack loaded up, having arrived at Uyuni around 9 am (left about 7:30ish the previous night), so about 1 14 hour freezing bus ride, I was off to find a salt flat tour.  In a perfect world I would have had a tour sorted out, but that's the trade off of being able to travel this flexibly, I was confident I'd find a spot on a tour somewhere.

Firstly I tried the Emprexsa agency as that had some good traveller feedback but unfortunately they had no tours today, strike one. Fortunately second time is a charm and I wandered in to Cordiella who said they did have one running.   I ended up paying US$65 for a 3 day/2 night tour, I think there were a few tours around for slightly less but I think the lower the price, the more likely your jeep will break down in the middle of nowhere, so it seems worth US$10.

The tour starts with guide stopping the car and saying 'Train cemetery, ten minutes' So I guess we quickly look at trains...
Shortly after I arrived two English girls Lousia nd Emma booked in too, I managed to subtley indicate they were being charged $5-$10 more than me so we were off to a good start.  These two girls seemed like grat travel companions, Louisa Elkington (20, 2nd year History at Oxford) and Emma Parr (2nd year Maths/Stats at Oxford) so the tour was taking shape.

Then APPARENTLY our 'until known unseen' 4th person phoned in with altitude sickness so we couldn't start the tour today.  We had the choice of spending the night in a salt hotel or stayin in Uyuni, then start the tour tomorrow, with 2 or 3 others to meet us then.

There certainly wasn't a lot to Uyuni (other than random colorful costumes and people playing instruments everywhere) so a night in a slat hotel sounded like a novel expereince!

We wouldn't head towards our hotel just yet, but fortunatley Cordiella tour company was able to strike a deal that would let us shower in the hotel Avenida.

Quite dark, but I'm in there somewhere
  Strangely enough after 14 hours freezing  in a bus in all my layers of clothing I needed a shower, and I was praying it was hot (it was!).

After a safe pizza lunch in a cafe playing 80s retro music (didn't quite fit!) we were in to a jeep and heading towards the salt flat.  First stop was a train graveyard which was these train carriages in the middle of nowhere, quite a sight really.  Next stop was a salt processing factory, which is essentially lots of little piles of salt which people put togehter with some sort of pick-like tool, that does not seem like fun!

Finally we were driving out across the salt flats which is so surreal, and well worth doing.  I remember hearing the salt flats described to me and didn't quite understand why it would be good to be in the middle of nothing, but you feel like you're in another world, and I can't recommend it enough!  We arrived at our hotel, which was entirely made of salt!  The chairs, the tables, the bed is salt (fortunatley with a mattress on top!) it's all quite strange.

Emma and Louisa clamber around the trains too

We wandered outside with some tea in hand and watched the sunset over the salt flats, I'm not sure I'll see a more surreal sight, just spectacular scenery, it really fools your senses :)  Definitely a place where sunglasses are a necessity though.

I'm not sure if it was the fact that I spent the previous night on a bus, or something about the chill in the air and the salt-bed but I had one of the best night's sleeps of my travels here.

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Not much to the town of Uyuni, but…
Not much to the town of Uyuni, bu…
The tour starts with guide stoppin…
The tour starts with guide stoppi…
Quite dark, but Im in there somew…
Quite dark, but I'm in there some…
Emma and Louisa clamber around the…
Emma and Louisa clamber around th…
These guys make piles of salt for …
These guys make piles of salt for…
The salt hotel where we slept, mad…
The salt hotel where we slept, ma…
Stuck my finger in this pool of wa…
Stuck my finger in this pool of w…
The shadows drift off in to nothin…
The shadows drift off in to nothi…
Emma and Louisa appreciated the ho…
Emma and Louisa appreciated the h…
Quite a surreal sunset in that lan…
Quite a surreal sunset in that la…
Then an incredibly pink sky
Then an incredibly pink sky
Salar de Uyuni
photo by: Morle