Salar De Uyuni and Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Boliva
Salar de Uyuni Travel Blog› entry 8 of 11 › view all entries
May 22nd, 2010 – by: wolfrelic
No horrible bus stories here, just another night of restless half sleep.
Most of these Salar tours are conducted in old Landcruisers loaded with gringos. I got lucky and got tossed in with a group of really nice people. Seven of us in total, three Frenchies, and three bubbly chicks from Israel, fresh off of their mandatory two year military service.
Our first stop was the Train Graveyard just outside of town. Some cool visuals involving run down rust buckets, but the place was packed with tourists and i wasn´t able to spend much time there looking around in silence.
Next up was the main attraction of the day, the Salar de Uyuni. Imagine a sea chilling in the mountains a million years ago. A volcano erupts filling the sky with ash and the sea dries up. All that´s left is a thick crust of white salt that looks a bit like snow. That´s the Salar, stretching 150 kilometers north to south and a 100 to east and west. It is a amazing sight, bright blue skies blending into white salt, leaving you with a feeling of total isolation. Well, except for the Landcruiser you are in, and the people sitting in the back seats. Aside from that...alone, with endless white in all directions.
We traveled over this terrain for a few hours, stopping occasionally to take pictures.
Sundown was magnificent, and the Salar revealed itself to be as varied in color as the Colca Canyon. The skies blazed in orange, yellow, purple, and blue, the green cacti, the white salt, every color of the rainbow. Spectacular and impossible to really describe.
We spent the night in a quaint Salt Hostel at the edge of the Salar, eating hot soup to try and recover form the bitter wind, and getting to know one another. The electricity went out at 9 sharp, but i was already alseep by then. I am happy to report that i FINALLY was able to get a decent night´s rest, and i wasn´t all that upset when we were woken up at 6am to continue our journey.
Our second day took us to ridiculous altitudes to view desert and volcano, with our destination being La Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avora (REA). We stopped often to walk around and take pictures like proper tourists, but the wind was vicious and biting, and mixed with the natural cold of the altitude we found ourselves being chased back to the Landcruiser more often and much faster than anyone would have liked.
The kilometers eased by and the desert changed from every color brown and tan that you can think of. The volcanic mountains that surrounded us were caked with a red dust, and the whole day had a very Martian feel to it. We arrived at La Reserva around three, and observed flamingo and llama playing by the edges of a lake.
We were woken at 5 in the morning. The temperature never quite reached negative 50, but stood at a balmy neg 35.
By 8 the sun was coming up and we were at a series of thermal springs. Deciding to be daring i stripped in the frigid air and eased myself into the hot spring. Such a pleasure. My feet defrosted and i sighed in relief. The joy was short lived, however, as we were tempted with breakfast and a soon to be leaving Landcruiser.
I found out. You do it FAST.
The final destination of my trip was the Verde Lake, at the base of the Licancabur volcano, some 6,000 meters tall. On the other side...Chile.
I was bused from there to the Chile/Bolivia border, where i caught a collectivo to my next stop, San Pedro de Atacama Chile.
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