The Salt Flats of Bolivia - Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni Travel Blog› entry 51 of 107 › view all entries
After a day of driving to the town of Potosi we then drove on to the main attraction of Bolivia - the Salt flats in the south of the country. The drive to Uyuni town was on some very rough roads but the scenery along the way was very interesting. There were lots of mountains as well as green areas, but also some of the terrain was very barren and reminded us again of scences that you may see on the moon!
Uyuni town itself was very quiet, and very small but quite a charming place. Andrei took the opportunity to shave off his goatee at the local barbers and later on we enjoyed probably the best pizza in South America at the Minuteman Pizza restaurant in our hotel!
The next day our 2 day tour of the salt plans began. We were allowed to have a lie in until 10.30am, so we were all in a good mood when we woke up! We set off in 2 jeeps to explore the planes. The drive to the salt flats only took about 10 mins, and the scenery changed dramatically from dust and gravelly roads to a brilliant white expanse that streteched out for miles in front of us. It was really spectacular, expecially set against the clear blue sky. We visited a hotel made of salt that is no longer used for people to stay in, but is a tourist attraction, and then drove on to the cactus Island called Incahausi. This used to be a coral reef years ago. We climbed to the top of the hill on the Island to see the view from above, which again was really amazing.
As we drove along we stopped in another area of the planes where water remained on the surface of the ground and produced some great reflections of the mountains. One of our jeeps drove our cook onto the guest house to prepare our dinner for us, while we stayed and took lots of perspective shots. We watched the sun set and waited for the other Jeep to return so we could get warm in our accommodation for the night. It was pretty cold!
Our jeep arrived and so we drove off leaving the other group to finish taking pictures and then meet us at the hostel. However, after about 45 mins to an hour they had still not returned back to the hostal so we were starting to get a bit worried. They strolled in with the story that their jeep had gotten stuck in a ditch and they had to be rescued from it by another passing local. Consequently they had left all their bags in the jeep in a hurry and so had nothing to change into. We were also missing our driver Steve-o who was helping the guide dig out the jeep. Steve-o eventually turned up at about 8pm, so we were relieved to see him. We had dinner and then at about 9pm the lights went out, as there is only a limited supply of electricity to the hostel. So all we could do was sit and wait for the rest of the bags and the guides to come back to the hotel. So we waited and waited...and waited some more and then eventually Claire and Steve-o drove out to see what was going on, and to help some more in digging out the jeep. They returned around 10.45pm bags and guides in toe !
The next day, after an ok sleep considering how cold the room we were staying in was, we left to drive to see a volcano in another part of the salt planes. I decided not to climb this one, but some of our group did. The view just part way up the road to the summit was good enough for me. After lunch we drove back for 3 hours to the town of Uyuni, Our jeep had a very suspicious petrol smell the whole way back, which was very unpleasant for 3 hours!
In the evening we treated ourselves to another feast of Pizza at the Minuteman pizza place!