Salt Lakes and Southern Bolivia

Uyuni Travel Blog

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the vehicle for our travels around the bolivian desert

We put all our trust in a guy called Raul in La Paz, for our trip down to the salt plains (the guide books say don´t do this ever) but you don´t really have a lot of choice. Then on the day we were leaving (at 10am) we still didn´t have our tickets for the train or bus. Raul turned out to be a very cool dude though and he came down to the station and sorted everything out and sent us on our way. Its a long trip down to uyuni where the tours start and most people don´t come back to La Paz (like we would) but head into chile or argentina from there. We took the trip with two aussies and two new zealanders so no communication barriers or antyhing like that to deal with, actually everything being so familiar was quite fun for a change.

 

It took 12hrs to get there which meant arriving late at night but as Raul had suggested we were met by a lady from our tour company who organised accomodation, which was convenient considering the timing and it was absolutely freezing (as usual AC was wearing shorts so he really felt the cold when we got out of the train late at night, I had a ridicullous amount of clothes but I was still freezing).

the view across the plains
We were at elevation approx 3660m and in the middle of the desert theres not alot to keep the heat there over night.

 

The next morning we set off with our very shy spanish speaking guide Orlando, and all six of us in a 1980 Toyota Landcruiser. Eveything we owned was strapped to the roof plus gas bottles etc for sooking and food for the trip.

 

The tour ran for three days and took us through the salt flats; stunning white in every direction which made for awesome pics in contrast with the sky, inlcudung the salt hotle made entirely from salt and a very random cactus island in the middle complete with cactus at 10m high.

saddle up cowboy, in the salt museum
We also visited the red and green lakes of far southern bolivia and saw an amazing number of flamingoes. One morning while the air was still freezing at 7am (-5C or so) we visitied hot spring which were 38 degrees. We only put the legs and hands in because we were horrified at the thought of getting changed back into our clothes at this temp! We stayed in ´basic´accomodation (Raul had warned us) but it wasn´t all that bad. A few of our team were freezing even with sleeping bag and blankets. The temp got down to -15 over night.

 

The trip was great, the road a bit rough at times, but the great thing was that Orlando loved his car, which meant we didn´t break down or blow a tyre (we had heard horror stories of blowoing 8 or 9 tyres in a day from others who had done the trip). In fact we helped fix up a very dodgy 4WD (which apparently the boys said had the 4WD ability removed from it and only three brakes) and helped it on its way. The trip back to La Paz took about 24hrs but we won´t go into that story... you meet alot of people when there are transport delays though,

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the vehicle for our travels around…
the vehicle for our travels aroun…
the view across the plains
the view across the plains
saddle up cowboy, in the salt muse…
saddle up cowboy, in the salt mus…
salt!
salt!
working with the salt
working with the salt
little llama, cost us money though…
little llama, cost us money thoug…
outside the salt hotel, completely…
outside the salt hotel, completel…
lunch on the salt plains
lunch on the salt plains
the cactus ´island´ in the middl…
the cactus ´island´ in the midd…
lots of cactus
lots of cactus
this one wasn´t even the biggest!
this one wasn´t even the biggest!
view from the cactus island across…
view from the cactus island acros…
this way
this way
there was water over some of the s…
there was water over some of the …
nice sun setting on the mountains,…
nice sun setting on the mountains…
orlandon our guide working hard on…
orlandon our guide working hard o…
lots of vicanu ( a relative of the…
lots of vicanu ( a relative of th…
flamingoes aplenty in the desert
flamingoes aplenty in the desert
our team for the salt plains all a…
our team for the salt plains all …
the tree rock
the tree rock
the red lake, with lots of flaming…
the red lake, with lots of flamin…
the road ahead, very bumpy most of…
the road ahead, very bumpy most o…
red lake
red lake
view across the desert it was abso…
view across the desert it was abs…
Hot springs at 4500m. Its was belo…
Hot springs at 4500m. Its was bel…
the green lake. 5000m and absolute…
the green lake. 5000m and absolut…
geyser a natural phenomonon, not a…
geyser a natural phenomonon, not …
This was the best feeling in the f…
This was the best feeling in the …
the train greaveyard in uyuni. App…
the train greaveyard in uyuni. Ap…
one of the communities we past thr…
one of the communities we past th…
good spot for the llamas to stand.…
good spot for the llamas to stand…
Uyuni
photo by: razorriome