4) Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat located in southwest Bolivia. These are others salt flats that you should check out. It was an incredible experience, will return in wet season for sure! There is so much to see that it’s hard to share it all in one post, so i hope i have covered everything below. 😀
Salt flats contain approximately 10 billion tons of salt. The environment, which has been described as ‘haunting’, is covered with more than 4,000 square miles of glimmering salt, different from the traditional sand you see in deserts.
Mirror – l highly recommend you to see the reflection, which is like a mirror, it stretches the sky and clouds into the ground you are standing on. The best time to visit is during the wet season. I would love to go there again, since there are so many different angles and picturesque landscapes that it is hard to get bored.
Book the right tour – I have read that there have been many bad experiences when it comes to booking cheap tours online, which can be down to a lack of research, cheap packages and no insurance. Gain better knowledge on these countries, talk to people with experience, visit travel agencies in person so that you can negotiate prices. This helped me to find out that we had a very safe driver booked, which was vital as we did spend a lot of time on the road. It makes your trip easier and the journey more pleasant
Day 1 – We overnighted in Uyuni, the drive taking approximately 4-5 hours from Potosi. It is a small town situated in the middle of nowhere. There is an amazing pizzeria in the little town. I loved that the small town was paved with hard salt, although it was a long walk to the shops, restaurants, and some hotels did offer taxis.
Day 2 – It takes roughly 4 hours to get to Salar de Uyuni. You can see the start of the journey, and how the salt flats pattern start off rough before becoming harder.
Antique train cemetery – a stunning part of the world – I’ve never seen anything like a train graveyard before, much less in the middle of a dry desert. This visit does not cost, and takes less than half an hour before we move on. You can climb up and pretend you are Harrison Ford, although maybe don’t jump on top of the trains!
The engineers were invited by British sponsored Antofagasta and Bolivia Railway Companies. These trains were broken, rusted, ruined and abandoned in 1892. My thought was rest in peace! There are other train graveyards in other countries too.
Salt flats! Finally we carried on to the salt flats where we spent a couple of hours taking perspective pictures and admiring the sunset. Some drivers kindly stepped in and got involved with this part of the trip, suggesting ideas and playing the photographer. It’s so bright that you can struggle with a smartphone camera, so I was left wishing I had brought a professional camera. The sun seemed to go down very fast and with tight schedule, we couldn’t spend as much time here as I would have liked.
Eco-lodge and a green hotel – We spend the first night in an eco-lodge hotel entirely built from salt! (no steaming hot showers and with eco-toilets), and with sweeping landscapes around. I wish to stay a bit longer and wake up to that amazing view. The rooms themselves are unique, full of little luxuries and stone details. The night can get chilly, but the hotel supplies many blankets. The restaurant was a simple seating area made out of salt, with salt stool and, yes you’ve guessed it, a carpet of salt!
Day 3 – Cactus Island, Lagoons, Flamingos, Mountains, Dali desert and Geysar! – We woke up before dawn, and it was so cold that I almost wished I had a hat and gloves. The drivers did an amazing job with the unmarked roads.
Isla Incahusai / Cactus Island – You can buy tickets to hike between the cacti up and over the top of the hill, to see the scale of the salt flats. The climb is a bit rocky, so wear good footwear, and if you suffer from altitude sickness like I do, you should be OK. It took us half an hour to get to the top, where the air is thinner. Watch out for what you grab on the way up – there are lots of cacti around!
Google told me this was “Fish Island” but unfortunately this is a dried out sea bed. Each of the cacti grow 1cm per year, meaning some are hundreds of years old. I sat next to a very soft llama, my first encounter up close!
Laguna Verde – unlike the name would suggest in Spanish, is not really green. It is a very toxic lake which no animals go near. It is very windy and cold in this area, so dress appropriately. NASA used this lake as part of their experiment for missions to Mars, as this is the only lake in the world with the highest content of lead, sulphur, arsenic and calcium carbonates.
Laguna Colorada –There are lots of beautiful lagoons and this is one of the gems. I spent most of my time in Bolivia with my mouth wide open. A remarkable, unforgettable view thanks to the sun.
5) Two nights in Chile – It is a long, narrow country that extends from the Andes Mountains to the Pacific Ocean on the south-west of South America. I love the small laid-back tourist town with its unique character, and Moon Valley (which you can catch a glimpse of) and Death Valley are not that far.
Chilean dogs – When I first came here I was surprised by the number of stray dogs, some of them who circled us strangers, it feel like it’s a dog’s world! After I talked to the shopkeeper (via translation on mobile phone), she explained they were abandoned by their owners and advised not stroking them as they were hungry and would come back for more once they knew your scent. They generally don’t bother anyone, and cats and dogs often wander in and out of restaurants, very casually.
One pack of around 7 or 8 feral dogs were hanging around and playing, I could see some of them were very hungry, baking in the sunshine. If not for locals who are looked after them in passing. Some dogs seemed to remember people well when they returned a few months later, which was amazing.
All the pictures were shot on my samsung edge mobile.
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