Day 6 to 8 – The Bolivian Salt Flats

“Knock, knock, knock!!” It was 9am and we were greeted at our front door of our Uyuni hostel by a Quechua Connnection representative. We had booked a 3 day, 2 night Salt Flats (Salar de Uyuni) tour. Luckily she just came to collect the money. The trip wasn’t scheduled to start until 11am. Finally, a nice long sleep and a semi-relaxed morning. I was exhausted from all the rushing and early rises.

We were a total of 4 jeeps and roughly 20 eager tourists. We had three major stops on our first day:

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1. The Train Graveyard which had a pile of abandoned train carriages lined up in rows. It was a great photo-opp and also a great place to go exploring and climbing!

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We had already driven past a number of salt flat areas along the way. It’s hard not to, considering the flats span over 12,000sqm. We took some funny photos” along the way. Our tour guy, “sexy Lucho” hooked us up with some hilarious photos.

2. The Incawasi Island, our next major stop, is not actually an island in the middle of the ocean, but rather an island amidst the salt flats. The clear white salt flats could have easily been fooled for fresh snow. The entire island was enclosed by salt. It was simply stunning, and looked as though the island was floating on a giant cloud. Atop the island were some hiking trails, cacti, and llamas. I didn’t make it up to the top of the rocks though. My body was still not fit enough for me to overstretch any limits. The strenuous mine tour didn’t help my recovery either. Oops!

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3. Our final stop for the evening was the salt flats by sundown. The crystals were twinkling and gridded, as far as the naked eye could see up to the horizon. I’ve never witnessed anything quite like it. So much SALT! I picked some off the ground to taste as well, mmmmm yummy.

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We made our way to the hotel where me and Krista scarfed down our dinner and quickly called it a night. We were both in pretty bad shape, and could only hope that the following day would be better for our bodies.

The second day was a much more social one. We visited a few lagoons and view points of volcanos. Nothing particularly stood out about the day activities to be honest; just some nice scenery. We did make our way up to 4,700 meters in altitude though. The highest I’ve been at on this trip. It was bearable. I guess I was acclimatizing after all 🙂

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The fun began when we arrived at our lodge. 20 travelers, no wifi, and an underground store of alcohol. We started drinking at 4.30pm. A bunch of us played Kings cup, had a dance off competition and much more. It was great entertainment. Unfortunately, no one tried any of the green moonshine being sold. Probably for the best though…

There was a Canadian guy who insisted on being drunk the entire trip. He drank a bottle of whiskey for breakfast, and kept going. He also got butt naked at the salt flats for photos. I could have lived without that sight! Haha.

There were travelers from New Zealand, Australia, England, Germany, Canada, France, USA, Hong Kong and me! I got to practice my German with a very cute man, who I’m sure had his eyes on me throughout the day already. Haha! What is it with me and the German men?! I need to expand my niche.

On the final day, we went to watch the geysers and jump in the hot springs at 5000 meters altitude. Now, that marks the new highest point, and the coldest part of our trip so far. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was -10 degrees up there. We were freezingggggg.

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The coolest part about it all was the hot springs. We jumped into them directly at sunrise at 7am and caught a bit of sun in the process. How I stripped down to my bikini at that temperature remains a mystery to me still. All I know is, I made a mad dash for the hot springs as soon as I had my bikini on. I wanted warmth.

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Our drive back to Uyuni was a total of 6 hours. We made a pit stop for lunch at the most secluded and serene oasis imaginable. It was truly a gem in the middle of the desert. A nice end to a great 3 days!

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