20.01.2011 - 24.01.2011 13 °C
The Salar de Uyuni (the Bolivian Salt flats) are on the itinerary of most backpackers in South America and no doubt you will have seen the famous perspective photos before.
In the city (or town) of Uyuni tour operators for the salt flats are a dime a dozen. We had heard horror stories of those who had gone with a terrible operator and wanted to make sure we had someone professional. We booked a three day tour with one that had English speaking guides and as a result probably paid too much in the process – well too much in the world of the Bolivian currency where nothing costs very much at all.
The tour was basically three days in a Landcruiser, stopping each night to sleep in fairly basic accommodation before getting up before dawn to continue the trip. Each day revealed vastly different but amazingly surreal landscapes like nothing we had ever seen before. Pictures speak louder than words so I'll keep the copy to a minimum and just include lots of pictures and captions.
After a quick visit to a train cemetery the first day of the tour was spent on the salt flats themselves, a sea of endless white where you can take perspective photos to your hearts content.
Antique train cemetery on the outskirts of Uyuni
Rusting hulk of an old locomotive
Jess driving one of the trains
Jess and the dried surface of the Salar
Jurassic Park special FX
Jess relaxing on water
Our big feet on the Salar
Incahuasi Island in the middle of the Salar
Cacti on Incahuasi Island
Our Tour Group on Incahuasi
900 year old cactus
Days 2 and 3
The second and third days were spent driving through high alpine deserts surrounded by extinct volcanoes and interspersed with strangely coloured, amazingly reflective lagoons filled with flamingos. The deserts were covered with strange rocks said to have inspired Dali and in keeping with the volcanic theme we passed geysers, boiling mud and thermal springs.
The Altiplano - Lagoons & Flamingos
Vicunas by the Blue Lagoon
Reflections in the blue lagoon
Flamingos on the blue lagoon
Flamingo reflecting in the water
My favourite photo – The Red Lagoon with storm clouds passing overhead
Arbol de Piedra (Tree of Stone)
Homer Simpson de Piedra (Homer Simpson of Stone)
Me in hot springs near the Chilean Border
We finished the tour exhausted but happy and got straight on a bus to La Paz. To anyone coming anywhere near Bolivia or indeed South America the salt flats and the surrounding Altiplano are a must see natural attraction.