Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia – the most breathtaking and memorable part of the trip!

When planning for this epic trip, we knew we’ll visit the main South American countries (Peru, Argentina and Brazil) but we weren’t too sure about Bolivia.  We really wanted to go to the salt flats in Bolivia to take the crazy photos but there were also major issues to consider: time (we only had 4 days to spare for Bolivia), entry requirements (conflicting visa requirements), weather (March is rainy season and the salt flats might be flooded), strikes (some travelers said the national park was closed), transportation (only the sketchy airline, Línea Aérea Amaszonas have flights from Cusco to Uyuni).  There’s also not a lot of up-to-date online travel info about Bolivia since it’s not as tourist-friendly as the other countries.   Anyhooooo, we decided to risk it.. and planned for a 3 days in Uyuni!

The itinerary was really tight…  Flight from Cusco, Peru to La Paz (the capital of Bolivia) and then catch another flight to Uyuni…spend 3 days in Uyuni … catch a flight back to La Paz.. and then catch another flight to Argentina in 22 hours.   If we missed any flights, then we would have be screwed!

But thank goodness (and thank GOD!) that everything went unbelievably smoothly!

Amaszonas airlines exists, had our reservation (even though we had a lot of trouble booking the flights online) and the flights managed to be relatively on time!  Sunny skies, not a drop of rain, but the previous rainfall had left plenty of water to take pretty reflective photos.  The strikes were over and we could enter the national park.

Before going, we searched online for a relatively “more-reliable” tour company as almost all tour groups had complaints about dangerous drivers, too many tourists in the 4×4 and more.  We ended up choosing Quechua Connection, for a private 3 days/2 nights tour and requested José , the owner, to be our driver/guide/cook.

I was so tired during this part of the trip because of the high altitude (4200 – 5000 metres above sea level), lack of sleep and my gastroenteritis …. I was sleeping in the jeep the entire time and only woke up to take photos at each stop!  I didn’t even take photos of the food.. so this blog entry will be a travel diary instead…

the first hostel we stayed at…. I can vaguely remember what we ate for dinner and lunch… soup, pasta, vegetables???

 

fields of quinoa… quinoa is a food staple in Bolivia .. but in Canada, it’s expensive organic food….

train cemetery

rock tree

with another tour group at laguna verde

laguna colarada…those dots are flamingos!

our 2nd hostel… it’s made entirely of salt!

 walls and floors made of salt.. apparently there are mummified remains in the wall pouches??????

had only tea and cookies to nibble on while we waited  more than an hour for Jose to cook..

The highlight of the trip was more definitely the salt flats and was definitely worth being the last sight on our tour!

This was one of our worries… rain during the wet season.  The salt flats become the salt lake and the jeeps can’t drive out there.  In the picture, José and another driver is testing the water level to see if the jeeps could drive out….. and yes!

perfect weather!

islas de los pescados.. the entire island is covered by cactus!   Due to the previous floods, it was the first day tourists were able to make it out to the island since November (3 months ago).  We were so lucky!

we sat on top of the 4×4 during the drive on the the salt flats.. soooo cold and windy!

José looking cool..

and the main reason why I wanted to visit Uyuni….. the only place where I can take “Honey! I shrunk the Kids” type of photos!

I’m standing on an oreo!

I could stand on an egg without breaking it!

We were eaten for lunch….

Apart from taking the silly photos, we also got a glimpse of how salt is processed…

dried and then transported to a drying facility…

watching the prettiest sunset in my life….

These photos aren’t edited….the sunset was actually that colourful!

This is the most breathtaking and memorable part of the trip.. totally worth not taking showers for 3 days, getting salt burns from taking photos and being covered from head to toe with dust!

FAIM? (still sick)

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