Yet another bucket list tick! We couldn’t go to Bolivia and not visit Salar de Uyuni (Salt Flats of Uyuni).
The company we chose to go with was Quechua Connection 4wd, and I definitely recommend them!
We took 4wds across a bunch of different locations as well as the infamous salt flats over three days. We finished up the tour on the border of Chile where we crossed over. So it was like two birds/one stone!
Three days in Salar de Uyuni
We arrived in Uyuni at 5am on the night bus from La Paz, which was the best night bus experience yet. I could actually sleep a bit! We found a cafe that was open and had breakfast early before heading to the tour office to prepare.
We left with our group at around 11am. We visited the train cemetery first, where all the trains that used to transport silver from Bolivia got abandoned when the rush was over. Then we went to the salt factories where we learnt about the salt making process and how they extract the salt from the flats. We were then given push bikes (yay 😒) and we cycled over the beginning of the salt flats where we had lunch.
The salt flats themselves are incredible, you can’t see where they start or end. It feels surreal to stand there with nothing around you! It’s weird that they were so spectacular and beautiful when there’s next to nothing to see. We had beautiful blue skies that day as well.
We headed to the salt hotel which is in the middle of the flat, here they have a bunch of flags flying in the wind from all the different countries. I couldn’t reach the NZ one for a photo so I settled for England and Wales 🤣
The guide then drove us to a random little island, Incawasi, in the salt flats that was covered all over with cacti 🌵. The top gave us amazing views!
That night we slept in a little hostel on the mainland.
On day two, we continued through the landscapes. In the morning we visited a local quinoa farm, the ‘coral garden’ which used to be under water in prehistoric times, a lookout to some beautiful rock formations. But the highlight of the second day tour would have to be the lagoons! Not only was the water absolutely beautiful in crystal blue shimmers but they were also dotted with flamingos! I was so happy to see these guys!
We then continued on to the desert, the stone garden, the ‘red lake’ which was again, phenomenonal! And then ended day two with a stop at the geysers. When we got out of the car, our guide said that last year a man had wandered too far to them and without realizing he had stepped directly into one of the hot mud geysers. The guide said this man suffered a very long time before dying from his burns. This was the wrong thing to tell me! I pretty much admired the geysers from the car the whole time and watched Danny like a crazy stalker.
That night we had dinner and a few wines with our group and then headed down to the hot springs to look at the starry night. Because there’s no light pollution and it never rains there, it’s the perfect place to look at the Milky Way. It was so lovely relaxing in the natural thermal springs staring up at the stars. Of course we took some night pics when we got back!
Day three was unfortunately our last night in Salar de Uyuni. The tour had arranged for us to easily transfer from our accommodation to the border of Chile, since it was much closer than going all the way back to Uyuni.
But on the way to the border were two final stops, the Dali desert and the Green Lake. The Dali desert is actually the landscape that Salvador Dali the painter, painted in his famous landscapes. Hence the naming of the place. It really did look like an oil painting! Green lake, wasn’t really green but it was still beautiful with the volcano in the background.
I said to Danny that if you were going to draw a mountain and a lake, this is probably what you’d draw. Just because the volcano is the classic volcano shape and the lake is perfectly positioned beneath it and a super bright colour. The lake actually gets its colour because it contains cyanide.. no swimming here!
Then, five minutes later, we were in Chile!
Next stop: San Pedro de Atacama!