Day 1: Uyuni Salt Flats Tour from San Pedro de Atacama

andes_mountains

I’m writing this from the barebones accommodation that came with my jeep tour which is goes from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile to Uyuni, Bolivia via the Andes. All I can say is that today was one of the most eye opening and jaw dropping experiences I’ve had in the last 4.x years of traveling. This place is insane the landscape will inspire and humble you…

andes_dirt_roads

We made it to the Bolivian border crossing which was literally a small hut and it was the easiest crossing I’ve done in my life. We hopped into jeeps and started offroading to all sorts of beautiful sites and lagoons. Even hit up a hot spring and saw a geyser along the way. The highest point we made it to was 4930M and the altitude is definitely coming into play.

geysers_salt_flats

I was passing out in the jeep and the driver kept nudging me but I believe that is due to a mix of the altitude and all the meds I bought yesterday. Supposedly the air is thinner so sometimes breathing can be difficult; not the best time to cruise through with a chest cold eh? That said, I haven’t noticed anything except narcolepsy so no big deal.

jeep_desert_bolivia_salt_flats

The tour is three days, tomorrow is mainly driving with a few stops and then the final day is the salt flats where people do all those camera tricks and supposedly a sight to see. That said, just being here is a sight to see and for the price of roughly $160US it’s a bargain for 3 full days of activities and two nights along with meals; can’t go wrong! I do recall spending $125 on that lovely 24 hour bus ride from Valparaiso…

salt_flats_thermal_bath

This is also one of the more unique things I’ve done in recent memory and very glad to be here despite the bathrooms in this joint. There is a company recommended in Lonely Planet that everyone seems to go with and that’s why it’s more expensive. The whole hook is that supposedly one company had a driver that had been drinking or something like that and this company plays it up that they are safest.

roads_endless

We hit up another place aka next door which was $30 cheaper and the owner basically said everyone is safe and professional. I figured it was the LP effect which gets all the followers into certain spots and then charges them more but I could be wrong. Turns out all the tours take you to the same places and have similar meals so find one with an owner you connect with who offers you a fair price.

stunning_salt_lagoons_bolivia

The sights are stunning but the accommodation is rough. The bathrooms have no showers, no locks on the doors, no toilet seats, toilet paper or a handle to flush. I mean, we’re in the middle of nowhere and I get it but a little effort on the bathroom front would go a long way, yes? I could go on but I’m using as much of my PC battery as possible to charge my iphone.

lagoons_andes_mountains

In closing, this is one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in a long time. The total trek lasts 3 days and covers 480KM of dirt tracks in endless desert that probably hasn’t changed much at all since the beginning of time. Even crazier is that there are all sorts of flamingos hanging out around here in the salt lagoons; more on that later.

andes_mountains_1

bolivian_border_crossing

desert_mountains

green_lagoon_bolivia

lagoon_salt_flats_tour

red_lagoon_bolivia

road_to_salt_flats

thermal_flats_andes

Tips hat,

9 Comments

  1. James Shannon

    January 2, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Those pictures blew my mind man! I gotta make to SA maybe late 2014/early 2015. Decisions, decisions! :)

    • Rob

      January 2, 2014 at 7:26 am

      It’s a beautiful place, just be ready for long transits as this place is HUGE!

  2. Globe Guide

    January 2, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Awesome! I just returned from the salt flats a month ago and it is AMAZING. Doesn’t look like you’ve gotten there quite yet, but let me assure you you’re in for a treat!

    • Rob

      January 2, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      Hahah that’s in the next few posts; what a place!

  3. Lorraine Beauchamp

    January 2, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    WOW!! Amazing! Looking forward to seeing the pictures from the salt flats.

    • Rob

      January 2, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      Thanks and it was truly “out of this world”!

  4. TheGoat

    January 2, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    What a great way to start 2014!! I gotta do this tour this year along with Machu Piccu

    • Rob

      January 2, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      Agreed, hit the ground running in 2014 and currently in Potosi; cool city!

      Definitely worth doing one of these days, you won’t regret it.

  5. Siddhartha Joshi

    June 16, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Wonderful shots…have fun man! :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>