Of the entire salt flats tour, this was the day where the real moving took place as opposed to playing in the salt flats or hanging out in hot springs and doing a border crossing. I came on the trip basically because this is a cool and scenic way to get into Bolivia from Chile and today was another eye opening experience crossing barren landscape that could best be described as endless and timeless.
The day starts early and you hit the road in full swing at about 7 or so in the morning depending on your driver. If you didn’t read the first post I made, I’m taking the route from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile to Uyuni, Bolivia. The day consists of rugged driving and stopping at lagoons. I liked the lagoons and they were beautiful but after 5 or so lagoons, I was quite over the lagoons to tell you the truth.
You’ll drive through barren deserts, dry rivers and snake your way around rocky roads on the mountain sides. That said, I’m doing this more to get to Bolivia and see the salt flats, others are all about each and every lagoon and many people come from all over the world just to see to see various things on this tour and for different reasons. Supposedly in Japan this is considered the highlight of S. America.
You’ll also see lots of wildlife such as llamas, flamingos, rabbits with fluffy tails and so on. I saw people packing gear that looked prime for an Arctic expedition to do this tour, you don’t need it. Similar to how when you go on a safari, you don’t need 1930’s classical safari attire. Also, you’re in the jeep most of the day so you can leave your hiking boots at home.
Once you cross through the mountain passes you’ll find yourself in a small town before heading to a salt hotel on the edge of the salt flats. It was New Years and we figured we’d have a quiet and somewhat boring evening but wow, we were wrong. Some Italians showed up and it was a family, we figured everyone would be like this. Turns out 25 German exchange students / volunteers showed up and were ready to party…
Later came a crew of Brazilians, Swiss and a random mix of characters from around the world. Here we were, on the edge of the salt flats, one of the most desolate places I’ve been in recent memory and there was a full fiesta going on! The party included fireworks at midnight and everything else one could imagine for a solid new year’s celebration; a most memorable evening.
It was a good day but a bit long, could have done with half the number of lagoons.
That said, photos speak for themselves, yes?