We arrive in sunny Uyuni around 10 a.m the 31st of July after a short very smooth flight from La Paz.
The city Uyuni has not much to offer so we are spending a few hours with strolling around to look at the buildings and the people. This city is more or less the total opposite to what we are used to from back home. Low stone buildings that looks like they would have needed to be renovated many years ago, a market that sell mostly bread or second hand clothes, shopping “malls” with several empty stores, gravel streets were dust is filling the air as the cars pass and many poor people with no stress at all…
As the city has not much to offer we decide to take a lazy day to recharge all our devices, delete photos and go-pro movies that didn’t turn out as aspected, to take a power nap and we finish the day with an amazing dinner at our hotel. We fall a sleep, very curious about what the upcoming 3-day tour has to offer!
Our Spanish speaking driver picks us up at our hotel and our first stop is only 15 min away where we visit a train cemetery that dates back from beginning of this century. The trains was once used to transport salt and minerals from Uyuni to Chile but as technology developed everything was abandoned and today it’s a sight with nothing else than rusty trains and rails.
We continue our drive and spend the rest of the day at the largest and highest located Salt desert in the world; the Uyuni salt flats. This is an amazing place! With an area of 10500 square kilometer, located 3800 m.o.s.l and with an extraordinary flatness (average elevation variation of only one meter of the entire salt desert) makes this place the perfect environment to take pictures that deceive the viewer’s perception of depth.
We get a very nice lunch with a glas of red wine, served by our guide in the middle of nowhere and he support us to take some cool photos, as it seams to be more difficult than we expected.
In the afternoon we visit the island Incahuasi with cactuses that are more than 1200 years old, the cave Chiquini and then enjoy a fantastic sunset!
We spend the night at the nice salt hotel (Tayka del Sal), a hotel built only out of salt with a beautiful interior. The restaurant has a very cosy atmosphere with an open fire that makes the temperature enjoyable in comparison to our room that is freezing cold. As soon as our bodies has warmed up the bed, we fall asleep and sleep like babies!
The day starts with a visit at a museum where we learn about the ancient time of the Salar de Uyuni, their domestic animals, the people and their behaviours as well as their handcraft before we start the long drive to cross the Salt desert. We visit the Pueblo Quemado ruins where we experience a few smaller tornados and one that pass exactly where I stand. We are very positively surprised of the eco hotel (Tayka de Piedra) located here with solar panels and recycling areas. Here we are served a nice 3 course lunch.
The afternoon is extremely windy and quite cold. We pass some nice photo spots along the way but the highlight of the day is definitely the Chaxas lagoon where we almost freeze to death as we try to take photos of the many beautiful dancing flamingos. Flamingos dance to attract mates, a dance that normally start with the head-flag move, which is very amusing!
We check in at our hotel (Tayka del Desierto) that lies in the heart of the Siloli Desert. The Tayka del Desierto Hotel not only offers a unique view, it is also strategically located to visit one of the most beautiful places in South America: the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Flora and Fauna National Reserve. We enjoy a great meal in their nice restaurant and a stunning night sky before we go to bed around 9 p.m.
We thought that last night was cold, but luckily we had no idea what expected us this night! The hotel room is freezing cold (outside temperature ca -20°C) and still the heating is turned of already around 8 p.m. We go to bed fully dressed with our warmest underclothes, hat and gloves and decide to share the 1. 10 m bed to be able to warm each other🥶I probably don’t need to mention that we both sleep quite bad this night…
The day start very early as we have a full packed schedule for the day. Unfortunately the Italian couple (that accompanies us on this tour) shows up 30 minutes late for departure, which make the day quite stressful. Still this day is amazing! 😍 We visit the wonderful Colorful Lagoons, the Sol de Mañana Geyser, the Stone Tree and the Salvador Dalí desert among other attractions. Today we also pass the highest point of our whole round the world trip; 4995 m.a.s.l.
The diversity of the landscapes we drive through during all the days are absolutely stunning. We enjoy a spectacle of colours and we see many impressive volcanoes as part of Bolivia belongs to the Central Volcanic Zone of the Andean Volcanic Belt.
On the way, in the middle of nowhere, we pass a car with 4 desperat female tourists that stop our car to try to get help from our driver. Their car has a flat tire and they have already waited in the cold for 5 hours, and help still seems to be far away. The driver ask for fire, and we think this is to solve the problem but as it turns out, he just wants to smoke a cigarette. He strictly refuses to solve the problem because it is, according to him, „not his problem“ (eventhough he has all the tools and knowledge). „Poco loco“ – says our driver after we continue our trip without helping these poor souls. That’s according to our driver the risk you take when you book with an unserious provider to get the cheapest offer. 😱
We cross the border to Chile shortly after lunch this third day where a desert fox shows up to say goodbye.
Our transfer awaits us right after the Bolivian border and takes us to our hotel for the coming 2 nights. Next stop: San Pedro de Atacama