Our five and a half week trip through Southern Peru, Bolivia, and Northern Chile ends with a 3 day/ 2 night overland tour with Cordillera Traveller through the Altiplano to see the Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia – one of the highlights of the entire trip.
October 1, 2015
Day 2 – Laguna Colorada to a Salt Hotel in San Juan near the Uyuni Salt Flat.
Breakfast – hot beverages, bread, margarine, jam and a special treat, dulce de leche – was served at 7AM for a 8AM departure.
The Italian couple was feeling puny this morning due to the effects of the altitude.
Our first stop of the day was at the Arbol de Piedra, Stone Tree – remarkable wind-eroded rock formation. Everyone politely waits their turn for a shot of themselves with the tree.
Next we stop at a series of lakes – Lagunas Coloradas.
Laguna Honda – Walked down to the lake and along the bank.
Laguna Chiarkota – The most striking of the three with the highest concentration of flamingos we have seen anywhere on this trip. Many of the magnificent birds feed close to shore, their bright pink forms reflecting in the still water.
Groups heading in both directions lunch at the picnic tables on the bank of this lake.
Lunch consists of dishes of corn, tomatoes, cucumber, tuna, cheese, and rice with potatoes.
Laguna Cañapa – Our group seems to have tired of Altiplano lakes and flamingos and we stop only for a moment to take a photo of this last lake from a distance.
During the long afternoon drive our driver is much chattier, telling us in Spanish about where he grew up and asking questions about life in the US.
The last sight of the day is a long drive through the Chiguana Salt Flat.
The salt is only a thin layer making this flat brownish in color. Still, the size and flatness are impressive. We stop at the train tracks for photos.
The Italian couple is feeling better and Lucca seems to have regained his playful energy.
We continue across the salt flat to our salt hotel in San Juan. The structure is built out of salt blocks with a layer of salt, like sand, on the floor. One guy licks the wall to confirm that it is salt.
Rooms are simple and reasonably comfortable.
The dining room is light with brightly colored table cloths. The shared unisex bathroom is large with multiple stalls and hot showers available. Bring your own towel and TP.
Dinner was much better than the previous evening, starting with vegetable soup followed by nicely cooked chicken, fries, sliced tomatoes and a bottle of wine, but no water.