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 2, 2015
Day 3 –From the Salt Hotel in San Juan through the salt flat to Uyuni.
Today we see the much anticipated Uyuni salt flat. I had high expectations for this vast area of whiteness and was not disappointed. With just enough cloud cover to add interest to an otherwise crystal blue sky, the day was perfect.
Our group opted not to do the 5AM sunrise departure. Instead we had breakfast at 6AM and left the hotel around 6:45. Breakfast was step up from the day before consisting of the usual bread, margarine and jam with the addition of yogurt, cereal and fresh made scrambled eggs.
From the hotel it’s an hour and half drive through the stark desert along rough roads to the salt flat.
When we finally reach the salt flat it’s magical, total flat whiteness with an outline of mountains in the far, far distance. You lose all sense of space and proportion. Taking advantage of this we stop for our first photo shoot. Elvis, our guide and driver shows us how to take trick photos and suggests various poses.
Back in the jeep we head to Inkahuasi Island. Through the infinite emptiness it feels like an eternity to reach the island.
The island cactus spines glow in the morning light.
We have time for a pleasant walk along the perimeter trail to the top of the island with views of the cactus against a backdrop of white.
Back on the salt flat Elvis finds a spot where the salt crystals have dried into uniformly shaped hexagons for our second photo shoot.
This time he breaks out the props.
First a toy dinosaur
and then he has the young English woman take off her boot so we can climb it.
After we’ve exhausted our motivation and creativity we head to the end of the flat towards the town of Uyuni for the last few sights.
This salt hotel was one of the first buildings built of salt blocks.
Salt monument commemorating the Dakar race in Bolivia. It was moved from Africa in 2009 due to security issues.
Salt eyes – natural salt springs
and just outside of Uyuni the train cemetery.
We reach the Cordillera office about 1PM, drop our bags and Elvis takes us to the lunch place where he says good bye and leaves us.
Lunch is at a hostel a few blocks from the office. We sit alone in the empty courtyard where we are served plates of red meat, quinoa, vegetables and a glass of juice.
We’ve become friends with our travel companions over the last couple of days and exchange contact information and make plans to meet up for dinner.