“This is SO weird”… Exploring the Bolivian Salt Flats

The number of times I said “this is so weird!” during the three days I was on my Salt Flats tours is matched only by the number of times I heard other people say it.

I made my way from La Paz to Uyuni via bus & train. Once my friends from Peru Hop (Mike from England and John from Ireland) arrived we took off on our three day tour of the Salt Flats.

The tour itself is extremely well known on the “circuit” of travellers down here. This explains why there were a bazillion other cars following the same route as us. Besides the three of us, our car had a couple from France and a pot-obsessed, whiskey-drinking young guy from Germany named Julius.

The first stop of our trip was an old train car graveyard. This struck me as a weird place to visit but we took our first (of MANY) jump shots here.IMG_5183.JPG

Next we entered the Salt Flats. For full information about what the heck they are, check it out on Wikipedia. In essence, a looooong time ago this place was covered in prehistoric lakes. The water evaporated and left behind a salty crust. The area is MASSIVE (10,000 sq km) and no picture can depict the vastness of this place. We drove on the salt for HOURS.

Our first stop was at some piles of salt. Locals still harvest the salt here, though I can’t imagine they make much money off it. We took this opportunity to take more dorky photos.

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We entitled this next one as “John’s Ascent to the Heavens”…

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Our sweet ride for the three day journey.

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Next we went to the “reflection pools” which actually weren’t as reflective as I expected but was still pretty cool. More jump shots were taken, obviously.

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To change it up, my feet are on the ground in this one.

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Back in the car we went, driving for awhile. We never really drove more than an hour or so without taking a photo break. Most of our car time was spent eating Pringles and staring out the window.

We stopped for lunch and then it was time for bizarre perspective-skewing photos!!!! These were ridiculous to take and were hard to get right. Here are a few if my favs!

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And my absolute favourite:

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We stopped at a cool (but still weird) “island” FULL of cacti!

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I made a new friend. Literally.

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This cactus is freaking out!

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After this we drove across the salt to get to our first hostel (it was made of salt!). Thankfully, we thought ahead and Mike, John and I brought some cheap Bolivian wine (Julius had his whiskey in a water bottle. Classy guy.) We ate, drank and played the rhyming game until we fell asleep at 10pm. We are SO cool!

The next morning we woke up to rain. Bummer. Our views weren’t as sweeping but the scenery was still bizarre. I felt like I was walking around a sci-fi space movie!

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There were lakes with flamingoes!!

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There were these weird rocks too. One of them is the “Salvador Dali” rock that inspired his surrealist art.

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This brought us to the end of day 2 and our evening was much of the same. We polished off the rest of our wine and played cards. We checked out the bright stars once the skies cleared and then went to bed!

We were up at 5am the third day to see geysers and visit the hot springs. It was SO cold out that I almost didn’t get in but they were beautiful and in the end warmed me right up!

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We hopped back in the car and visited a couple more fancy lakes….

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And then all of a sudden we were at the Chilean border, unloading our packs and heading to a new county and bringing our salt flat adventure to an end! So glad to have had that experience!

Next time…. Chile!

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