Updated: Dec 3, 2018
17th - 19th November 2018
We arrived in Uyuni after a night bus from La Paz. It was sunny and crisp and we napped in our hostel instantly. We eventually rose from slumber to wander the streets in search of nourishment. We found a delightful place called Tika, and ate well.
After a shit night's sleep, we left the hostel, headed to Red Planet (slightly stressed… we were a bit rushed ooooops) and boarded our 4x4 with the Aussies (Sophie and Josh) which would be our transport for the next 3 days. Sarah and I bundled into the boot which turned out to be the roomiest spot. Who knew?!
Our first stop, ten minutes in, was the locomotive graveyard just outside of town. When the mining industry collapsed, the locomotives were abandoned here and basically left to the looters. The trains are spectacular, but difficult to see them properly as they are crawling with tourists… myself amongst them, obvz.
Our second stop took us to the Salt Flats themselves. No amount of photos prepare you for how incredibly beautiful they are. They stretch for miles and miles and driving over them is magical. We paused to take some fantastic photos and perspective shots, with toy dinosaurs and a ukulele, before heading further onto the Flats to visit the first Salt Hotel before carrying on to Fish Island.
Fish Island is covered in giant cacti and is basically a honking great piece of coral; the whole area was once upon a time submerged by ocean, and the views are stunning. Sophie and I shared a beer which, for some reason, warrants a mention as it was the best one I've had this entire trip (Huari, if you're interested). It was lush.
One of the final stops was to watch the sunset, which made us fall in love with the Flats even more. They are just. So. Beautiful. It's the horizon that stretches to infinity creating an ethereal and otherworldly landscape, and the wind that speeds across the plains with no direction or barrier. Josh, Sarah, Sophie and I spent a great deal of our time leaping around and playing with shadows (generally behaving hyper actively). The Salt Flats are bewitching I'm told…
That evening, we stayed in a pretty luxurious hotel, by our standards, and for the first time in a while I was over the moon to be a vegetarian. The snacks were good however, and we enjoyed hot chocolates and cookies before attempting stargazing (it was freezing and windy). The showers were hot and we slept like logs.
Day two saw the mischief-makers at work again, as we stopped at least 8 times during the day: we saw flamingo-drenched lagoons and multicoloured mountains. We saw a stone tree and a deserted town. There were steaming, bubbling geysers and a huge, bright red lake. Bolivia was delivering the goods by the bucket load and each place seemed more breathtaking than the last…
Our driver listened to his own music, which was an incredible array of rock songs from U2 (we performed a stellar rendition of With or Without You) to The Cranberries (we performed a stellar rendition of Zombie). Sarah was feeling rundown so I can only send her my sincerest apologies that she had to sit through such a concert (I secretly think she enjoyed it).
Our second night was a dream… we drank wine by starlight in a thermal bath before making our jolly way back to the hostel. Sophie, Josh and I found an empty dorm room to play and sing the entire contents of Sophie's ukulele song book. Highlights included:
The Cranberries, Zombie
Aladdin, A Whole New World
Mamas and the Papas, California Dreamin’
Bonnie Tyler, Total Eclipse of the Heart
And half of Bon Iver, Skinny Love (we were told off and had to go to bed boooooo!)
It was sensational and you should have been there.
On our final day, Sophie had a sore head and the bus journey was ever so slightly more mellow. We went to the Dali Desert (excellent place) and one last lagoon, before heading for the Bolivia/Chile border. What a palava that was. Sleep-deprived and grumpy (speaking for myself) we waited for hours at the crossing before our bags were patted down and off we went to Pedro de Atacama.
The Salt Flats Tour was the dreamiest experience, due to the landscapes and the people. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Bolivia is a treasure trove of gloriousness and a top place to be with friends. I've said it already, and I'll say it again: Bolivia has bewitched me.