Monday, April 21, 2014

Salar de Uyuni

We had been trying to get ourselves out to the salt flats for at least 3 weeks, and with sickness and a road blockage, we had to reschedule numerous times. I also have to admit that it was a bit of a journey to get there and so there may have been some apprehension, but we went for it and I'm so glad we did.

We got up early on Friday morning and got on a bus to Oruro...a 4.5 hour trek across absolutely nothing. Seriously flat land at high altitudes. When we arrived at Oruro we caught a 7 hour train to Uyuni, arriving at 10:30pm. Thankfully, the train was comfortable and our hotel was right across the street from the train station. The only thing on our way that was really worth seeing was the lake full of wild pink flamingos.

The next morning we joined another group of tourists to begin our day-long tour of the Salar. We all loaded ourselves into a jeep and headed out. Our first stop was the train cemetery. We weren't given any explanation of this place at all, but it looked like entire trains were just left there to rust. It was pretty amazing.

We visited a small village that's entire livelihood is dependant on the Salar...whether through the tourism it brings or through processing and selling the salt. They literally live on the very edge of the Salar, and do absolutely everything manually...even down to sealing the bags of salt.

Houses made entirely out of salt.

I believe these hills have something to do with the processing of the salt. 
From there, we drove further and further into the became more desolate, and more insane with every kilometre that we went. It literally felt like we were on another planet...all you could see for miles was salt, which made distance and perception so distorted. It is the world's largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometres. They have also begun processing lithium next time you use a lithium battery, it just might come from Bolivia!

Flags of the world...the Dakar car race came through here this year.

Crazy formations that occur further into the salt flats. 
Our next stop was Incahuasi's a bizarre "island" that is covered in giant cacti (standing at 10-15 ft tall) and juts out of the salt flats like something that really doesn't belong there. We hiked to the top of the island for an incredible view of the never-ending Salar.

Our final destination was a blindingly pristine area of the flats where our driver took personal pleasure in arranging "perception" photos for us. It was hilarious and fun! There is little to no depth perception in the Salar and so you can create strange pictures.

The group we traveled in the jeep with.  

Duane and Amelia licking the salt.  

Our tour lasted the entire day and we got back to Uyuni exhausted...we slept for 2 hours in our hotel and climbed back on the train to head home. We "slept" on the train that night and caught a bus in the morning back to La Paz. Our trip was the equivalent of driving to Vancouver from Saskatoon for one day and driving back. Even though we felt like we were insane at times, we all felt like it was worth it! Amelia proves over and over again that she is a good some ways, a better traveler than Duane and I.

1 comment:

  1. Great photos!! great place! God is an amazing Creator -- unending variety!!