The Uyuni Salt Flats

Before headed into the wild I managed sneak a quick morning run in the streets of Uyuni to checkout the place a little bit. At this point I was a bit worried about getting exercise on the road and running is always a great way to connect with the city especially if you are short on time to explore it.

Then the six of us loaded our gear onto our car and set off into the salt flats. We were hoping it would rain because that’s when you get that reflection effect which looks awesome, but it was actually a beautiful sunny day outside.

We stopped to check out the train cemetery and then to grab lunch in the salt restaurant just by the side of the Rally Dakar checkpoint sign which we climbed to snap a few photos. You spend most of the time inside the car, so good company is really important to this whole experience, luckily for us we got along really well with everyone involved.

We stopped for a hike at Isla del Pescado, which used to be an small island back when the salt flats used to be underwater. We choose to ditch the conventional hike through the island and decided to go around it, it was free and we and found an awesome cave where I assumed used to be a beach spot.

On the second day of the ride the scenery changes from salt flats to desert-like arid roads. I feel like I’ve been to the surface of Mars or the Moon. The first stop was in those canyons from which you could see some inactive volcanoes from far away, well at least that was the point of the break but me and Rodrigo spent most of the time climbing the canyon walls, something that we would become our favorite hobby during this tour.

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We then stopped for lunch next to a huge lake full of flamingos. There’s no kitchen or supermarket out there on the desert, everything is brought in the car from Uyuni and the only preparation is setting up the table. This nice french guy from another car gave us beer because I found his gopro remote control that he had lost, but the drinks out here are warm and the food is cold.

There is a rock out here in the shape of a tree, but it’s boring because they won’t let you climb it, but there are lots of other options around it so it’s ok. We got to the base day two around sunset, but just in time to sit down and enjoy it.

We woke up to frozen water outside and still a bit behind schedule since we had to be by the Chilean border at 10:00am. Me and Rodrigo still managed to stop for a few minutes to loosen our muscles at a natural thermal pool, which was the closest thing we had from a shower in three days.

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After leaving the hot water we said farewell to Aleida and Sarah who were going to the Atacama Desert in Chile and immediately turned back towards Uyuni again. Now that it was just four in the car at least we had more room to take our recurring naps. As we were leaving the Uyuni National Park our local driver said he had lost our entrance tickets to the park so we would have to hide under the car seats at the checkout point. We had no other option but follow his order, but to this day I wonder if that was true or if he was just pranking us the stupid gringos.

We are now back in Uyuni ready to hop on the night bus to La Paz with Elena. Most bumpy road ever I’ve heard.

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