I didn’t know much about those salt flats in Uyuni where I was going. Of course I’ve seen all the silly pictures and I couldn’t wait till I got attacked by a dinosaur or two, but that was about it. Maybe it was actually for the best, because I got blown away by the beauty of nature once again.
Four day desert road trip
I did a four day tour starting in Tupiza in the south of Bolivia which I can highly recommend. It’s been said that the tours starting from Tupiza are safer and less touristy than the ones from Uyuni, plus you get to see more! I found myself an Israeli crew once again, so it’s still only my Hebrew that’s improving instead of my Spanish. We have been driving around in 4×4’s through insane landscapes, with the sweetest guide/driver we could wish for, going mental on Israeli and Spanish songs (got seriously overruled here on the dj-part).
Keep those eyes wide open
The scenery we drove through was insane. Constantly changing from open fields filled with lamas, to strangely formed mountains, to moon landscapes, to lakes with very strange colors, and so on. Dipping into natural hot springs (that view… OMG), visiting geysers at 5200m and mingling with a thousand flamingo’s was just day to day business. I normally fall asleep in driving vehicles, but I simply couldn’t close my eyes with all this beauty surrounding me.
Coco leave tea diet
I do have to say it wasn’t all rosy. Tough as I thought I was, I told my doctor in Holland I didn’t need altitude pills. Wow, what a failure was that. As soon as we got above 4000m I turned into this little bundle of misery, with the altitude kicking my ass big time. Since we spend about 70% of those four days above 4000m, you can do the math. I was on a coco leave tea diet four days straight. And yes, those are the leaves they use for making coke, and yes they are completely legal in Bolivia (and Peru). They did magic.
Dinosaurs and Bolivian mamas at Salar de Uyuni
We ended our four day tour with a sunrise at the Uyuni Salt flats (almost getting used to getting up at 4am), and of course… game time! We had been collecting Surprise easter eggs, pink dinosaurs, superman dolls and baby llamas, that all ended up being some sort of artifact. Even our poor cook, a proper Bolivian mama, ended up being a prop in our pictures and movies.
I really enjoy Bolivia so far. It is so different to Chile and Argentina, and really has it’s own identity. It feels a bit more like the ‘real’ South America with a lot of people wearing characteristic clothes, little rural villages and crappy local buses. I can’t wait to see more of this place and discover all the crazy things it has to offer (and apparently it has a lot…)! Bring it on Bolivia…
Photos by: M. Barends ©