Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni: Moon landscapes and dinosaur attacks

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. Wondering what’s so special? Let me show you why Salar de Uyuni must be on your bucket list.

car view desert road uyuni tour

Four-day desert road trip to Uyuni

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 drove around in 4×4’s through absolutely insane landscapes. We had the sweetest guide/driver we could wish for, and went 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 flamingos 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.

laguna colorado salt flats tour uyuni bolivia
high altitude uyuni tour view

Coco leaves tea diet

I do have to say it wasn’t all rosy. Tough as I thought I was, I told my doctor in The Netherlands 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 for four days straight. And yes, those are the leaves they use for making coke. Yes, they are completely legal in Bolivia (and Peru). They did magic.

Dinosaurs at Salar de Uyuni

We ended our four-day tour with a sunrise at the Uyuni Salt flats, and of course,  game time! We had been collecting Surprise easter eggs, pink dinosaurs, superman dolls, and baby llamas, which 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. It was absolutely freezing this early in the morning, but lots of fun we had.

tour group salt flats uyuni bolivia

Salar de Uyuni is only the beginning

I’ve been really enjoying Bolivia so far. It is so different from Chile and Argentina and really has its 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! Bring it on Bolivia…

Marthe

Uyuni tour in Bolivia

Photos by: M. Barends ©

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