Having enjoyed a tiring but rewarding 10 days in Sucre we headed south to Tupiza.
I’d done lots of research on the Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia’s famous salt flats) and it seemed that the best way to see them was travelling south to Tupiza and working your way back up the country over a 4 day trip so that you can enjoy the changing landscapes and end on the pinnacle: watching the sunrise on the Salar on the fourth day.
Tupiza itself was very cool. It reminded me of some of the North American deserts around monument valley because of the red rock and giant cacti which surrounds the city. It really felt like we were in the middle of a wild west set and so we thought it fitting to go horse riding to see the surrounding canyons nearby. It was one of the coolest things we’d done so far (not least because I fell in love with my horse Tallia). The terrain was dry and dusty. You could see whirlwinds of sand circling afar and the canyons we passed were incredible and reminiscent of the rocks at Yosemite national park. They were tall, almost needle shaped pillars that had been weathered away by strong winds. Sam and I felt incredible to be out there. It was a taste of what was to come on our Salar de Uyuni tour…
There were 6 of us in the 4×4 (we went with Los Salares): Moses (the guide and driver), Augustina (the cook), Jack, Jenna, Sam and I. We really lucked out and had a great group. Augustina was an amazing cook, Moses was a great driver, and Jack & Jenna were a lovely couple who both Sam and I instantly hit it off with and ended up sharing plenty of wine and singani with during our four days!
Calling the trip the Salar de Uyuni tour is a little bit misleading and doesn’t do it justice. It’s really a tour of south west Bolivia and there is no better way to really see what this land locked country has to offer. One minute you’re driving through the backdrop to Salvador Dali’s famous desert painting of the melting clock, and the next you’re surrounded by incredibly beautiful lagunas in a variety of colours -pink, green, white. There are elegant flamingos dotted all over the lakes and hanging in the background are dormant volcanoes (or on one occasion an active one) covered in snow.
It’s not until the final day that we set out sights on the Salar de Uyuni. We got up at 5.30am to make sure we’re on the salt flat for sunrise at 6.30am. It was everything it’s promised to be – surreal, breathtaking, magical, stunning and bright white!
As the sun creeps up, we’re slowly engulfed by a white glow that illuminates everything. Every direction we look in we can see blankets of white and a mirage on the horizon where sky meets salt. We’re told the salt is 120m deep which accounts for its pure white colour. It’s almost too bright to even look at the ground by the time the sun is high in the sky. We’ve been blown away by the last four days and whilst there is no way to fully describe what we saw, we hope some of our pictures will relay Bolivia’s charm, even if it is only a fraction of it.
(Pics from iPhone, camera pics to follow…)
I’m sad to be saying goodbye to Bolivia. Sam and I have fallen for it in a big way. The landscapes have been breathtaking, some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen and I feel like we really got to know Bolivia and Bolivians staying in Sucre in a way we didn’t with Peru.
That said it’s not all sad, we’re just about to set foot into steak and wine country. This could just be heaven for me.