|This is the jumping off point for trips to the Salar d`Uyuni (salt flats). It is not a particularly nice town.
On the bus to Uyuni there were many people standing in the aisles. Nick had a little kid next to him in the aisle and he seemed fine most of the way. However, he decided to throw up over Nick`s lap as we approached Uyuni. We cleaned most of it off but looking for a hostal with sick all down his trousers was not too fun .....!!!!
We booked up our tour with Oasis as this had been reccommended to us. There are so many tour agencies and they all have mixed reports, so we were told to talk to other travellers who had recently been on the trip and find out which was best.
We left Uyuni and visited the train cemetery. Basically lots of rusting trains standing around ! We then headed into the salt flats. We saw the salt pyramids and the salt hotel (made completely out of salt apart from the roof). The salt flats are the biggest salt flats in the world, twice the size of the ones in Utah. They were amazing as you could see white as far as the eye could see. We had to wear sunglasses to avoid snow blindess!!
We carried on to the salt eyes where we could see the thickness of the salt and the lake underneath. We were then on to isla Pescado which is a rock island in the middle of the salt flats which is covered in huge cacti (kaktuser). We had lunch next to the island and then carried on to Devils cave and the galaxy cavern. The Devils cave is where the locals used to mummify/ bury their dead and there are lots of tombs. The galaxy cavern has amazing formations of coral.
We reached our first nights accommodation at about 7.30pm (San Pedro) and waited around for dinner. Straight after we were in our beds as it was fairly cold ! San Pedro is not the standard stopping point, but for some reason we were on a special tour and only us and one other group stopped here for the night which was good !
We set off early after a basic breakfast and first stopped at the stone army (lots of volcanic rocks sticking up from the ground). From here you could also see the active volcano Ollague spewing smoke into the air. We spent a long time driving on a very bumpy road in a 4x4 and it was fairly uncomfortable. At one point we all had to get out so the car could make it over a particularly bad part. We finally reached Laguna Canapa where there were lots of Flamingos. We had lunch and saw some foxes hanging around looking for food ! We were then on to Laguna Hedionda which had loads of Flamingos in it. However good pictures were difficult as they are shy creatures and move to the centre of the lagoon as you approach.
We then past lots of lagunas before heading into the desert to the stone tree (yep you guessed it, a stone that looks like a tree !!!). We went to Laguna Colorada which is a big red lake... with flamingos in it ! This was near our second nights accommodation. It was a lot more basic than the first and very very cold as this was at 4000m. It was a cold nights sleep and in the morning there was a thick layer of frost on the inside of the window.
We got up at 5am to get to the geysers. After a two hour drive we reached them. They were incredible to see, big clouds of steam emerging from the ground, and when we got close we could see the mud boiling. The smell was of rotten eggs (hydrogen sulphide). We walked around a few of them before heading down to the thermal hot bath. It was more of a thermal hot puddle but we both still dipped our feet in to get the feeling back in our feet ! We also had breakfast here, including scrambled eggs to warm us up more ! We then drove past the Salvador Dali rocks before getting to the Laguna Verde which is a big green lake infront of a big volcano. It was very picturesque ! At this point we were driven to the other side and left the tour. The others carried on back to Uyuni, but as we were entering Chile we waited for a connecting bus.
The bus picked us up and took us through both borders. It was a very slow process !
It was a very worthwhile tour and the scenery and landscapes were amazing. very very cold though ( -20 on the second night !)