|The salt flats in Bolivia are the largest in the world, stretching just under 12,000sq km at a altitude of 3,660m. Sea used to be present here, but due to the dryness of the atmosphere evaporation occurred leaving a thick layer of Sodium Chloride (salt we put on our fish and chips!). They are dazzling to see, and a big attraction in Bolivia. The best way to see the flats is to book on a 2-4 day tour. I had arranged to meet the Devon Lads in Uyuni, and do a 3 day trip down to Chile with them! This worked out perfectly, as there were 2 spaces free in our 4WD and this meant Ema and Julie could come too!
We set off after a good breakfast, stopping briefly at a train cemetery. For some strange reason this has been added to the itinery of many salt flat tours. Very odd. Took a few pictures of the old rusty trains and made our tracks to the salt flats which were far more impressive! We stopped at a strange town, where the locals are the only ones allowed to mine the salt. There is estimated to be 64,000 million tonnes of salt! On a sunny day, the bright white salt flats act as a mirror, reflecting the blue sky, clouds and any nearby mountains. As you can see from the pictures we had some fun taking photos!!! It certainly looked pretty funny making them!
A lunch stop was made at "Fish Island" to see the giant cactus growing there which was pretty odd too. The salt gives you the feeling of being on snow, especially with the chill in the air, so seeing cactus grow is quite surreal!
Day 2, we covered a lot of ground with stunning scenery all around. From salt flats, more cactus islands, mountains, volcanoes, to colourful flamingo filled lakes!
The last day we had to get up bloomin early.....5am. We stopped in a National Park to see the bubbling geiser basins, and a volcanic crater lake gushing with smelly sulphur steam! We then headed to some natural hot springs for our morning bath, and breakfast. Simon, Andy and myself plucked up the courage to go in. It was 7am, and the temperature outside around freezing. Half our gang decided to just watch as it was soooo cold and a bit of an effort. We peeled of our clothes shivering, and quickly hopped into the 30c bath, which I have to say was yummy. It was enjoyable until Trevor decided it would be funny to steal all our clothes plus towels which we had plonked down next to the baths to ensure we would not freeze afterwards. Not amused!!!! Thank god a lovely english girl saw the horror on our faces, and pittied us. Ruined your joke hey Trev, when she opened the jeep door and brought back our stuff! Hee hee....sure the boys will get sweet revenge in my absence!!
We saw more beautiful red and green lakes, mountains and colourful flamingo before leaving Ema and Julie in Bolivia (after promising to hook up again in China!), and the four of us heading over the border to San Pedro De Atacama, Chile. Bring on the warmer weather!