if you EVER have a chance to go to the Salt Flats of Uyuni, Bolivia do not hesitate to drop everything and go. the Uyuni Salt Flats are one of the most spectacular things i have ever seen. my only words to describe it is… incredible. i was for the most part speechless when i saw the flats for the first time. our group had an awesome time touring the southern region of Bolivia with our driver Elias and our tour guide Larry! here is an account of our time on the Salt Flats of Uyuni.
day one began with an early flight to Uyuni and a personalized pick up from our guide, Larry. once we got everything settled with the tour company they treated us to breakfast at, what i can imagine, is one of the only breakfast spots in tiny Uyuni, Noni’s. after breakfast Larry took us around Uyuni for a little sight seeing. we then waited for our fellow traveler, Alberto, to join us. Alberto was an Italian man traveling South America by himself for just about a year. over the next few days we would get to learn a little more about Alberto. our first real stop on the tour was the train cemetery. Uyuni used to be a hub for transporting metals, but now all the trains just sit in a small ghost town. we snapped some pictures then hit the road… for a long time.
when i woke up (i slept a lot in the car… some things never change) it was raining and we were at a local market and salt museum. we got to walk around for a while, but the coolest part was seeing this Bolivian man scoop up some salt into a plastic bag and burn it shut… then give it to us! don’t worry, family, i got you some salt! after a quick walk through the museum we headed out to officially enter the salt flats. out on the flats we got to eat some traditional Bolivian lunch then take some AMAZING pictures. our guide, Larry, was the perfect photographer. he even laid in the wet salt for us!
another long car ride later and we arrived at our hostel for the night. the long car ride consisted of songs, dancing, sleeping, and stopping to take pictures of some rude cacti. Larry and Elias taught us some Bolivian songs and we taught him “Great Adventure” by Steven Curtis Chapman. (throwback to camp crestridge days). walking into our hostel we were greeted by some sweet new faces and a nice warm atmosphere. literally it was about 20º warmer in the hostel than it was outside! we got settled in then had a nice tea time then supper. highlight of day one was teaching our Bolivian guide how to play “what are the odds”. poor guy had to eat a spoonful of mayonnaise!
^^^ train cemetery ^^^
^^^ just walking around in awe ^^^
^^^ best travel group ^^^
^^^ lunch on the flats with our Italian friend, Alberto ^^^
^^^ we ARE bowling pins ^^^
^^^ llama farm on the way to the hostel ^^^
^^^ salt beds at our hostel ^^^
the next morning we woke up and i can’t speak for everyone, but i slept WONDERFULLY. i even got hot! i was not expecting that at all. day two was a lot of driving and then randomly stopping to see a lagoon, or a rock, or some animals, or some more lagoons. i would also say that day two was the coldest day. highlight of day two was stopping in the middle of the desert to have a dance party to shut up and dance. on this particular day we saw most of the lagoons, all the volcanic rock, and a ton of flamingos! we also ran into our teacher friends that were with another company. this day also consisted of a lot of sleeping (for me) in the car. we ended our night at this hostel that was seriously out in the middle of nowhere. i am not really even sure how we found it. there were some fellow Americans there with us. we tried to make friends but they were having none of that. our AMAZING guide really hit the jackpot with this place. we had hot water which was wonderful. that night was another peaceful night of sleep. i think it was due to the hundreds of blankets on the beds. we ended the day with another tea time and some Bolivian spaghetti.
^^^ animals and lagoons sums up day 2 ^^^
^^^ rocks rocks rocks ^^^
^^^ those mountains though… how incredible is our God?! ^^^
^^^ could not have asked for better travel companions ^^^
the last day started with a SUPER early morning. at our hostel we had thirty minutes of electricity in the morning so we could eat breakfast. those thirty minutes were from 4:30-5:00. not the most ideal situation, but because we were up so early we got some amazing views of the geysers. they smelled of sulfur, but i have never seen anything like them. we risked our lives and jumped through them… just kidding. we only jumped through the super tiny one. we drove some more and ended up at the hot springs in the area. we decided that we would take a quick drive to see the desert before jumping into the hot springs. while in the middle of the desert we decided it would be best to keep up with tradition and have a dance party. this time we listened to Bolivian music while Larry taught us the dance moves! highlight of day three was bathing in the hot springs. we were the only people in it for a while. the view as you sit in the hot springs is a snowy mountain behind you. you really can’t beat it. we dried off after the hot springs and then started our journey home. on the way we stopped to see some more rocks of course and to have lunch by a cute little spring! all in all the trip was a success. i had a blast and would highly recommend this trip to ANYONE and EVERYONE.
^^^ we touched the… geyser ^^^
^^^ obviously we had to see if the water was hot at the geyser ^^^
^^^ jump… ^^^
^^^ jump… ^^^
^^^ rock ^^^
^^^ hotsprings ^^^
i am incredibly thankful for this group of girls that i got to travel with over break. all three of them are staying here next year and i will miss them immensely. it is incredible to me that you can know someone for a few short months and feel so strongly about them. each one has touched my life in a different way and i am so thankful God placed them in my life this year. i am excited to be going home to the states in a few months, but i will leave a piece of my heart with these girls in La Paz.