Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia - Vanessa
The first thing to do when choosing to travel to Bolivia is to define what is a trip without hardship for you. If you do not tolerate unforeseen events and waits, better to scratch the country from your list of destinations. This has nothing to do with the luxury level of the trip. Even staying in the most luxurious available hotels and traveling only by plane, the lack of structure will affect you. Even so, it is well worth knowing the country! The Salar de Uyuni is unbelievable and is one of the most spectacular sceneries I have ever seen! It is considered one of the most beautiful places in South America, but on my list, it is one of the most beautiful in the world.
The region called the Bolivian Altiplano blends deserts, volcanoes and lakes full of wildlife and breathtaking scenery. There you will feel on another planet with lunar landscapes, stone trees, ponds of unusual colors, the sky reflected in the ground (at certain time of the year) and islands of cacti; all of this amidst the white expanse of salt. It is 10 hours by bus from La Paz to Potosí. There, you can choose your travel agency, among many options. There are several price options, so you will join a group of people to start the adventure.
The first stop was in a train cemetery. In the middle of the arid landscape are several carcasses of trains that were used from the end of the 19th century until the great depression of 1930. The trains carried minerals extracted from the region to the port of Antofagasta, now a Chilean territory. With the collapse of the world market and the loss of an outlet to the sea, the Bolivian railroad gave its last gasp and died there in the midst of Salar. It feels like the end of the world and allows several nice pictures! After a quick stop in the village Colchani, where we saw a local producer turn the crystals of Salar into salt for consumption, we set out for the salt desert.
The first impression is as if the ground were snowy; a white 11-square-kilometer carpet that leaves any tourist without air. Soon after, we took the bikes provided by our agency and went to explore this “land from another world.”Between a “hexagon” shape and another, water springs prove how different this place is. There we learned that Salar has a depth of 120 meters composed of 11 distinct layers, besides being one of the largest lithium reserves in the world.
For me, the most special part of the day was last. Between Incahuasi and our hotel in Mañica, we decided to stop along the way to see the sunset. We were not in the rainy season (going from December to February), so we did not take the famous water mirror photos at the Salar. But there are no words to describe this place. The truth is that even knowing all the challenges of the country, I would have made the trip the same way. It is worth it!
Where to stay
I recommend a company to do the 4 or 5 day tour: Quechua Connection 4wd
Best way to get around
Anything you wish you knew before your trip?
Advice for the next traveller
Enjoy, it's an incredible country.