We can say this was one of the highlights of our round the world journey. Nature proved again, what beauty it’s capable to create.
The tour started in San Pedro de Atacama. A minibus picked us up at our hostel and brought us to a place for breakfast. Then we left for immigration right outside the city. After good 45 minutes’ drive we reached the Bolivian border. Again the same procedure, again explaining we’re not from Slovakia, we’re from Slovenia. We got our stamps, at the minibus we got our bags and we were assigned to a 4×4 car. Our driver and guide Victor greeted us and packed our things on the roof. 2 Brazilians, 2 British men and us were off to an adventure of our lifetime.
On the first day we visited different lagoons – Laguna Blanca, Laguna Verde, Laguna Amarilla. My favourite was Laguna Colorada – a red orange lagoon full of flamingos. Beautiful! Those animals are so elegant and have such nice pink and red feathers. I couldn’t get enough of them. The whole area is volcanic. The landscape, the remains of volcanic activity. We visited some smaller geysers, fumaroles and hot springs. The altitude had quite an impact on our bodies – the Brazilian went to sleep right after lunch and slept till the next morning, we all had difficulties breathing and Jure got a really bad headache at night. We had »Nalgesin Forte« pills with us, a good pain killer, which helped Jure immediately.
The next morning we started early and visited some more lagoons, Arboles Piedres – impressive stone formations, which were formed by desert winds. On some of them you can climb, but be careful as it takes some physical strength and any exercise at this altitude is a challenge. We felt like on an African safari looking for different animals. We saw some llamas, alpacas, ostriches, birds but unfortunately no Andean cat.
The second night we should spend in a salt hotel. Yes, a hotel made of salt. Everything from walls, beds, chairs, tables, even the floor was of salt crystals. But why did I say, we SHOULD?
Because 10 minutes before the hotel we got stuck in a mud field. Really stuck. Victor tried to free the car, but it sunk even more. We were digging, bringing dry sand and branches. 1 hour passed, 2 hours passed, it started to get dark. Victor decided, we should walk to the next village, stay there and in the morning he will pick us up somehow. We weren’t really happy about that as we all were looking forward to the salt hotel. But we didn’t have a choice. Or did we? A car stopped and the driver + his passengers came to help us. They decided, he would bring us to the hotel, his guests would wait for him in our car and when we would pick them up, they would try to pull the car out. Sounds like a good idea. So we went. We got our rooms, Jure licked the wall just to be sure, it’s really salt, we paid 10 BOB for a hot shower and dinner came to the table. At this time Victor managed to join us. At that moment it was already funny, also for Victor, although this was the first time something like this has happened to him. After dinner we played a fun game with other travellers – our dear friends, we can’t wait to play it with you! – and soon we went to sleep. We wanted to be fresh for the highlight of the tour.
5AM start. 5:15 AM in the middle of Salar de Uyuni watching the sunrise – priceless! The sun kissed our faces, gave warmth when the cold from the salt ground was shaking our bodies. We sat hugged on raw salt crystals enjoying the moment.
After so much romance we drove to the cactus island Incahuasi – a unique oasis in the middle of the salt flats. The highest cactus is 18 metres tall and there are thousands of them. After a peaceful stroll and loads of photos we had breakfast there. With new strength we drove to the middle of the Salar to play with our cameras and ideas. J Being attacked by a dinosaur, balancing on a bottle, stepping on Jure, Jure holding me, everything is possible in Salar de Uyuni. Of course a group photo couldn’t miss. So we decided for a special one – Adam as the birthday boy played the flute and Victor with his skilful hands made it look as if we are standing on his flute playing different instruments. Thank God we had a driver with many talents.
Afterwards we stopped at the first salt hotel, took pictures of the monument that reminds that Uyuni is a part of a world famous rally Dakar. We stopped at the market and at later at the train cemetery.
At the end Victor dropped us off in Uyuni, we had lunch together, before we all went our separate ways. Thanks guys it was a pleasure spending the trip with you and again a big applause to Victor, the best driver-guide, we could have wished for.