We went on a three day tour of the Salt Flats of Uyuni with Andes Salt Expeditions. There were six of us in the group, including two French Canadians and a guy from Holland. On the first day we started with a trip to the train cemetery. It was a place where a number of old trains had been abandoned and left to rust. Then we headed into the salt flats. We stopped at the triangles, where the locals pile the salt up to truck away and sell. Then we stopped on the flats for lunch and photos. There are some hilarious photos due to the perspective the salt flats give. The flats stretch for miles and miles into the distance. If you stomp into the sand you can see the water underneath. It’s similar to a frozen lake.
The salt flats used to be the sea, despite now being over 3000m high. After lunch we stopped at Isla Incahuasi, an old coral reef. The island is now covered in cactus plants. We continued to drive for a few hours until we reached a Salt Hotel. It is made entirely of salt bricks. It was very cold here at night, given the altitude. The stars were also amazing, as there is no light pollution in the desert.
The next morning we drove through a volcano national park. It was a long drive and there were an endless number of volcanoes. We saw lakes with flamingos on them. The flamingos eat the mossy growth on top of the lakes. We also saw a rock that looks like it is upside down and couldn’t possibly support itself. The whole area is similar to the Tongariro National Park in New Zealand, but much, much bigger.
The second night we stayed in a small army-barracks-inspired hostel. It was just awful. There was one toilet which had no door. The electricity was only switched on from 7pm-9pm and it was a new level of freezing, about minus 15 at night. We were now at 4500m, the highest we had slept. Then at 5am the next morning we received our wake up call. We drove up to 5000m to see some geysers. They only go off early in the morning. So we walked around the steam as the sun rose up. It was so cold we were tempted to jump in the bubbling mud pools. It was a crazy experience. Our next stop was a hot pool at the bottom of the mountain. We were frozen solid, so jumping in the water was at first painful, but then heavenly. We sat for much longer than the guide suggested. It was majestic being surrounded by the mountains and feeling an icy breeze over our faces. We then had a long drive back to Uyuni.
The salt flats tour was one of the highlights of our trip so far.