An Expedition like no other

A journey across the Bolivian salt flats is an expedition like none other.

We wake early morning in the dusty town of Uyuni. The group is lead down to the bustling market where we buy hot empandas for breakfast and an odd combination of llama jumpers and fake raybans to deal with the high alitude climate, we will reach 4000 metres today all going well. Local drivers, cooks and guides greet us with jeeps well equipped. Seemingly simple people however I know only they have the years of experience needed to keep us safe out on the flats. A breakdown with night time temperatures dropping below zero is not something they want to face. Eight to a vehicle we head off into the vast whiteness, lennie kravitiz blasts on the stereo and our journey has begun. With not a reference point in sight there is only us and the white. Passengers speechless, this is freedom.

Photographers beg for more time at the train cemetry. A collection of decomissioned locomotives rusting against a dessert backdrop. They soon realise that every site we will visit they will need more time for. Flamingos feeding on algae in the coloured lagoons. Llama herds on dormant snow capped volcanos. Catcis covered islands in the salar. They flatten their batteries before the trip ends. If they are lucky water will have fallen over the flats (during the rain season this area becomes the largest natural mirror in the world) giving the illusion we are driving over a lake. We hop out with nothing in sight but the endless salt. Toy dinosaurs, pringles cans, national flags appear and we play for hours taking photos that mess with depth perception.The nights are cold but quinoa soup and red wine keep us warm. Our hotel is fittingly made from salt, even the beds and tables. Sunsets over the salar with pinks and blues and the stars (with no city light to affect them) put on a show.

Truely unique. The salar de uyuni.

Amanda is a Tour Leader on Tucan Travel’s Budget Expeditions where the Uyuni Salt Flats is an optional excursion. The Salt Flats are included on Tucan Travel’s other Travel Styles and are always a highlight of every tour. Photos were taken by Alvaro, Tucan Travel driver on a Bolivia Tour.

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