Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Salar de Uyuni a must see place in Bolivia

Before coming to Bolivia we knew it was a love or hate it place so we really tried not to expect too much from it and we haven't been too disappointed but we haven't really seen a place that wowed us enough to comeback and visit another day.  Until now, Salar de Uyuni with over 10,000 square km's its the largest salt flat in the world, driving on it is surreal. You can drive in any given direction and not hit another person or thing for miles. The only thing that keep us from getting lost was the road impressions left from all the tours that past before us.

the old hotel playa blanca now a museum
soaking up the rays
no Canadian flag so go Korea

Now about the road to Uyuni from Sucre, was what we expected, poor condition and took about 7 hours, making a stop in Potosi to get gas and we got the gringo deal. The place charged us $1.20 per liter well over double the price locals pay. Asked why the price difference he told me because we are near the boarder (Potosi is in the middle of the country the nearest boarder would be Chile, about 500km's away) so we gave in because of the stories we read of gas shortages in Uyuni. Now we reached Uyuni, just before 5pm and decided to top up the gas tank before hitting the flats, same thing they wanted double, but with the advice from Celine another traveler we meet on the road we offered the gas attendant a tip of about $3 and he agreed to sell us at the normal price. Now it was getting dark so we decided find a hostel to spend the night in the dusty town before hitting the flats early next day. After a cold night sleep in the secure parking lot of a hostel ($8) we drove another 45 minutes to the town of Colchani, where we entered the salt flats and you are greeted by large pools of water that we navigated carefully around, when we noticed a Subaru driving right through them and we just followed. After that we were on the flats and we didn't know what direction to head but when I put on the sunglasses I could make out the path.

camping on this great
moon and the sun
picture says it all

 love Salar de Uyuni will be back someday
Before arriving on the Salar, we saw tones of funny travel pictures and a large amount of them seemed to be taken in Salar de Uyuni, don't know why but when we talked with a traveler in Sucre that had just came back from the flats and he mentioned to us his tour guide takes the most amazing funny pictures with props and everything (i guess the guides make the funny pictures). So we did our best to take some funny shots spending over an hour of doing stupid things for your enjoyment. After we made a visit to the Hotel playa blanca, no longer in service but a museum with a collection of flags at the front marking another great photo opportunity. We drove around the flats exploring a few islands and before sun set we camped near Isla Incahuasi, with a breath taking view of the sun set. There was a RV camping near by so we weren't alone which made us feel a little better not being thing only people out in no where. That night was freezing but was well worth the experience and the moon was huge. 5:30 am we could see the light from the sun over the horizon and the moon in the opposite direction 6:00 am bliss we saw the sun rise and the moon fall.