Bolivian Salt Flats - Uyuni to San Pedro de Atacama
We did our tour with Red Planet Expedition, who are a fantastic company and I can highly recommend them. Be careful when booking cheap tours as there is a problem with drunk drivers!
Day One: We left Uyuni at 11am with our bags loaded onto the roof of our 4x4! First stop was The Train Graveyard which is just 3km out of town... It was very busy and strange. It's fascinating to see these old locomotives rotting and rusting away in the vast landscape, however it's slightly strange as it's essentially rotten, graffitied metal but interesting nonetheless.
Next we drove to THE SALT FLATS which are as amazing and wonderful as you have seen on the postcards and that you'd imagine they would be. The reflections are amazing and the colours ... it just goes on forever. Due to being there in the wet season we couldn't cross them as normal. So we hung around, took reflective photos, perspective photos and visited both wet and dry areas of the Salt Flats. We were given lunch whilst standing up on the Salt Flats but it was amazing, chicken with rice, potatoes and vegetables followed by apple pie! Balancing the plate and trying to use cutlery stood up was tricky but what an amazing setting...
We had to drive back the way we came due to the flooding, we stopped at a small salt processing factory then via Uyuni for a quick toilet break then two hours onwards to our accommodation. This one had hot showers and electricity at all times. When we arrived we had tea/coffee/hot chocolate with crackers and cookies. For dinner we had Vegetable Soup followed by the traditional Bolivian dish - Pique Macho (warm beef, sliced hot dog sausages, peppers, tomatoes and boiled eggs.)
Day Two: We had a 7am breakfast which was bread with butter/jam/dulce leche/cheese/ham etc, scrambled eggs and hot drinks.
We hit the road around 8am and this was a lonnnngggg day. We had seen the last of the Salt Flats sadly and we were driving through the desert. It was a lot of driving and quite bumpy at times but we visited The Rock Valley, areas that looked like The Moon and Mars, to visit a Rock Tree, Lagoons filled with Flamingos and lovely landscapes followed by The Red Lagoon. For lunch we had breaded chicken with vegetables and pasta followed by skittles! Our last stop was the highest altitude that we would reach (just less than 5000m) where we watched the geysers bubbling away.
We reached the hotel just before 6pm and we had more hot drinks with cookies/crackers. We relaxed and hung out for a bit but here there were no showers and the electricity was limited and ran on a generator! For dinner we had soup followed by spaghetti bolognese and red wine.
We went to the hot springs after dinner for about an hour - very hot but the views of the stars were amazing!!! It costs around 80p to get in but sometimes it's free.
Day Three: We had a pancake breakfast then we went to the desert to see a landscape that inspired some of Salvador Dali's artwork. Next stop was the Green Lagoon which unfortunately wasn't green when we visited due to the wind direction or lack of wind.
Finally we bid farewell to the rest of group returning to Uyuni and we went to the Bolivian/Chilean border where we paid 15 bolivianos to exit Bolivia. We were picked up in a bus then to the Chilean immigration a little further away and had our bags etc searched before arriving in San Pedro de Atacama!