From the Red Rock Desert of tupiza, to the high altitude Salar de Uyuni…
13.01.2013 - 19.01.2013
“My ass is bruised. I smell like horse. My jeep mates smell too. My body is covered in mosquito bites from the Amazon, and my hair could use a good wash. I’m sunburnt and cold, and I’ve been rotating the same clothes for 4 months. But I'm in heaven as the scenery we pass is incredible and I wouldn’t change places with anyone right now.” Welcome to the Southwest of Bolivia.
I started my tour with a 2 day horse ride in Tupiza, on a dainty mare called Shakira, galloping around the desert sands with the red rock canyons looming above me. The landscape is truly surreal, like entering into an old western film. After a while everything started to look the same, but the landmarks which stood out included the Cañon del Duende, Puerta del Diablo, and bedding down in the small town of Espicaya.
The two days went really quickly, and before I knew it I was off the horse and into a jeep to start a four day tour to the salt flats of Uyuni. Of course the initial scenery was pretty similar, save for the rock formation at el sillar, formed by years of torment from the wind and rain, with stops at miradors to see more landscape.
The weather was highly temperamental during the 4 days, with bouts of sun, rain, wind and snow causing confusion when choosing which clothes to don. But the company in the 4 X 4 was always in high spirits, with the constant blast of nostalgic 80s and 90s tunes keeping the mood light.
There were some sights which we missed due to poor weather, but having caught some amazing sunsets, and had numerous opportunities for photos of the pink flamingoes, we couldn’t really complain.
Our third day was by far the best of the four, as we were blessed with mild weather to see the Arbol de Piedras (tree of stones), Valle de los Rocos, and of course make a stop at the Cemeterio de Trenes, an old graveyard of used and rusted trains of the past turned into a playground for tourists.
Finally, one of the highlights was staying in a hostal of salt for the night, and being able to watch the last sunset on the salt flats, with its mirage of colors filling the skies. It was a great photo opportunity, especially since it rained most of the next day. I think it might be worth it for me to come back during the dry months, to take completely different pictures of the amazing salar, the largest in the world at 12,000sqm, and the highest at 3650m absl.
Overall this part of the country has had some of the most amazing landscapes I’ve seen, and it was a great tour with good food, and fun company… what more can you ask?
Quote of tour: Do u mind if I throw my legs over my head and try to fart?