Denis and his family, our globetrotters who traveled around the world (see the article summarizing their tour in Latin America), continue their trip to Bolivia. They will experience what will be one of the highlights of their world tour: the Salar d’Uyuni and Sud Lípez.
After their first 3 stages (La Paz, Sucre and Potosi), they therefore cross the Cordillera de los Frailes for a journey that will remain engraved in their memory …
THE MAGIC OF THE LANDSCAPES OF UYUNI AND ITS DESERT OF SALT
Located at an altitude of almost 3,700 meters, 150 kilometers southwest of Potosí, Uyuni is best known for its Salar, the largest salt desert in the world, 11,000 km2!
Along the way, the very colorful landscapes are grandiose, it would almost become a habit!
Approaching Uyuni, not far from the mining center of Pulacayo, they then discover old remains of steam trains dating from the 19th century.
At the time, these trains were used to transport ingots to Chile. There are still a few kilometers to go before reaching Uyuni where they will spend the night.
The next morning marked the start of a 4 × 4 expedition to explore the Uyuni Salt Flat.
To do this, the vehicle is loaded (gas cans, cooler, stove, survival kit …), you just have to go!
On the way, our Globes-Trotter stop at the famous locomotive cemetery where, with surprise, they find “Annecy” written on an old piece of tin. But the Salar can’t wait any longer, come on, let’s go! A sparkling white surface stretches out as far as the eye can see, it’s impressive! The weather is very beautiful, the sky is a beautiful blue … But you still have to protect yourself well because, at more than 3000 meters, it is cold, there is wind, the sun is beating down.
SALT EXPLOITATION IN COLCHANI
In the middle of the Salar, a small village by the name of Colchani lives on salt. We collect it, dry it in small heaps, add iodine to it and condition it to then supply all of Bolivia. Everything is done by human hands, here, no industrial exploitation. They also visit a salt hotel where, as its name suggests, everything is made of salt: the walls, the chairs, the tables …
Lunchtime arrives and the situation is unusual to say the least. Our travelers therefore find themselves unfolding their tables and chairs in the middle of nowhere. “It’s just fantastic! A bit surreal, like in a Tim Burton movie… ”
This stage will remain a highlight of this world tour.
THE INCREDIBLE ISLAND OF INCAHUASI, WHICH FLOATS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SALT DESERT
When they hit the road again, after the meal, a volcanic island appears. (You should know that there are about twenty islands on the Uyuni Salt Flats).
It is Incahuasi “the house of the Incas” which then shelters large cacti and offers a breathtaking view of the Salar. “The landscape is ex-tra-or-di-nai-re and above all indescribable”. At the top of the island, offerings to Pachamama were left on a flat stone: coins, coca leaves, cookies, candies …
After long hours spent on this white earth, the family leaves the desert in the direction of San Juan de Rosario to spend the night there.
Founded in the 16th century, San Juan de Rosario is therefore a small town located south of the Salar. About a hundred families live there growing quinoa and raising llamas. At the hotel, there is hot water and electricity but no heating … We say -3 ° C …
Find here all our advice for organizing your trip to Sud Lipez and the Salar d’Uyuni
THE SILOLI DESERT AND ITS LAGOONS
After a freezing night, the family gets up under a beautiful sun and crosses the small Salar de Chiguana, over which the snow-capped volcanoes keep watch. Obviously, there is not a cat! With Claudio, their driver, they go up to the foot of the Tomasamil volcano. They then stop at the lookout of the Ollagüe volcano, where one of the tallest sulfur mines in the world can be found. Just enough time to set foot on the ground covered with petrified lava, and they set off again for the “road of jewels”. Along the way, we contemplate magnificent lagoons of a thousand colors; sometimes green, sometimes pink, sometimes blue… Pink or white flamingos and vicuñas live there peacefully.
Our Globe-Trotters continue their crossing of the Siloli desert. After passing passes and bends, they then reach their hotel located at 4500 meters. This time there is heating in the rooms!
FROM LA LAGUNA CANAPA TO LA LAGUNA COLORADA
After a good night’s sleep, our four travelers leave on an expedition to Sud Lipez, one of the wonders of Bolivia. This time it is direction El Árbol de Piedra (Stone Tree). Without doubt one of the most photographed curiosities in Bolivia. It is therefore a volcanic rock which, shaped by erosion, has taken the form of a tree.