Day 34 – Eduardo Avaroa national park/Uyuni/Potosi

Today, after we had defrosted from the night before, we set of early in the 4x4s for our last day of the tour.

The first stop today was a mountainous are full of llamas 🙂 we saw many of them along the way.

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We then stopped in a small village called Villa mar for refreshments. The village was very picturesque and in the distance you could still see part of a plane that crashed into the mountains in the 90’s!

We then visited the black lagoon, a lagoon high up in the mountains. The drive to get there was pretty crazy. Steep, windy dirt track through the mountains barely wide enough to fit the car. In fact we did hit a couple of rocks along the way.

Once we got to the clearing, it was about a 20 min hike/climb to the black lagoon. It was such a beautiful view and the journey to get there was pretty amazing too!

Back in the car, we stopped for lunch by a river just under a bridge, again the food was really good, and then went on to the train cemetry.

The train cemetry was very strange. A bunch of steam trains abandoned in the middle of nowhere. I’m not really sure of the story behind it but I will definitely google it when I get home!

We then went back to our hotel in Uyuni to grab our luggage before boarding our 5 hour bus to Potosi.

After a quick check in at the hotel, we headed out for some dinner and after a pretty long day of travelling, went straight to bed.

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Day 33 – Eduardo Avaroa National Park

Today we set off early to continue our 4×4 adventure. First stop was the Ollague volcano. We could see a little smoke coming from the top in the distance but as far as we knew it wasn’t due to erupt any time soon! I did a little climbing and explored the rocks a little before jumping back into the car for our next stop at the first Lagoon.

And this is where we saw our first flamingos! I always think of flamingos living in tropical climates but given that half of the water was frozen it felt kind of strange seeing them there. Especially as a few of them were putting on their own flamingos on ice show 🙂

A bit further in the car, we stopped at another much larger lagoon, which had hundreds of flamingos. This one is known as the stinky lagoon due to the smell of the chemicals in the water – toxic to humans.

We stopped here for lunch, again prepared by our chef this time breaded chicken and loads of salad. The food had been really good so far which has been surprising!

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After lunch we traveled further south to another large lagoon with amazing views and also hit our highest altitude point 4900m above sea level.

One last stop at some rock formations, one of which was called tree rock because well, it looks like a tree then we headed to the administrative office to get out flamingo stamps in our passport 🙂

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Tonight we stayed in a shelter, a very basic shelter. No heating, no curtains, cracked windows,very thin walls, corrugated roof with gaps – you get the picture? But it actually wasn’t that bad, despite the temperature dropping to -15C!

Chilly in Bolivia

D x

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Day 32 – Uyuni

Today was the start of our 3 day 4×4 tour. We left most of our luggage at the hotel and just took a small pack to get us through the 3 days. Plenty of wipes and deodorant as no showers!

We all piled into the 4x4s and set off for the salt flats. On the way we stopped off at a small village with a small market selling souvenirs made out of the salt and minerals from the surrounding area as well as all the normal llama wool goods. We also got the chance to meet one of the locals who gave us a tour around his small workshop where he produces salt for sale throughout Bolivia.

After a bit of shopping we set off again and it wasn’t long before the horizon began to turn bright white. It really was a bizarre sight and looked almost like a mirage.

Soon enough we made it to the start of the salt flats. Here, there were many piles of salt dotted around and some trucks working to collect the raw salt for refining.

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Back in the cars, we drove deeper into the salt flats and were soon surrounded by beautifully white flat landscape, as far as the eye could see. It really was like being at the end of the earth!

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After playing around with some perspective pictures we sat down to lunch, prepared by the chef who is travelling with us for the next few days. Quinoa, vegetables and….llama steak!

After making friends with the llamas in Salta this was playing havoc with my conscience but I was so hungry and just pretended it was beef. And it actually didn’t taste that different.

Lunch trauma over, we took some more pics before continuing our journey across the flats. Next stop was a small mountain island called Isla Incahuasi or as I liked to call it, Cactus Island. It was quite a sight, a small mountain smothered in cacti.

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We hiked around the island for around half hour then by the time we were back the sun was setting. The sky was the most amazing colours and possible one of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen.

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Once the sun goes down the temperature here drops quite quickly so it was time to head to our accommodation for the night, the Salt Hotel, yes that’s a hotel made of salt.

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There was no heating in the hotel so we all layered up ready for dinner then played some cards and the odd drinking game before turning in for the night ahead of an early start tomorrow.

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Day 31 – Tupisa/Uyuni

So today we are leaving Argentina for good and heading to La Quica to cross the border into Bolivia. Our bus left at 1am this morning so weary eyed we arrived at around 8am and stopped off for a quick coffee before walking the 30 mins across the border.

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We boarded our bus to Tupisa at 11am and about an hour into the journey, we broke down! Luckily after about 30 mins the driver was able to get it moving again and we made it to Tupisa.

We walked around for a bit and found the only restaurant open and had some lunch. 3 hours later (I think I experienced “Bolivian time” for the first time) we left the restaurant and were picked up by our 4×4 drivers to start the journey to Uyuni.

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The journey to Uyuni was a long one, around 7 hours, through the mountains along narrow dirt tracks. Most of the journey was in the dark which was kind of freaky but we finally arrived at the hotel around 10pm and pretty much went straight to bed ahead of the start of our 4×4 tour tomorrow.

D x

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Day 30 – Salta

Today is (hopefully) our last day in Argentina before crossing the border into Bolivia.

After a good nights sleep (following yesterday’s tiring day) we headed out to buy snacks ready for our journey tonight, then headed into town for a last little look around the shops.

We stopped of for some empanadas for dinner before heading back to the hotel to catch our bus transfer at midnight.

Pretty uneventful day today due to ladt minute change of schedule but if all goes well, I will be in Bolivia tomorrow lunch time heading for the salt flats!

Wish me luck

D x

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Day 29 – Somewhere between Argentina & Chile

Today we were up at 4am, ready to catch the 5am bus to Chile. The seven hour bus journey was a windy trip through the mountains, most of which we spent asleep, but I did take a few pics along the way.

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We finally arrived at the border around 1pm only to be told – it ain’t gonna happen! There had been additional snowfall in Chile and the border was now closed. So this is the closest I got

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We were then put back on the bus for seven hours back to Salta. 😦

The only silver lining from the whole day was how beautiful scenery was!

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Long, tiring day 😦

D x

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Day 28 – Salta

Today we headed into the mountains to explore and do a little wine tasting!

We were sold the excursion as a wine tasting tour but we got so much more than we were expecting. The drive started early at 7am whilst it was still dark, and by the time the sun had risen we were surrounded by amazing scenery. The mountain views were spectacular!

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We stopped along the way and visited various viewpoints and everything was breathtaking.

We then arrived at our first wine tasting spot, Basija Secreta were we tried there signature white and red and had a tour of the winery.

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We continued on to Cafayette, a small town in the mountains and stopped for a spot of lunch and a look around before our second tasting at a boutique winery Bodega Nanni. Here we tried their full range of ‘younger’ wines which were all delicious!

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Back in the van, we made our way back through the beautiful scenery.

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And even stopped to meet a few friends on the way.

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Excellent day 🙂

D x

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