Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bolivia - Salar de Uyuni

The Uyuni Salt Flats

The slat flats are an expanse of salt desert in the south of Boliva and covers an area of approx 12000km2. It is easy to organise a 2 day tour of the salt flats, as that is all there is to see in Uyuni. For the overnight stay we book a room in the Playa Blanca "hotel", which is actually made out of salt, but has no running water or electricty. A 4x4 jeep picks us up and we drive into the desert with some Israelis and a German, listening to Bob Marley blasting out from the sound system.

At this time of year it is the wet season and (although it didn't rain when I was there), a large part of the flats are covered in about 10cm of water. This makes for a very eerie experience as the clouds and mountains are reflected in the water and it is impossible to make out the horizon. We drive for several hours through the water and I am amazed that our guide knows which direction to drive, as orientation is virtually impossible in the glaring white landscape which seemingly goes on forever... We eventually reach Isla de Pescador, a lump of rock covered in 3m high cactus. Here we stop for lunch and pile on the suncream as the sun is blazing down on us. After eating we take a series of comic pictures, using the flat perspective to our advantage.

In the evening we head back to the salt hotel for a simple dinner, using candles to see what we were eating. The next day is relaxing and we stay near the hotel, taking in the awesome scenery and realxing in the sun.