Uyuni – the small town in the middle of nowhere
We got to the small town of Uyuni at around 6:00 am. The nights on the Altipiano plateau are incredibly cold so we felt very happy we could check in to our hostel that early in the morning. We even got to eat breakfast altough we had a reservation only for one night. That day we decided to rest and look for the best agency to set off with on a 3-day tour around Salar de Uyuni and to the Eduardo Avaroa National Park.
Andes Salt Expeditions
We checked every agency that was well-rated on tripadvisor. All of them had the availability to join the tour the very next day. You could always ask for an English-guided tour, but the cost was automatically much higher, by 80-100USD, so we decided to take a tour with a Spanish guide. After careful consideration, we booked our tour with the Andes Salt Expeditions for 700 BOB which would be around 100$.
We made sure our agency had a guide that would be willing to help us take some really good photographs with the forced perspective. It was also important that he would have some funny items with him in the car, like a dinosaur or a pringles box. We checked if we could finish the tour by the border with Chile, next to the Atamaca desert. The price was an important aspect, as well.
Just a few tips
Don’t forget to take with you:
- some warm layers of clothing,
- lip balm.
Although the sun is very strong, shining not only from the top but also reflecting from the salt, the temperature drops drastically at night, below 0° C. Your lips get dry very quickly and you’re more likely to get sunburnt.
Let the bolivian adventure begin
The next day, at 11:00 am, we met the rest of our group in front of the agency we chose. We had a really lovely team, a couple from England and Denmark and two ladies, one from France and the other from Switzerland. Our luggage was put on the roof of the car and we were ready to set off for a new adventure. We were pleasantly surprised how spacious our jeep was. Very comfortable!
The visit to the train cemetery
The train cemetery was the first stop of our escapade. This region was an important mining area in the past but nowadays it’s mostly living off the tourist industry so the rusting trains are now useless. We were able to climb to the top of the locomotives and the wagons and we felt like we were on a set of an postapocalyptic movie. Quite an interesting place!
World’s biggest salt flat
Next, we drove towards Salar the Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat located at 3653m asl with the acreage of 10,582 square kilometers. Undoubtedly, it’s the most popular tourist attraction in Bolivia. We felt extremely excited about visitig this white, salty paradise and having the possibility to play with some interesting photohraphs.
The Salar was formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. It is covered by a few meters of salt crust, which has an extraordinary flatness with the average elevation variations within one meter over the entire area of the Salar.
Salar the Uyuni, in the wet season, changes into one big water pond that creates an amazing mirror-effect. In dry season, for a change, you can notice the hexagonal pattern covering the whole area. Bolivia is also a place where the Dakar Race takes place. Because of that, there’s a huge logo of the race carved in the stone just outside of the Hotel made from salt, where we stopped for a lunch break.
Foreced perspective Photoshoot
Finally, our driver took us to the remote area where we could take some fun photos with the forced perspective. Fortunately, our driver not only had a plastic dinosaur with him in the car, but also many more items we could use in our shots. He was our main Photographer and he took some group shots, as well. One of our favourite idea was to use a pot, so it looks like Wiola is ready to do some serious cooking. We also had to escape from the huge dinosaur or keep the pringles box so it would’t smash us. Later on, we still had some time to use our own imagination to create some intersting snaps. The optical illusion was also used on the set of Lord of the Rings Movie and we could learn about it while visiting Hobbiton. It’s a bit easier to take such pictures with the wide angle cameras, then you don’t have to walk away so far to have the same effect. We were happy with the results of our GoPro 5 yet our guide said the best photos come with the use of Iphones, because you can put the lense really close to the ground.
Our next stop and a scheduled destination was the island full of cactus. We had about an hour there so we decided to use it for some more Photography fun. The landscape was truly breathtaking. It was hard to say if we were still on earth! At least the one we knew so well before visiting the world’s largest salt flat!
Goodbye Salar de Uyuni
At the end of the day, we stopped to marvel at a sunset, somewhere on the egde of the desert. Then, we checked in a hotel that was made entirely from the salt. The beds, chairs, tables were all salt blocks. After waiting for our dinner we could feel we are sitting on a rock. We all fell asleep pretty fast, ready for some more adventures in the next 2 days.