So when we started planning our trip I had a special obsession with the Salar de Uyuni, we finally made it to the largest salt flat in the world today and it did not disappoint. What an incredible place. We arrived in Uyuni on Thursday we checked into our hotel which was somewhat overprice compared to what we have been experiencing so far in Bolivia. Once we got situated we headed out and acquired a tour company because we did not want to take our van out of the salt flats… smart move. Once we got our tour lined up for the next day we ate dinner at the Minuteman pizza joint, very good pizza, and hit the sack.
Our tour didn’t start until 10:30am the next day so we did some school work and at breakfast. Julie was having a not so great start to the day screaming at Mimi for a shirt that wasn’t hers, it wouldn’t the last time during the day that she would have a screaming fit. Anyway so we got picked up by our tour guides Jose and Nancy and proceeded out toward the Salar. We first visited the train graveyard, left over after the war with Chile cut Bolivia off from the coast. The kids climbed all over them and we all had lots of fun being daredevils. We then visited a village that processed salt for sale, lots of trinkets and salt crystals for sale.
After that we headed out to the salt pan… there was a bumpy dirt road that led to the edge of the salt, once past this there were some major ruts and swales that were filled with 1-2 feet of water that we had to navigate to get to the main part of the Salar. We were outfitted with a 4 wheeled drive SUV that handled the drive pretty well, our driver was also very patient and had obviously been out many times, again a very good choice we didn’t decide to do it ourselves. Once we got out there it was pretty incredible, the day was very hot and the clouds seemed to stay at the edges of the Salar just hanging around to give us amazing pictures. We first visited a “Gayser” which seemed to me to be more of an ordinary springs within the salt pan. Somewhat unimpressive but were all were just excited to be on the salt pan and anywhere you looked there were cool pictures to be taken.
We ate lunch at this salt hut out on the salt pan that was very busy, fun people watching and the girls loved just playing in the parking lot collecting salt and building salt castles. After lunch our guide took us to an area that was covered with a thin layer of water, not more than an inch deep which had the affect of reflecting the clouds and making for incredible pictures. We stayed there and took pictures for several hours and took every different goofy picture you could image. We have included a few good ones with the post.
After a while, the kids and I began investigating several small holes in the salt and we discovered that some of them had really cool crystals of Halite that we could pull out. We proceeded pull out crystal after crystal until my hands were literally bleeding. We did find some neat specimens we will need to dump the rest at some point, these discoveries rendered the crystal that I purchased for 3 bolivianos (40 cents) rather worthless. Oh well.
We stayed for the sunset and got some really neat pictures of clouds and sunset colors, it was an utterly satisfying and exhausting day. We all went home and took showers because we were filthy, but we all had such a cool time. All that time learning and planning to visit this place was a well-placed obsession.