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A dream come true:

Salar de Uyuni just got served on Jun’s palm

Salar de Uyuni just got served

 

I’ve been planning to come to Salar de Uyuni for a few years now, as it’s been on possibly every single “Top # Places That You Wouldn’t Believe Exist On This Planet” (or some variation). However, it has been no easy task. As all 11 of us immediately struggled with severe symptoms of altitude sickness upon arrival at the airport, we pushed through and hailed cabs from the airport to the bus terminal (60 bolivianos per cab).

FYI: When hailing a cab in La Paz, make sure you settle the tab before getting in the car and make sure it has a yellow sticker and 4 numbers on the top of the cab, otherwise you might be taking a risk in getting into a illegitimate car and having all your stuff stolen at gunpoint (no lie…happened to my friend!).

 

At the Todo Turismo office by the Bus Terminal, we then received our pre-booked tickets ($35 USD) for the overnight bus to Uyuni. And having an hour to kill before our bus left, we explored the general area by the La Paz Bus Terminal, most notably Calle Comercio:

View of La Paz from the Bus Terminal

Calle Comercio at night

A few of the people in our group managed to snag great deals for legit-looking North Face jackets (obviously knock-offs but at a great quality nonetheless) for $20 USD a jacket:

 

We then had some amazing fried chicken and chicken noodle soup at a corner mom and pop shop nearby:

 

Bolivia wasn’t any kinder to us after that. From a 9pm departure from La Paz to our 8:30am arrival in Uyuni the next morning, hardly any of us could sleep on the overnight Todo Turismo bus. It was as if the vehicle had no shock absorbers or was made out of rocks. Either way it was 11 hours of riding through an earthquake.

Upon arrival at Uyuni, we were groggily picked up by a rep from Al Extremo Tours (which I had organized by Kanoo Tours: They are your only option if you want to pre-book anything internationally beforehand). They then led us through the town of Uyuni to their office on the main road:

The town of Uyuni

 

Waiting for us at the Al Extremo offices were two 4×4 WD that promptly picked us up at 10:30am and drove us about 20 minutes to the nearby Train Cemetery, a graveyard of trains that used to carry miners and minerals up and down Bolivia many decades ago:

 

Afterwards, it was another 30 minute drive to the town of Salar:

 

…from where we drove into the middle of the salt flat itself, Salar de Uyuni:

 

Formerly a giant prehistoric lake, Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world, and a big giant white desert like you wouldn’t believe with your own eyes:

 

The main spot to congregate in Salar de Uyuni is the Incahuasi Island, a stark piece of land jutting out in a sea of white.

It takes about 45 minutes to drive there from the edge of the salt flat:

 

This is where we spent 2 hours taking it all in:

Flamenco for lunch

 

Because Salar de Uyuni is essentially a giant expanse of whiteness with nothing to give any sort of depth of perception, there are a lot of fun things you can do with your camera here:


 


 

 

Simply put, this is just a great place to chill out:

Salar de Uyuni just got served

Salar de Uyuni just tried to get served

 

At around 3:30pm, we headed back to Uyuni for dinner:

 

 

After having dinner at the famous Minutemen’s Pizza joint in Uyuni (located inside Hotel Tortoni…highly recommend!), we headed back to the Todo Turismo office to catch our 8pm overnight bus back to La Paz, which was worse the second time around. Just imagine riding through two 11-hour earthquakes in one day…

 

Worker’s Memorial in Uyuni

– At time of posting in Salar de Uyuni, it was 53.6 °F
Humidity: n/a | Wind Speed: 15km/hr | Cloud Cover: partly cloudy