So we were both very excited about our salt flats adventure but I was also a little nervous or apprehensive as I had been reading the reviews of the trip and out of 5 people, 4 people thought it was the highlight of their trip. The other thought it was a living nightmare. So we got picked up in the morning and soon there was 6 of us in a bus. Colleen a Canadian and her partner Rodrigo who was Brazilian and Thibaut and Lucie a Belgium couple. They were all around our age, maybe a little younger but all very cool and interesting people. Which was fantastic as we had to spend the next three days with each other in a crowded Land Cruiser and a 6 person dorm later that night.
We cleared customs still in our bus and were then told by our bus driver that we would be climbing 2000 metres to in an hour to reach 4800 metres and that it could get a little uncomfortable. It felt a little weird but we were all good. Bolivian customs was a little mud brick house which was quite cute. We then transferred into our Land Cruisers and off we went with our driver Danielle! He didn’t speak any English but luckily Colleen and Rodrigo did. In Bolivia you can only have Bolivian guides and Spanish was actually Danielle’s second language as he is indigenous and speaks the native language Quechua.
Within 15 minutes we were at our first stop Laguna Blanco. A white lagoon with a few flamingos with an amazing backdrop. Pretty much the theme of the day.
Then it was off to Laguna Verde. The green lake funnily enough, which got its colour from the minerals Arsenic and Sulfur.
All along the journey the sheer strangeness of the place was really mind blowing. It was like we were on the moon or something. And it was always changing. Next stop was the Dali desert, which actually had another name originally but they changed it as it looks so much like Salvador Dali’s paintings. I don’t know if he visited but the similarity is uncanny. Unfortunately our pictures don’t do it justice.
As soon as we had hit the Bolivian border the temperature started to drop. The temperature by itself wasn’t the issue it was the fact that the wind had also picked up so it was biting outside. Which made the next stop all the more surreal as we hit a hot spring where you could swim in 26 degree water while outside was around 8. Tim braved the cold, I dipped my feet in which was nice. Otherwise I just gazed at the landscape. Which at that point was an orange, green and blue lake with mountains in the background.
When your driving the colours are mostly browns and reds and oranges with a crystal clear sky and then you also have these amazing mountains which are apparently old volcanos with layers upon layers of green, yellow, pink, white and purple. The colours are apparently the different minerals that were spewed out of the volcano at different times. Simply amazing!
Next stop was Sol De Manana Geysers which were pretty spectacular. Made even more so because there were no barriers around them, we were free to walk as close as we wanted. You definitely had to watch your step as there were holes everywhere with boiling hot mud bubbling away! Health and safety was non existent.
We then drove to our hostel to drop off out bags and have lunch. A pretty basic building but all we needed. We were lucky that the tour group we went with who were recommended had its own hostel a bit away from all the other tour operators.