Crossing the border into Bolivia was a good feeling, we both had the sense that we were going to love this country. The changes from Argentina were apparent almost immediately, namely the cheap prices and people speaking at what felt like half speed compared to Argentina. A welcome relief.
We spent two days catching our breath at the high altitudes of Tupiza, enjoying our return to places where supermarkets barely exist and everything can be found in the mercado. We explored the nearby canyons and hills filled with otherworldly rock formations, a taste of what was to come over the next 4 days and also the lands where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid lived out the last years of their lives before being killed in a shootout here. Legend has it they moved down to South America to avoid the lawmen in the USA, spending a few years trying to make an honest living in Argentina before robbing a bank and moving north to Bolivia. They’d pull off one more heist of a local mine before meeting their ends just a few hours north of Tupiza. Not the kind of history we expected to learn in Bolivia but we’ll take it.
Hard to believe but we had successfully avoided paying for a guided experience up until we reached Bolivia. 7 months of travel without signing up for an organized tour but that was all about to change. The cost of living for a backpacker in Bolivia is as cheap as you’ll find in South America, the only catch is that the majority of attractions are nearly impossible to enjoy without joining a tour of some sort so you rack up additional costs quickly.
Tour número uno: Salar de Uyuni.
4 days road tripping through the Bolivian Altiplano to the Salt Flats of Uyuni. The Altiplano, or high plain, is where the Andes are at their widest and is the largest mountain plateau outside of Tibet. The landscape is rugged and inhospitable, and more often than not seems like something from another planet. The bulk of our 4 days were spent driving through these high plains, above 4,000m, passing multicoloured lakes, extinct volcanoes, and the few animals that can survive the harsh conditions. Alpacas, llamas, vicuñas, and flamingos. Yes, despite no shelter and subzero temperatures every night massive flocks of flamingos thrive in salt lakes. So without further ado (anybody else just learning that’s how to correctly spell that phrase?), here is a photo recap of our 4 days road tripping across the Altiplano with our Salt Flats family.
As always thanks for following along! One last thing, be sure to head on down to your local record shop and pick up a copy of Roxy’s debut solo album, gaurenteed to be one of the saltiest releases of 2017.