Salar de Uyuni: a photo recap

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. 

Puerta del Diablo. Butch Cassidy country

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. 

Driving up and away from Tupiza
An old Spanish settlement. There are a number of old mines in the area as the hills are rich in copper, silver, and other metals.
A few meters into one of the mine shafts, and still way too far for my liking to be in a centuries old mine
Altiplano
I can assure you there is an immediate 10+ degree difference between sunny and shaded areas at this elevation
Llamas. After this trip I might finally be able to tell llamas, alpacas and vicuñas apart
Fresh lamb
Looking towards Chile and the Atacama Desert
Bolivia? Or Mars?
Mars
Laguna Verde, which turned green in front of our eyes as winds agitated the water and the arsenic, lead and copper in the water oxidized. The dormant volcano in the background, Licancábur, was used by NASA to run experiments for their missions to Mars

I desperately wanted a turn behind the wheel. Every tour operator has a fleet of Toyota Land Cruisers that would be the dream car of many people back home
Laguna Colorado. Coloured this way due to salt and borax deposits. Also home to not one, but three species of flamingos including the rarest species in the world. Go figure…
The effects of altitude
Clear blue skies yet never overly warm
Our Salt Flats family was fortunate enough to include a talented photographer who I want to thank for capturing this and many other great shots featured in this post. http://www.thavy-photography.com
Copa del Mundo. A day of colourful lagunas followed by a day of wacky rock formations.
Broken Heart
Laguna Negra with a Dr. Suess like rock forest extending for miles behind it
Family picnic
Mom, Dad, and Jr

Roxy showing off
Abandoned trains
Our final night was spent in a hostel made out of salt. Everything from the walls to the furniture
Cheers to an incredible 4 days! Only one thing left to see…the infamous Salt Flats
An island rising up out of the ocean of salt is the place to be to catch sunrise
Shadow play as the sun finally starts to appear
A truly incredible sight, nothing but a sea of salt all the way to the horizon
Unfortunately this is what getting those amazing Salt Flats sunrise photos actually looks like
Salt crystal structures forming
Somebody’s enjoying her first tour…
Because it’s not a Salt Flats tour without the all important perspective shot. Climbing climbing gear
Returning the favour for our family photographer
Mama Bear, just exuding joy for her cubs…
What you don’t see from everyone’s perspective shots…one person laying on the ground, barking orders at the other person to stand like an idiot
Someone did Canada proud…
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.

Salt Life: The Roxy Porter Story
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