Yes, I’m in Peru, but this is long overdue. I wrote about the film we shot in the Salt Flats of Bolivia but, I didn’t expound on the beauty of the area. The Salt Flats may look cold and desolate, but they are warm and rich in wildlife and culture.
We got in at night, and stayed in the Hotel de Sal Luna Salada. The walls and floors are made of salt!
Colchani - We started in this small town on the outskirts of the flats where they harvest the salt and package it. They have more salt than they could ever want. And, they export it.
They also make warm hats. 30 Bolivianos = $4.35 USD. A smart investment because it gets chilly in Uyuni!
Incahuasi Island - In the middle of the 12,000 sq km of dried up lake (40,000 years ago) there are islands. And these islands have cacti that have been growing for thousands of years. Incahuasi is home to everyone's favorite llama: Chapaton.
I felt a little weird taking photos of this llama and then eating Chapaton’s cousin llama for lunch. But, that was part of the tour.
Galaxy Caves / Devil’s Cave - This stop on the tour was a little bit weird. They tried to sell us on some type of small species of humans living in these caves...without any proof. Felt like a gimmick. 'Pay us 20 Bolivianos to look into a cave.' At least the catacombs were eerie and provided nice photo opps.
Tunupa Volcano - This island is rich in wildlife: flamingos, llamas, etc. We hiked for a ways up into the mountain, but it would have taken 6 hours to get to the volcano. At least the views were nice.
Underwater - No visit to the Salt Flats is complete without reflection photos. We were shocked to learn that this stop was not part of our tour and demanded to swap it with one of our other stops.
Train Cemetery - After leaving the salt flats, our last stop was the train cemetery. In the late 18th century and early 19th, Uyuni was a silver mining town and a bustling one. The trains carried minerals to the Pacific, but that industry collapsed. And the result is a sweet antique train graveyard.
On the way to the graveyard, we spotted a family of Vicuna (a type of camelid), prancing around near the tracks. I asked them if they would pose, and they were surprisingly very accommodating.
We did a 2-day tour, but there are 3-day & more tours that include geysers, lagoons, etc. I would definitely come back to Uyuni to visit again. Next time, I would work with the tour company beforehand to customize a tour of only the things I really wanted to see.
Yeah, I’d definitely go back for more reflection photos, and insist we go at sunset!
All of my Best of Salar de Uyuni photos are up on Facebook here.