We experienced our worst bus journey travelling from La Paz to Uyuni, it was a very long 12 hours of which 8 hours was spent travelling on horrendous roads of dirt and gravel. We did not get a wink of sleep because most of the time we were bashing our heads or thrown out of our seats! At one point in the night I had to try and make a dash to the toilet at the back of the bus and it was like an assault course trying to navigate in the dark through shoes, bottles and legs in the aisle. When i finally made it, there was a local man laying asleep in the aisle blocking the toilet door!!! Needless to say i had to wake him and made it back to my seat feeling battered and bruised.
We eventually arrived Uyuni town at 6am all looking like we'd been dragged through a hedge backwards and in desperate need of sleep so we grabbed the first taxi we saw and hedded to the Hostel Marith that our friend Erica had kindly booked for us from La Paz. At first glance it didn't look too bad but after checking out our room and the shared bathroom we soon realised it was probably the worst flea pit we'd stayed in so far and the staff's attitude was as bad as the place itself.
We had a few hours sleep and made it our mission to find a tour that would start the next day, the town itself was pretty awful too with rubbish and dust flying everywhere and nothing to occupy your time. Luckily we found a company called Andes Salt Expedition that looked ok to start a three day tour of the Salt flats and surrounding lagoons/geysers the next morning, thank god!!!
It was when we went back to our hostel later on that day that we first met our friends Bruno and Gemma, Bruno's from Portugal but has been living in England for many years so speaks fluent English and Gemma's English. So we got talking to them and realised they too wanted to start their trip the following morning so they booked up with the same company.
The next day the four of us plus two English girls (Maria and Michelle) set off late morning in our 4x4 jeep for the train graveyard where we all larked around and took silly photos. We then headed off to the Salar de Uyuni (Salt plains) which literally took our breath away, they were so spectacular and beautiful. We never realised just how big it was going to be, it is a massive 12,000 sq km and is still growing. We vistied for lunch the Hotel Playa Blanca which is all made of salt but you can no longer stay there due to environmental concerns, it now re-mains as a museum. After lunch we headed off to the Isla de los Pescadores, an island in the middle of the blindingly white desert full of giant cactus. That night we stayed in the other salt hotel at the edge of the salt plains.
After an interesting night sleep surrounded by salt we headed off early to the Laguna Colorada which is a bright adobe-red lake fringed with cakey-white minerals 25km east of the chilean border. It was an amazing sight to see a bright red lake, the flamingos looked well camaflaged and at home here. We spent that night in a hostel where we all had to share a room. We watched the beautiful sunset, had dinner, then headed off for an early night as we had a 4am start the next morning!!! Arghhhh!!!!
Our last day was spent firstly seeing the geysers as it is best to see these whilst still dark, then we visited the Laguna Verde (very close to the chilean border) which is an amazing aquamarine lake that has the Volcano Licancabur tucked behind it. Then We had breakfast followed by a dip in the hot springs. By that point we were all flagging and ready for a nap in the jeep on our long journey back to Uyuni.
That night we were pleased to bump into our friends Erica and Maarten (from Copacabana & La Paz) AGAIN hehehe back at the hostel and we all went for dinner along with our new friends from the trip, what a nice end to a fantastic few days!!!