I took a 4 day trip from Tupiza to Uyuni, Bolivia. Here goes...
Day 1 we saw the rock formation quebrada de pallala then wound up around hills up to a high area rock formation called el sillar. We then drove by some mines & our guide told us that the cooperative miners make a lot of money but die very young - they don't last more than 20 years after starting to work there. We finally stopped for lunch at Awanapampa where we saw lots of llamas. That place was where they kept the llamas close to the towns when it was time for them to give birth so that they could help if there was a problem. Next we stopped at the small village of Cerillo where we donated money & got to visit their school. They had colored posters on the wall and quite a few books. We even saw a book in Quetchua! Afterwards we stopped at another town called Polulo where our guide William was from and met his grandma. There was also a guy building a house out of mud/straw "bricks". It was amazing to see what they build with. The last town we hit was Rio San Pablo then our "rustic" accommodations in San Antonio de Lipez. Our cook, Delicia, made us a great dinner then we had a long political talk w/ William about the president, Evo Morales and the bad relations w/ USA. Supposedly we denied one of their political ministers entrance into the US since she was dressed traditionally (una mujer de pollera). That very night Evo Morales decided to start charging Americans a Visa. Such a shame! Also the US Ambassador was kicked out later for supposedly aiding another political group (right wing). It was interesting. Before bed we looked at the stars and they were amazing but unfortunately it was a long, cold night after that!
Very cold and early on Day 2 we saw the ghost town of San Antonio that had been one of the first colonial settlements where they enslaved the natives and got tons of silver and gold out of the mines there. Later the people where we spent the night built white houses there but decided to move the town to its present location 40 min. away because it was too cold in that place and had bad memories of slavery. Next, we went by a mirador of laguna Morrejon at 4855mASL. After that we officially entered the park, Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa in the little town of Quetena Chico. After that we went to laguna Kolpa (Incan detergent - like baking soda - works very well). Next we got to the thermal pool but I decided it was too cold to go in & just dipped my legs in. It was very hot but felt great! From there we went down almost to Chile to see Laguna Verde. The color came from a mix of magnesium, lithium, and sulfer among other minerals. On the way back we took pics of the beautiful Dali mountains and rocks. The last sight was the geysers at sol de manyana. They were so amazing!!! We could see the black 90degree water boiling and jumping out. The second night was supposed to be warmer than the first night but it wasn't. We had our tea by the stove and got serenaded by 3 little girls then 3 boys came w/ a drum, a pan flute and a ringer.
Day 3 we got to Laguna Colorada and saw a lot of flamingos. From there we went through the Siloli desert and stopped at the arbol de piedra. Along the way we saw vicunyas and an Andean fox and drove by 5 lagoons - laguna Ramadita, Honda, Charcota, Hedionda, Canyapa. We took pictures at 2 & 3, walked at 4 and saw more flamingos and ate lunch at 5. We then stopped at a lookout at Volcan Ollague in Chile and passed the small Salar de Chiguana before getting to our salt hotel at Puerto Chivica. There I did a quick tour of Cuevas del Infierno - a bunch of coral that had been there when the ocean was there. Dinner was a great lasagna & William told us the legend that he had promised us the first day about the decapitated mountain and the origin of the Uyuni salt flats.
Day 4 we raced across miles of salt flats in order to see the sunrise. The sunrise itself wasn't that amazing - more impressive were the cool pictures that we took jumping over the sun. From there we went to the Inka Wasi island where we saw a coral arc and tons of cacti - some that were 900 years old (9m) and a dead one that had been over 1000 years old. (They grow only 1cm a year.) After the boys soccer game on the salt flats we went to take our COOL optical illusion pics and had a lot of fun w/ that. After that we went to the illegal salt hotel now museum. It was pretty cool - lots of salt statues. From there we went to the salt piles & saw a guy shoveling salt to sell. We finished in the not at all pretty town of Uyuni and it was sad to say goodbye to our guide William & cook Delicia but I at least convinced Ben, Ainsley & Vanessa to go to Sucre with me!