Our three day 4×4 trip across the Bolivian altiplano was quite extraordinary, an experience far more amazing than we could have dreamed.
After our day crossing the Uyuni salt flats and a night in a hostel, we headed up into the mountains for further breath taking sights, breath taking given the altitude (4,000mtrs at the highest) and the landscape that is quite stunning at every turn.
As we travelled through the most amazing, lunar like, mountain passes in the Eduardo Avarua national park, we passed a number of coloured lagoons, littered with literally thousands of flamingos.
There are three different types of flamingo varieties on display although I’ll not try to explain their differences here as I don’t know!
Having seen more flamingos than you thought possible we moved on to see more snow capped volcanoes…
Our final stop of the day was at in the Siloli desert at the famous stone tree, volcanic rocks that stand out amongst the arid landscape.
After an exhausting day we spent our final night in a hostel near one of the lagoons, luckily the small village had a stock of beer and wine so we could end the evening with some relaxation!
Up at 4am the next day for our trip to the border with Chile, heading off in the dark to the sulphur geysers. Driving off road in pitch black, our driver was amazing, no roads and no sign posts and certainly no google maps making quite an experience and no small amount of trust in our excellent driver.
Arriving at the geyser field with the sun coming up was quite special, it was cold and that sulphur smell is quite overwhelming at any time of day.
There are no health and safety features here. Our driver kindly informed us that a tourist had fallen into the boiling sulphur craters and died last year, before he led us through the slippery and smelly field! He kept us safe and able to enjoy the experience.
The colours of the craters were amazing and there are some ongoing attempts to harness the thermal energy available.
From here we headed for breakfast by some thermal pools before passing one final lagoon and a vista of volcanoes that lie by the Bolivia and Chile border.
Our driver dropped us at the border, kindly helping us jump the immigration queue before we began our final leg down into San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. We said our goodbyes to our fellow travellers and our quite fantastic guide/driver/cook/mechanic/photographer.
We had to wipe away a tear or two away after such an epic experience, one we will never forget.
Big thanks to Howlanders travel for organising the trip with Skyline Traveller as the local operator, first class all round!