We bumped along the high altitude plains and canyons of the Southwest Circuit, for almost two days before reaching the more famous lagoons.
Now, lagoons on their own might not be that exciting, but when you stuff them full of flamingos, that is another story. We explored many lagoons of different hues crammed full of flamingos, and if you know anything about Kristen, this made her super excited.
We won’t bore you with too much detail about the lagoons, but they all were interesting in their own regard. Some were colored red due to the allege and others green from the minerals. The colors of the lagoons are more pronounced when the sun is out, but unfortunately there was not too much sun during our visit.
Even though the colors were not super bright, the lagoons were still beautiful and interesting. Getting to them was also an adventure, as this area looked like one giant road with tracks leading in all directions. Thankfully, Segundino, our guide, knew just where to go.
The entire area was covered in small, volcanic rocks which made perfect natural roads, and actually, they were some of the best roads we had seen in Bolivia.
Okay, so now that we have bored you with the details of the lagoons, here come the pictures of the flamingos.
Some lagoons “only” had a few hundred, while others seemingly had a few thousand.
It was a little hard to wrap your head around the fact that you were looking at flamingos in the freezing cold at around 14,000 feet.
Shouldn’t they be hanging out in the Flordia Keys drinking tropical drinks on someone’s lawn?
Okay, while this area has many flamingos, it actually may have more Toyota Land Cruisers.
If you ever owned one of these jeeps in the last 20 years, you can pretty much guarantee it is down in Bolivia, cruising the salt flats and Southwest Circuit. Once we met up with the jeeps from Uyuni, there were literally hundreds cruising around the terrain, and even more in the towns. You had to take a good look at your jeep and note some of its details in order not to get in the wrong one after a scenic stop.
We also had a nice break at some hot springs, which were pretty awesome once the crowd cleared out.
We were also lucky to have our functioning Land Cruiser (some other groups were not quite as lucky), as it took us to some more amazing places, like geysers located at over 16,000 feet. If you haven’t picked up on this fact yet, we have basically spent the last three months at high altitude.
The geysers were blasting off a bunch of steam, like a boiling kettle, and were fun to walk around. These geysers are unlike other ones around the world we have visited because they are hot enough to melt your skin off, but come without warnings or fences to keep you back.
You could walk right up and even fall in if you wanted to. Bolivia just figures you should be smart enough to know the steam coming out of the ground is dangerous, and you should decide how close to get. This is so unlike The States, where if someone got burned, they would try to figure out how to sue Mother Earth.
We spent the night in a rustic cabin at high altitude, and headed out early, again. This day we had a long distance to travel, and we were hoping to get to the salt flats by sunset.
Along the way we passed some great rock formations, and the famous stone tree.
We spent a little time running around the rocks and enjoying the barren landscape.
Our guide had told us about a little salt hotel near the salt flats where he wanted us to stay. The only problem was there was only room for 3 jeeps, and there would be 12 trying for the same spot, so we had to keep moving.
So back in the jeep, and back on the road.
We spent the rest of the day putting some kilometers behind us, as we cruised the muddy roads leading to Uyuni. True to his word, our guide got us to the salt flat for sunset, and a room at the salt hotel. Double bonus.
We spent about 2 hours walking around the salar and taking in the gorgeous sunset. It was incredible and we were so stoked to have made it in time. It was definitely worth all the time in the car. Not many guides are willing to visit the salar for sunset and sunrise, but our guide was more than happy to make both happen.
During the rainy season the salt flat is full of water and the reflections on this smooth water are unimaginable.
The salt flats are one of the most magical places we have ever seen. We took so many pictures of this one special place, that we’ll have to share the rest of the salt flat pictures in the next post.