Paul's South American Travels travel blog

Me, looking daft before entering the Potosi silver mines

Jo, Holding the Dynamite mixed with Ammonium Nitrate as the fuse was...

Jeep trip day 1: driving across the Salar de Uyuni

Jeep trip day 1: Having a coke in the Salt Hotel

Jeep trip day 1: Me, standing on top of an Island in...

Jeep trip day 1: Jacinta with the jeep group standning behind in...


After returning to La Paz from the Pampas in Rurrenabaque (for much needed break from mosquitos) we planned to head for Potosi and the Uyuni in order to book a 3 day jeep trip across the Bolivian salt lake into Chile. This is a great way to get from Bolivia to Chile. It covers the 12,000 square km salt lake, volcanoes, volcanic geysers and flamingo lakes.

We used Potosi to break up the journey from La Paz to Uyuni and arrived on the 23rd of Dec. Potosi used to be the richest city in the world when the Spanish found Silver there in the 1500´s, but now it is fairly poor, albeit relatively well off for Bolivia. The mines are worth seeing, especially when you visit the miners market before hand and buy some dynamite! We bought 4 sticks, 2 as a present for the miners, and 2 to set off. Because we bought them a present, they rolled the 2 dynamite sticks together and added it to a bag of Ammonium Nitrate... They even lit the fuse when it was in Jo´s mouth... just for fun! when it went off it was a heck of an explosion, but luckily not in Jo´s mouth!

The following day (Christmas day) we took the 6 hour bus to Uyuni and arrived just in time for a huge Christmas buffet.

On the 26th we started the Jeep trip across the Uyuni salt lake. The lake is a real sight, it has to be the most amazing thing I have ever seen so far. Just massive expansive of flat, dry, blinding salt. We drove for hours with the mountains in the distance hardly changing. Also, in the middle is a hotel made soley from salt! we didn´t stay there (it was 70 US$ per night) but we did have a coke in the main lobby... just for the photo. :-)

We stopped for lunch on an island in the middle of the lake, which is full of cactai, pretty amazing to find an island in the middle of all that salt. That night we stayed in Belle Vista on the other side of the lake on the way to Chile. Belle Vista is like an oasis resort with it´s own generator, so it was nice to have electricity and a hot shower, albeit for 2 hours in the evening.

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