Salar de Uyuni… Salt Flats Tour

We arrived to Uyuni from Potosi at midnight. The second we got off the bus, a lady bombarded us, asking us if we wanted to do the Salt Flats tour with her company. We were warned of this lady and kindly told her we were waiting for the morning to book our tour. (She apparently is really nice, and then takes a 180 turn after you give her your money, and the tour is absolutely horrible! Luckily we were warned of this ahead of time!!) After getting away from that lady, we walked a couple blocks to where all the hostels are located. There we met Leza, who was also searching for a hostel. We ended up all sleeping at the same place and booking a tour together the next morning.

We had to meet at the tour office at 10:30, so in the morning, we shopped a bit for goodies for our trip and then got a huge pizza for breakfast… Yes, we got pizza for breakfast!! It was amazing, and to top off the pizza we also each got a soda before it was even 9:30 am!! We loaded up the tour jeep and were off by 11:00. Our tour agency was great and the group of people on the tour was even better! We had such a remarkable time!

This bad boy took us miles and miles through nowhere!

This bad boy took us miles and miles through nowhere!

The first day of the tour we stopped at the Train Cemetery, where we saw loads of trains on and off tracks that were just abandoned in the middle of nowhere. From there, we got into the salar, and were astonished by the amount of salt there was in the middle of this place. We drove for hours and hours just on salt, and salt was all that was there as far as the eye could see. It was like looking out at the ocean and seeing water forever, but instead it was just salt forever. We had lunch at the first ever Salt Hotel, and then went to a random island that had cacti all over it. We were confused at first at why this was called an island, but then our guide explained that the layer of salt we were driving on was actually a layer of salt anywhere from a couple meters to over thirty meters thick that was just on the top of water. So fair enough, it actually was an island!! From there, we drove miles and miles more to where we would sleep for the night.

Train Cemetery

Train Cemetery

These trains were all just abandoned, and supposably nobody knows why.

These trains were all just abandoned, and supposably nobody knows why.

Train Cemetery

Straight up abandoned.

Old Rugged Metal from the inside of a steam engine!

Old Rugged Metal from the inside of a steam engine!

Having a good time playing around on the wreckage.

Having a good time playing around on the wreckage.

Cheesin in the Salar.

Cheesin in the Salar.

Walking off into nowhere.

Walking off into nowhere.

Who knew salt could be so pretty??!!

Who knew salt could be so pretty??!!

"Do something besides just stand there!!"

“Do something besides just stand there!!”

"Okay now that we are on this salt mountain with the rose what should we do??"

“Okay now that we are on this salt mountain with the rose what should we do??”

Cheezin'

Cheezin’

Huge sculpture outside the salt hotel.

Huge sculpture outside the salt hotel.

No American flag.. but this was outside the original salt hotel.

No American flag.. but this was outside the original salt hotel.

The Dakar race will be running through here in 2015.

The Dakar race will be running through here in 2015.

Having a good ol time

Having a good ol time

Heather is about to crush Jason.

Heather is about to crush Jason.

My little angle right in the palm of my hand!

My little angle right in the palm of my hand!

Picture this as far as you can see!

Picture this as far as you can see!

The wonders of salt!

The wonders of salt!

Scruffy.. or more like shaggy..

Scruffy.. or more like shaggy..

Plug your nose!!

Plug your nose!!

Diving into the bottle.

Diving into the bottle.

It's amazing the shapes the salt makes when it dries up!

It’s amazing the shapes the salt makes when it dries up!

Salt. Salt. Salt.

Salt. Salt. Salt.

We had to get a picture acting like the cacti like in Saguaro National Park!!

We had to get a picture acting like the cacti like in Saguaro National Park!!

The cactus island.

The cactus island.

They were almost just like the saguaros in Arizona.

They were almost just like the saguaros in Arizona.

Check out Jason's hair do!!

Check out Jason’s hair do!!

The island in the middle of the salt flats!

The island in the middle of the salt flats!

Nothing but salt!!!

Nothing but salt!!!

Every now and then on the tour we would run into these cute little llamas.

Every now and then on the tour we would run into these cute little llamas.

We arrived to our own Salt Hotel where the walls, beds, tables, and benches were all made of salt. It was a really cool place. We hung out and played cards, star gazed, and waited till 9:30 for our dinner to be ready. After dinner everyone was exhausted, so we called it a night.

Our hostel for the night.

Our hostel for the night.

Even the bed was made out of salt, with a real dirty mattress and sheets on top!

Even the bed was made out of salt, with a real dirty mattress and sheets on top!

The table and benches are made out of salt!!

The table and benches are made out of salt!!

Sunset night one.

Sunset night one.

The next morning we were up and eating around 8:00, then out the door for our second day in the jeep together. This day consisted of lots and lots of driving, with gorgeous views, lots of beautiful lakes with flamingos, and a song on repeat for like three hours!! The six of us in decided we needed some kind of road trip game to play. Heather suggested “My dad owns a grocery store” (family game!!) but everyone was more fond of Jason’s idea of the alphabet celebrity game. This is a game where you say a famous person’s name, and then the next person has to say another celebrity’s name that begins with the last letter of the previous name given. For example, one could say Chris Tomlin, and then the next person has to say a name that starts with the letter T. This game lasted us for hours, but eventually we got bored and wanted a new game. So we grabbed Jason’s phone and began playing Heads Up, a charade game where the phone decides what people are going to act out, and then it records everyone while they are acting it out. Obviously there wasn’t much acting out since the six of us were jammed in the jeep, but the game was great anyways.

Flower blooming on the cactus!

Flower blooming on the cactus!

God's beauty for days and days!!

God’s beauty for days and days!!

Literally in the middle of nowhere!!

Literally in the middle of nowhere!!

Volcano after volcano for our view on the second and third days.

Volcano after volcano for our view on the second and third days.

Some type of fungus growing on the rocks at the volcano lookout.

Some type of fungus growing on the rocks at the volcano lookout.

The Stinky Lake

The Stinky Lake

We are so incredibly blessed by the things we are able to do!!

We are so incredibly blessed by the things we are able to do!!

It was like we were on Mars!!

It was like we were on Mars!!

1.2.3 jump!!

1.2.3 jump!!

And another gorgeous volcano.

And another gorgeous volcano.

Yet another gorgeous lake!

Yet another gorgeous lake!

Heather got nasty poop/who knows what all over her feet as she was trying to get this picture!!

Heather got nasty poop/who knows what all over her feet as she was trying to get this picture!!

Gotta get that backflip in!

Gotta get that backflip in!

Flamingos!!!

Flamingos!!!

Can't get enough of this view!

Can’t get enough of this view!

The petrified "forest".

The petrified “forest”.

The Salar Crew

The Salar Crew

Red Lake.. the algae on the lake causes it to turn red.

Red Lake.. the algae on the lake causes it to turn red.

Laguna Colorada...so many flamingos!!

Laguna Colorada…so many flamingos!!

We pulled in to the place we were supposed to stay for the evening, but there were no rooms available. We drove to two more places with the same thing happening before we found a place with vacancy. We all found this a bit weird, but understood that they can’t book the hostels because there is no reception that far out in the boonies. Once we got settled in, we got out Heads Up again and played with the other group at the hostel. We ended up playing games until dinner was ready. We enjoyed our spaghetti all hung out for a bit longer, then called it a night because we had to be up at 4:15 the next morning to fit everything in before hopping on the bus at 9:30 to Chile.

Sunset night two!

Sunset night two!

We were up and moving a bit later than we were supposed to be, our car was having car problems, and half our group was feeling sick from the night before, but we eventually made it out and on the “road”. We marveled at the huge geysers, relaxed in hot springs, and were amazed by the reflections of the volcanoes in different lakes. We got dropped off just before 9:30 to get bused to San Pedro de Atacama to start our time in Chile.

Crazy geyser.

Crazy geyser.

So scared!!!

So scared!!!

Our shadows are close enough for me!!

Our shadows are close enough for me!!

These things were so loud behind us!! It would be so scary falling into one!!

These things were so loud behind us!! It would be so scary falling into one!!

The huge geysers.

The huge geysers.

Stranded!!

Stranded!!

So quiet and still that there is a perfect reflection across Green Lake.

So quiet and still that there is a perfect reflection across Green Lake.

The lake behind us is called Green Lake. The guides say that when the wind blows the lake turns green.

The lake behind us is called Green Lake (Laguna Verde). The guides say that when the wind blows the lake turns green.


…Our Plans From Here…

As you know from our last post, we were unable to go to Santiago from San Pedro, so we caught a bus up to Iquique. We have been in Iquique now for about a week, and will be taking off later today to suffer a 24-hour bus ride down to Santiago. While we were here in Iquique, we enjoyed every minute of relaxing on the beach and we had an amazing Christmas. We knew the Lord directed us here for a reason, and it didn’t take us long to figure out why. First, we know He wanted us here to slow us down a bit and to focus on Him. Secondly, He wanted us here for Heather to trade in the book that she just finished reading for a book about blessings and curses. That book has pinpointed so many different things that are going on in our life and the lives of some of our friends, that we know the Lord brought us here just to get our hands on that book for a clearer understanding of those things. It’s amazing what He can do and does do when you allow Him to work in your life and guide the direction of where you are going.

So like we said, we leave later today to head to Santiago for a few days where we will be couch surfing until we head to Valparaiso for New Years. Our next post won’t be until after New Years, where we will fill you in about our time here in Iquique along with everything through the end of the year!! Have a great New Years everyone!!


…Prayer Requests…

*Pray that we continue to seek the Lord and allow Him to guide and direct our trip.

*Pray for our health. Jason has been doing well with the effects of having Crohn’s, but we know that is something that we need to be thanking the Lord for healing everyday, as well as praying that He keeps it out of Jason’s body.

*Pray for safe travels for our friend Alex, who flies down here January 6th.

*Pray for Jason’s grad school acceptance. As some of you know, he applied for school in Scotland, and his application will be reviewed in January, so pray, pray, pray till your knees get sore that God’s will will be done.

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