Ever since I started planning this trip, Salar De Uyuni was one of the places I dreamed of going to. If any of you are doing the same, I am sure it is one of the places on your must see list.
After a rather average night staying at the Hotel Palacio de Sal, a 4-star hotel with one star Internet and 0-star management service, Chris and I met up to do the Salar De Uyuni Salt Flats.
Almost everyone we spoke to told us that we wouldn’t get out there on our motorbikes as the wet season was just finished and it was a bit of a bog.
However, we were pretty determined to get onto the famous Salar De Uyuni salt flats and then go and see the train graveyard.
We were due to set off at first light to meet in the city and get as much information as possible. Chris was meeting me just outside of my hotel.
We spent some time getting us much information as possible before we went out there. However, the locals were not very helpful.
When we got to the meeting point where all of the 4-wheel drives were taking tourists. Again we were told we cannot go out at that point; there was quite a bit of water.
We decided to take the advice of a local and go around the side and then onto the flats. This turned out to be bad advice; my bike was sliding everywhere and making little ground as the mud was thick under the surface and very sticky.
Within about 5 minutes I got bogged. Then all of the sudden Sam and his mates arrived and talked us into going out. They told us it is only a few hundred meters of bog and then hard packed salt flats from there on.
You could tell by their faces they had a great time. So they helped me and my bike get onto the harder stuff.
I can tell you they worked their arses off to get my bike onto Salar De Uyuni. I cannot thank them enough. Wirth just Chris and I, it would have been impossible.
Once we were on the salt flats, it was so much fun. We headed to the Dakar Monument and got some photos done. However, everyone wanted a ride on our bikes. I took a young girl and then a little boy and Chris and I knew we had to get out of there to get some nice riding in.
All up we spent about 2 hours out there. I think under the conditions that were enough, as the bikes were getting a massive build up of salt. In hindsight, I think we both would have wanted more time out there. But we did it!
The next day we went out to the Train Cemetery, which was ok, it looks pretty cool, but there is not much to do there after about 30 minutes.
Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni, amid the Andes in southwest Bolivia, is the world’s largest salt flat. It’s the legacy of a prehistoric lake that went dry, leaving behind a desert like, nearly 11,000-sq.-km. The landscape of bright-white salt, rock formations, and cacti-studded islands. It is otherworldly expanse can be observed from central Incahuasi Island. Though wildlife is rare in this unique ecosystem, it harbors many pink flamingos.From Wikipedia
Train Cemetery – Uyuni, Bolivia
One of the major tourist attractions of the area is an antique train cemetery. It is located 3 km outside Uyuni and is connected to it by the old train tracks. The town served in the past as a distribution hub for the trains carrying minerals on their way to the Pacific Ocean ports.
The train lines were built by British engineers who arrived near the end of the 19th century and formed a sizable community in Uyuni.
The engineers were invited by British-sponsored Antofagasta and Bolivia Railway Companies, which is now Ferrocarril de Antofagasta a Bolivia. The rail construction started in 1888 and ended in 1892.
It was encouraged by the then Bolivian President Aniceto Arce, who believed Bolivia would flourish with a good transport system, but it was also constantly sabotaged by the local indigenous people who saw it as an intrusion into their lives.
The trains were mostly used by the mining companies. In the 1940s, the mining industry collapsed, partly due to the mineral depletion. Many trains were abandoned thereby producing the train cemetery. From Wikipedia