Tupiza to Uyuni: Four days of fotos locos


July 28, 2012 by Leah

We knew we couldn´t visit Bolivia without doing the infamous Salar de Uyuni tour. We started in Tupiza.

Our day in Tupiza was pretty uneventful, except for the crazy horseback ride we took. Our guide was probably about 13 years old and spoke no English. Actually, he barely spoke at all. No instructions about how to ride, nada. At one point on the trail, he started galloping and our horses followed suit. Hanging on for dear life and yelling “No! No! No! No! No!” Tali and I finally got our horses to stop. Scared out of our minds and completely relieved that we hadn´t fallen to our deaths, I tried to explain to our guide that we did NOT want to gallop. He just looked at me, confused, and said in Spanish: “Why don´t you want to run?” I wiped the look of terror off my face and smiled for the photo below.

The next morning we left for our four-day, three-night tour. Early in the morning, we were herded into a Jeep 4×4 with a French couple, driver, and a cook, and we headed up into the mountains. We were the third Jeep in our caravan. Basically, we were driven all over the place, stopping every half hour or so to look at something and take pictures.

We stayed at tiny outposts in the middle of nowhere that had no heat. We rented sleeping bags for the sub-zero nights. Brrr.

We saw a LOT of things.

So many llamas.


A ghost town in the middle of nowhere. (Founded by Spanish settlers looking for gold or silver, then abandoned.)

An expanse of naturally-occurring borax. Yum.

A dormant volcano.

An expanse of desert named after Salvador Dali because it looks like the desert featured in many of his paintings.

A thermal hot spring.

Crazy active geysers.

A red lake. (Yeah sun reflecting off minerals!)

The “Stone Tree.”


We shared lunch with these critters.

We drove through some crazy shit. (My Stratus wouldn´t have lasted 10 minutes on these “roads.”)

We saw a semi-active volcano. See the steam?

We were whalers on the moon.

We tried quinoa beer. (I liked it!)

We reached an altitude of 4,855 meters (15,928 feet).

Then we reached 5,000 meters–basically as high as you can get! (16,404 feet!)

We made friends! Here we are with Lisa, Derek, and Frederica.

We saw the sun rise over the Salar de Uyuni, the biggest salt flat in the world.

We had breakfast at an island of cacti in the middle of the salt flat.

And hung out with some llamas.

We took “fotos locos” on the salt flat.

We saw the very first salt hotel (the building is made entirely of salt). We also stayed in a newer one. So salty!

We finished our tour at a train cemetery, aka, train playground complete with swings and see-saw.


5 thoughts on “Tupiza to Uyuni: Four days of fotos locos

  1. Crysta says:

    So so so so so awesome. ❤

  2. George Chang says:

    omg!!!! I can’t find a word from my limited English vocabulary to describe how I feel after reading this……. GREAT PERFECT EXCELLENT TERRIFIC WONDERFUL BRAVO ……….

  3. Aaron says:

    Such amazing photos!!! Honestly the best and most clever salt flat pictures i’ve ever seen. Good job Sis!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Quinoa beer?!!! That’s awesome. Love your salt flat fotos. Also Tali the pic of you in the previous post with the crazy dessert is fabulous.

  5. Amy says:

    Your pictures are amazing! Where you went on your “hike” looks like a completely other planet somewhere in deep space nine or something.

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