Monday, 16 May 2011

Crossing to Bolivia - Villazon to Uyuni

Getting to La Quiaca from Humahuaca was 3,5h by bus. I arrived early afternoon and after walking for about 1km I reached the borderline. On the Bolivian side, Villazon is the border town. My first destination in Bolivia, would be Uyuni and had decided to get there by train; by far the most convenient way, given the bad condition of the Bolivia road network and buses.

a good 11h on the train....executive class for 15euros

So, after an unnecessarily lengthy passport control (almost 2h) I headed to the train station which was another 1km walk, at the other end of Villazon.
First thing you notice in Bolivia is that is considerably cheaper than Argentina. Food, transportation, accommodation,....everything is less than half price !! Ok, so that's the place to recover my financials :))

I reached Uyuni at 1.30am, without having booked any place to sleep as usual. Together with 3 Argentinian co-travellers, we found a cheap, clean, hostel for the night, with hot water, for 25 pesos bolivianos (approx. 2,6 euros). All I can say is that Uyuni at night is freezing cold. For the first time in this journey I slept wearing all my clothes, inside my sleeping bag, and two heavy, there was no heating in the room :)

the view from the train was somewhat....flat; although at 3.000m above sea level

just before getting to Uyuni
The only reason for someone to visit Uyuni is the magnificent salt lake (salar); sitting at over 3.600m above sea level.. It stretches over an area of 10.500 sq. km and is totally flat. In fact, it is so flat that is used by space satellite systems for calibration purposes. Unfortunately, I did not have the time to take the 3-day trip offered by many agencies, but I did, together with my Argentinian friends, hired a taxi to take us there for a few hours to stare at this exceptionally beautiful result of several earth transformations, over millions of years.

water has a depth of about 80cm max.

sun is really need tons of sunblock over here

Salar de Uyuni is holding about 50% of earths reserves in Lithium. Yes, they are currently being extracted !

tons and tons of salt under our feet. I does taste like sea salt in fact :)

After Uyuni, I headed for Sucre, the capital of Bolivia and my friends to La Paz. Suerte amigos !!