Years ago, I traveled to Bolivia as you can read about here…
To work for a NGO in Cochabamba, Bolivia as you can read about here..
Well, during that time in Cochabamba, I often traveled on the weekends to visit different points of Bolivia for tourism reasons.
And one of those spots was the South-Western part of the country at a small area called Uyuni.
Now given how big and mountainous Bolivia can be…
It actually can be a long trip to travel from one city to another..
Especially from Cochabamba to Uyuni.
For Americans, Bolivia doesn’t look too big but it does take a while to get from one place to the next.
Either way, I get there on another overnight bus ride.
Which, back in those days, was easy for me to do as I was a bit younger.
I could never sleep well on those overnight bus trips – maybe an hour or two at most.
But when you are traveling through Bolivia on bus, you see a bunch of rural areas that look very desolate.
Compared to other Latin countries, the rural countryside in the small towns and villages really looks quite poor and underdeveloped from what I remember.
Or that was my impression at the time and now especially in hindsight.
Either way, we get to the town of Uyuni – roughly 30,000 people more or less.
And the town is quite small obviously and not too well developed.
But given the tourism aspect that brings people to the town, it does have plenty of development compared to what you would expect.
At least compared to other small towns of similar size throughout Bolivia on my bus rides that were not touristy.
The restaurants were nicer and better service overall because of the tourism factor.
Either way, you can see some photos of the town Uyuni here…
And right away I found a tour company that agreed to take me around the area outside the town..
So the trip begins…
Exploring the Salt Flats
The main touristy spot of the area outside Uyuni are the Uyuni Salt Flats.
That’s what brings in most of the tourists from what I understand.
Now you can see a photo I took of it to see just how beautiful it can get.
Of course, the stock photos look better but I digress...
But before we got there….
We saw this abandoned train in the area here.
You can read more about the history of this spot here.
Before getting to the actual Salt Flats themselves as you can see in the photos below above.
Plenty of flags obviously and the area was quite nice.
Including photos from this spot where we had food at.
Before ultimately we settled at this little hostel area here in the rural countryside – a bit cold overall but comfortable enough.
And then on to check out many of the mountains, deserts and lagoons in the area.
Photos included below here.
And during our travel, we also stayed at this little hostel area closer to the Salvador Dali Desert.
As you can see here..
And as you can read about here in this article as I elaborate more on our time in the Salvador Dali Desert and how we ran into some trouble…
I made that into its own article because it was a funny (but scary) story itself and this article you are reading now is more about the beauty of this part of South America.
Finally, we ended our trip at the Bolivian-Chilean border as you can see here.
And that’s all the photos I have of this particular trip!
Now some reflections…
Thoughts on the Trip
First, make sure to notify your family if you are going to this area.
I remember I didn’t and my family was very worried about me because I stopped any communication with them.
While traveling around the rural countryside aroud Uyuni, you obviously won’t have Wifi and won’t be able to tell anyone about how things are going.
When I got back to the town of Uyuni, I got a ton of messages blowing up my phone when I had Wifi again.
Basically family trying to reach out to me and also the NGO I was working with trying to reach out to me also.
Apparently the US Embassy was notified of my disappearance but they didn’t seem as concerned as the expert my family talked with assumed I simply didn’t have Wifi due to the area I was in.
Which was correct!
But similar to if you were to travel to other rural areas of Latin America without Wifi – make sure to notify family or someone of where you will be beforehand.
Not only to keep anyone from being worried but also for safety in case something does happen.
Which is unlikely but could be the case.
Second, as you can see in the photos, this area is quite diverse.
And I didn’t even cover everything this part of South America has to offer.
If I were to have crossed the Chilean border, I could have seen the Atacama Desert.
And not too far away was the Argentine border where you can check out beautiful scenery nearby there as well.
Plus, you have the Tarija area of Bolivia close by that is known for producing wine.
You got salt flats, mountains, lagoons, deserts, snow and also areas that can produce wine.
So much diversity in scenery and landscape in this area!
In my experience, this area was truly one of the more remarkable in natural scenery in Latin America.
At least from what I have seen up to this point of time.
If given the opportunity, I would love to hike some of the mountains in this area.
But you get the idea – the amount of diversity in landscape and natural scenery is amazing here.
And recommended for anyone to visit.
Anyway, if you have any experiences or questions…
Drop them below in the comment section.
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