I don’t think I could ever get enough of the beauty of Salar de Uyuni and it was sad to leave. We ventured on by 4×4 to the Siloli Desert and its colored lagoons. The landscape here is not the desert landscape I imagined. I always tend to associate deserts with the Sahara desert and its rolling sand dunes. Here, it is just arid coarse land surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Here and there, you will spot some vicunas and llamas feeding on the shrubs in the wetlands. After driving for hours (I lost count) on bumpy “roads”, we arrived at Laguna Hedionda which is a saline lake which is also called stinking lake from the high concentration of sulphur. The lake, like many others in the area, is filled with flamingos. After having our lunch at Laguna Hedionda, we continued through the arid landscape to reach our hotel for the night, Tayka Desert Hotel. For something so far remote from civilisation, I have to say this hotel is run quite well although the water here again smelled like sulphur. This time I opted for wet wipes instead of a sulphur shower. And yes I slept fully clothed again like a babushka lady but at least that was what I had expected in the middle of nowhere.
Early the next morning, we set out to Laguna Colorada within the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna Nature Reserve. Laguna Colorada is a lake colored blood red by the algae living in it. Many flamingos feed here on the red algae lending the pink color to their feathers. As the day wears on, the lake becomes more red because the flamingos are digging up more and more sediments and red algae. It is very beautiful here and the landscape and the colors are things out of a dream.
I could have stayed and watched the flamingos at Laguna Colorada all day but we had to press on. We went up close to 5,000 meters to see the Sol de Mañana or Morning Sun geothermal fields. This area is filled with mud pools with boiling sulphur and mud emitting pressurised steam. We pass by several other lagoons before reaching the border of Chile. However, the other lagoons pale in comparison to Laguna Colorada.
This concludes my trip to Bolivia. After having traveled to over 50 countries, I am not easily impressed and I have to say the Uyuni Salt Flat and the Siloli Desert exceeded my wildest expectations. This area of Bolivia is definitely a must see!
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