【Português】Para ler a versão em português, clique aqui.
In this post I’m going to write about the trip from Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, to San Pedro de Atacama, in Chile. This trip is done in a 4×4 car, with about 5-6 people and the driver, in 3 days. We cross the Atacama Desert, passing through amazing landscapes and wild animals, such as llamas, vicuñas, foxes, flamingos, etc. During this trip sometimes it was very hot, sometimes very cold, it even snowed in the desert! I was very lucky with my group as well, I had a lot of fun. It’s really nice to make new friend during a trip.
I read in many blogs that this trip is quite challenging, with a lot of trouble on the way. I don’t know if it’s because I’m used to cheap hostels and trouble during trips, but I didn’t find it that challenging. On my last day I had to wait for many hours without food and toilet nearby, I was very tired and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to go to my final destination, but it’s part of the trip. Especially when you are travelling in the desert, without many resources.
I booked my trip in advance on the Internet, but it’s possible to book after getting in Uyuni as well. Actually it’s cheaper to book there and you can negotiate the price. I paid $200 dollars (with all included, car, driver, gasoline, hostel and food), but it seems that you can pay much less. Many people don’t cross the border between Bolivia and Chile and then go back to Uyuni. In my group, I was the only one to cross the border and go to San Pedro de Atacama. You can also do the opposite, start from San Pedro de Atacama and go to Uyuni, as most people do.
On the first day we do the same route as the 1-day trip to Salar de Uyuni. I wrote about the tour on the last post, so I’m not going to write the details here (you can read it here). Many people asked me why I did the 1-day tour as well, because I would visit the same places again. I knew the route would be the same, but I wanted to enjoy all those amazing landscapes and as the weather may change, I didn’t want to risk visiting the salar on a bad day. I spent more money, but it was really worth it. On the first day we visited the train cemetery, Colchani, salt hotel and took a looooooooooot of pictures. Then we slept at a salt hostel. Everything is made of salt, so after taking a shower, my foot got dirty with the salt again…haha. We have to pay 10 bolivianos to take a shower, but I recommend taking a shower whenever it’s possible, because on the second day there were no place no shower.
On the second day we woke up early and passed through many beautiful landscapes: Salar de Chiguana, Vólcan Ollague, Cañapa, Chiarcota, Laguna Hedionda, Desierto Siloli, the famous tree rock (arbol de piedra), Laguna Colorada, etc. On the way we saw a lot of quinua plantation, giant cactus, quinua and cactus beer, wild llamas and vicuñas.
We spent all day crossing the desert, stopping only to take pictures and to eat. Before researching about this trip I thought it wasn’t so interesting, as in my head desert is a place with sand and nothing more. But I was wrong about Atacama Desert, there are a lot of things to see.
Last day of the journey! On the last day we wake up even earlier, because I had to cross the border to San Pedro de Atacama and the rest of the group had to go back to Uyuni. For our surprise, we woke up to a white desert! It had snowed during the night and they said it’s very rare to snow this time of the year. I didn’t know it snowed in Atacama Desert and I was very happy to experience that. Unfortunately, because of the snow we couldn’t visit some places, like Desierto de Dali and Laguna Verde. But we went to see the Geiseres del Sol de la Mañana and we bathed at the thermal water in the snow! I had never done such thing before. Outside it was very cold, so I froze when I got out the hot water.
And because of the snow I wasn’t sure if I would be able to cross the border, because many drivers don’t cross it when it snows. It can be dangerous, because if the car stops somewhere in the middle of the way, it would be very hard to get help. But after waiting for many hours, I could continue my trip. It was very sad to say goodbye to my group, as we had spent more than two full days travelling together, it was really fun and I learnt a lot of Spanish with them haha.
In San Pedro de Atacama I got to know a lot of nice people too and visited unforgettable places as well. I’m going to write about it on the next post 🙂
My TOP 10 of this backpack trip: TOP 10 – PLACES/EXPERIENCES OF MY LATIN AMERICA BACKPACK TRIP
How much I spent in this backpack trip: LATIN AMERICA BACKPACK TRIP! ～SUMMARY～
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