Salar de Uyuni a.k.a the Salt Flats of Bolivia a.k.a the largest mirror in the world are a natural phenomenon that often features on people’s bucket lists. It’s located within a magical and vast terrain in south west Bolivia surrounded by equally impressive landscapes full of multicoloured lakes and mountains not unlike the surface of the moon in our imaginations. It’s not just about the salt flats here, not at all. The geysers, hot springs (don’t think about the cold, just dive in), clear starry skies at night and hotels made completely of salt all feature on this incredible journey full of beautiful postcard pictures you’ll remember for ever. Here’s my guide to making sure you get the most out of the experience, including pictures, what it’s like, how to get there, how to book a tour and when to visit.
We arrived in Bogota, Colombia to an overcast sky as the sun was setting. There was just enough light when we were landing to see the twinkling lights sprawling far wider than I expected. This was the first of many expectations that would be surpassed on our 5 month trip across South America, the intrepid land where backpackers go to find themselves or have an adventure in a place so completely different to what we know. It seemed in fact, that this capital city that I’d never heard of before booking the flights was just like any other. I was full of hope that it wouldn’t be a dangerous country full of drug barons and anarchists, waiting to make a quick buck by kidnapping the first affluent westerner they saw. That all changed when we stepped out of our hotel.
Travelling from Peru to Bolivia presented us with one of the most picturesque border crossings on our round the world trip via Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable body of water in the world at just over 3,800 metres above sea level. Nestled high up in the Andes, many people believe this to be the birth place of the Incas, not hard to believe when you consider how tough Machu Pichu was to find. They sure do love secret hideaways, and this lake is in many ways just as mysterious as it’s more famous counterpart. On the Peruvian side you can find intriguing colonies of indigenous people living on man made reed islands, in Bolivia a rural island full of Inca ruins and agricultural communities that are yet to receive any form of transport or wifi. It’s a real back to basics trekking experience not to be missed if you’re feeling intrepid. We ventured forth to find out more.
I was very happy when I received an email from Rebecca a.k.a The Recovering Hippie this week, informing me that she was nominating me for the Liebster Award. This is an award aimed at supporting new bloggers, whereby each person nominated answers 11 questions given to them by the person who nominates them. It’s a great chance to get to know different up and coming blogs and to strengthen the community. Rebecca has given me 11 questions to answer, which I hope you will enjoy reading to get a better sense of the type of blogger and traveller I am. At the end, I will nominate 3 new bloggers and give them 11 questions to answer.
Let me start by saying I am by no means a serious trekker. The opposite in fact, I usually have to be pushed up the last part of a summit. I do still, however, love the mountains. As a city girl I love to get into a wide open spaces with views I couldn’t imagine in my wildest dreams and I firmly believe you don’t have to be a fit sporty type to enjoy that. All my favourite places below can be enjoyed by any fitness level, you’ll see what I mean when you get there and see the South American families on days out together hiking volcanoes with grannies in tow.
This was not an easy list to compile, but a fun one. We had so many great times on our trip of a lifetime it’s hard to pick just 10, but these are the ones that brought tears to my eyes, made me feel free and made the times when it was difficult worth it. All photos were taken on our trip.
Machu Pichu is on most people’s itineraries when they visit Peru, and for good reason. It’s hidden lost city built in the middle of the jungle abandoned for reasons we can only speculate, brimming with genius architectural designs that one cannot comprehend at times. Suffice to say it left me breathless, and though Peru is bursting full of wondrous and diverse places to explore, this one cannot be missed. Of course, there are several ways to experience it based on your level of fitness, preferred level of comfort, size of your wallet and love of the outdoors. It’s good to have an idea of which way is right for you before you go, or you’ll risk being flummoxed and under pressure to book when you get there. Stay cool, pick 2-3 reputable agencies to visit and haggle with and keep in mind what you really want to get out of the experience.
The Galápagos Islands are a magical place to visit, full of adventure and unique wildlife for you to immerse yourself in. Once you’ve decided to go, the first decision to make is whether to take a cruise or travel independently, and the right answer for you depends on your budget and how much you like boats! Both will give you the potential to have your dream experience, but think seriously about the practicalities of both options before making your decision.