15 – 18 February – 4 day, 4 wheel drive trip to Bolivia

It’s strange how things work out. When I arrived in San Pedro only to find everything closed, I had three options…Stay and wait it out…Leave…Go to Bolivia on the 4 day trip. I opted to go to Bolivia. The Hostel in San Pedro let me leave the bike (and didn’t charge me)

It was the best thing I could have done and frankly it was the highlight of the “bike’ part of my trip so far!

I’m going to bore you with lots of photos as I just don’t know what to cut out!

We had two Land Cruisers of six people plus two drivers…ours was Felix.

My group plus Felix the driver

In the group of twelve we had three Poms (Annette, Mira and Patrick) Two Chileans (Fernanda and Maria Jesus) Two Germans (Sebastian and Elizabeth) Two Argentinians (Ise and Diana) Actually Ise is what I called him as his name as is quite unpronounceable!) One French girl (Carine) One American girl (Jeannie) and me…Needless to say I was the oldest by far! They were a terrific and lively bunch and we all got on like a house on fire!

Sorry, not the best photo but it’s the only one of the full group!

The group..3 Poms, 2 Germans, 2 Argentinians, 2 Chileans, One American ,One French and Me!

The trip was three nights and four days from San Pedro to Uyuni in Bolivia and back

We saw amazing scenery and many beautiful lakes. We saw extraordinary rock formations and strange looking plants!

Strange green plant..It looks soft but is like a rock

 

 

One way to get rid of me!

 

The mountains were dusted with snow on the outward part of the trip. On the return (4th day) they were covered in snow as the previous night we had a storm to end all storms.

We spent most of the time at a height of about 4900 metres! ….Luckily none of us had problems other than a few headaches….

We swam in a hot spring and from there on I was known as Geoff Heffner as all the girls wanted their photo taken with me!!!!! (I wish!)

"Geoff Heffner" in the thermal pool with the girls

We saw thousands of Flamingos on the lakes. it was so beautiful.

We saw wild Vicuna and Llamas and the funniest rabbit (actually it wasn’t a rabbit but I can’t remember what it was called!)…..

There were lots of birds but don’t ask me what they were!

In Uyuni we went to the train museum which is basically dozens of rusting old trains and bits of trains that have been dumped there……They have made some adult play things like a giant see saw, and a swing etc……. We all became a bunch of kids again!

Train Museum! Lots of old trains left to rot

Salar De Uyuni

The highlight for me was the Salar De Uyuni which is this HUGE salt flat. At the moment it is under water but we could still drive over it. The Land Cruisers stopped about 10 Kms into the flats and we walked around and took silly photo’s and had lunch!

The 4 wheel driving was great fun. We went through semi flooded river beds, over vast empty plains, over muddy and bumpy roads. You name it. Great fun. I wish I could have had a drive!.

No place for Azulo!

The drivers were excellent and our driver on the way home  (Rodriguez I think) proved he was a frustrated rally driver…..The last night, as mentioned earlier, there was a huge storm. We missed most of it but the roads were flooded, bumpy and it was getting dark. No worries for Rodriguez…He just was “living the dream” and FLEW along over bumps and by the edges of deep ravines and he never seemed to slow down on corners in the snow!

The Hostels (or Refuges as they call them) were very basic. None had hot water. The first night we slept 6 per room.

My room mates - I'st night...I tried not to snore!

The food was surprisingly good for two nights…the last night was a disaster…… There was no electricity overnight, the rooms were partly flooded, the loo and shower were basic, the food was terrible….. but the company was great and we had a good time anyway.

Night 3 room..Not terrific!

Luckily we didn’t have long in that Refuge…we got there at 8.30 and had to leave at 5.00AM! We couldn’t get out fast enough!

5 AM start on last day

We had all possible sorts of weather…Sun, Rain, Snow,Hail……In reality it was the perfect weather as we had the lot!

The only real downside of the trip was the inevitable customs queue to get back into Chile. It is quite ridiculous. There were hundreds of people in a queue and two windows. Why do they treat their tourists with such contempt. It took over 2.5 hours and we were all exhausted just wanting a hot shower and a sleep!

We had a great dinner that night and drank lots of farewell Pisco Sours!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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