Hard to believe but I as I write this I am now back in the US and at the beach in the Outer Banks, NC. It is hot and beautiful and I am very happy to be here but I have a lot to write about the end of our trip.
Due to Social Unrest in the city of Potosi (they are protesting the government for not bringing a promised international airport among other things) we could not pass through in a bus. Our original plan was to go Samaipata>Sucre>Potosi>Uyuni and back but instead we had to go Samaipata>Cochabamba>Oruro>Uyuni which is much longer but doable. Our last morning in Samaipata was really nice but also we were quite sad to leave. In the afternoon we took a cab down the road to the next town, Mairana where there are overnight buses to Cochabamba. I thought the ride was relatively good, I had a window and watched the pretty scenery a lot of the way before trying to sleep but Aidan hated how the road is mostly on a cliff the whole way and couldn’t sleep haha.
In Cochabamba we had to sleep on the bus until the bus terminal opened and we could hop on a bus to Oruro. We were planning to spend a night in Oruro but unfortunately when we arrived we learned that the only buses to Uyuni are overnight buses so we decided to leave that night. We had to spend the day in Oruro. We did find a pretty decent bar on top of a hotel with a view of the city. Then we took our second overnight bus in a row which was long and frigid cold. We goy to Uyuni early in the morning under dressed and so cold we got a bed at the first awful alojamiento we saw.
The next day we found a good tour agency and booked our salt flats tour. Then we were lucky enough to run into Dave and Ernesto from Samaipata on the street! We knew they were passing through returning from work but we didn’t know when, que suerte. We spent the day with them hanging out and drinking beer.
In the morning we met four nice Chilean girls who would be in our jeep with us and our guide Miguel and we were off on our three day tour. The salt flats were really different this time because it is the dry season. Last time I was there was the rainy season. It’s a salt desert now but is was just as breathtaking and beautiful, very cold, but a truly gorgeous and interesting trip that I highly recommend.
Upon returning to Uyuni we decided to buy bus tickets to La Paz. Unfortunately almost every bus company was sold old. We ran around like crazy with the woman from the travel agency who oddly enough was also going to La Paz that night and the three of us ended up on a bus to Oruro where we could connect to La Paz. They told us that because of a roadblock we would be charged extra on the bus. When we got on the bus and everyone was asked for ten more bolivianos which is like a dollar but everyone started yelling at the ayudante and she almost turned the bus around. It was mostly foreigners yelling and I was just like wow please just pay the dollar and lets move on, finally we did.
When we reached the roadblock we waited nearly two hours and then our bus finally moved past another one to close and hit it a little and one of our bus windows shattered into the bus all over a family. Additionally the little boy in the family started vomiting. It was great. The bus window was taped a little but the rest of the drive was ice cold.
La Paz was fantastic, I love that city. We spent two nights there. We took the cities new teleferico, wandered the witches market, and ate good food. Our last night we went out to a club and only slept two hours before our flight back to Santa Cruz. The flight was just an hour and very beautiful, it felt like the mountains were right outside the plane window. Santa Cruz was really hot and I was happy to be back in the heat. We spent our last day in Bolivia hanging out around the city. We also stumbled upon a language exchange our last night and chatted with a bunch of people learning English. It was pretty cool. All and all an awesome trip and we made it back to DC pretty easily and now we are at the beach with Aidan’s family 🙂
In one month I will be in Costa Rica, until then! besos