Southwest Circuit Day 1

Travel Route: Uyuni – Train Cemetery – San Cristobal – Anaconda Canyon – Laguna Catal – Dragon and Camel Rock – Quetena Chico

Vladimir Berna, the owner of Uyuni White and Green’s tour company

If not arranged ahead of time, the selection process for a 4-night tour can be stressful.  Walking from agency to agency in Uyuni, comparing offers, determining the best route, and accommodation styles take significant time and patience.

Our number one criterion was the car’s model year, followed by the driver and then the itinerary and all the rest.  Entering this kind of relationship is fraught with mistrust, especially after reading stories of other traveler’s experience with ‘bait and switch,’ agencies promising one car or driver then changing at the last minute.

Vladimir Berna, the owner of Uyuni White and Green’s tour company, had the newest model car.  He was kind, polite, and delivered an experience above and beyond our expectations – car – food – accommodations were great.  Besides, his five years of touring experience and career as a Park Ranger enriched our cultural knowledge, and his expert driving across the rugged terrain kept us safe and hungry for the next adventure.

Our tour was four days long and happily ended in Salar de Uyuni, a glorious, spectacular, and relaxing day, which, by its end, we were all covered in salt.

Why is the Train Cemetery near Uyuni? 

An antique train cemetery is located 3 km outside Uyuni.  In the past, it served as a distribution hub for trains carrying minerals en route to Pacific Ocean ports.  British engineers built the rail lines in the 1880s.  They were abandoned in the 1940s when the mining industry collapsed. 

Quinoa Fields

My first ever sighting of quinoa fields – the color variety of red, burgundy, purple, and orange on the grounds is a beautiful sight.  For generations, indigenous Bolivian farmers have grown and lived on quinoa.  Then in the early 2000s, various Western nations caught onto quinoa’s high nutritional value.   Global demand soon rose, and quinoa crop prices spiked.  Now some Bolivian farmers who’d once struggled to make ends meet are getting substantial revenues from quinoa cultivation.

Anaconda Canyon

The canyon got its name from the river’s meandering shape.

Laguna Catal

Laguna Catal is a visually stunning lake surrounded by lava boulders.  This is where Rae discovered her spiritual animal – the Llama. 

Llama

The Llama is an animal that lives in the Andes mountains in South America, a pack animal that provides wooly fleece, meat, and milk.  Llamas are a domesticated mammal, a member of the camel family.  The scenery of Llamas grazing in peace was stunning.