Whoever designed this tour was nothing short of genius. Not only did 4 days of transportation, guides, lodging and food cost us only around $200 US, each day surpassed the last.
After feasting upon eggs and pancakes at 6:30am, we switched up which cars we rode in and proceeded through dusty fields of Quinoa and perfect rock walls that would make Alex Hannold drool. We climbed, bouldered, hiked, took ridiculous pictures on the ‘Camel Rock’ and new epic wee views. The land cruisers barreled through a canyon that was tight like a tiger, and plopped us all out in a serene, green valley. Alan lead us along a ‘path’ through the rocks, and after about 15 minutes of hiking we arrived at the Laguna Negra – a small oasis of murky, deep green water nestled into a labyrinth of rocks. It was pretty unanimous that this was our favorite spot thus far. Peaceful, stunning, serene, and somehow located right next to a desert wasteland.
We continued on to find the Condor Rock, a distant view of a semi-active volcano across the Chilean border, and the very beginning of the epically large salt flats. We toured in Galaxias caves, whose interior was made of coral from when the salt flats was actually a lake bed, and the cave was under water. We saw ‘mummies’ in a nearby cave (read: creepy dead skeletons in a box), and continued on to the Hotel del Sal, where literally everything was made out of salt. Salt tables, salt walls, crunchy salt for the floor, even salt boxsprings for the bed. Dinner, once again the best of all of the other groups staying at our hostel, included cocktails, lasagna, soup, and a tasty pudding type desert. Oh, and wine. And a little more wine. We turned in quite early, setting our alarms for 4:45am, so we could wake up and see sunrise on the salt flats.
Yeah, life is hard.