ACROSS THE ALTIPLANO

The next day was a relatively short ride between the Salar de Coipasa and Salar de Uyuni to the town of Llica.  Again, though, there was a fair bit of sand to contend with.  Heading off on my own that morning, I made good progress and had relatively little pushing to do.  Unfortunately, Thomas and Tina took a slightly different route, which left them pushing large swathes and getting to Llica two hours after me, despite me having waited for them at about halfway for an hour!  I spent those two hours waiting for the porter to return to the town hall but, once Thomas and Tina arrived, we found a hospedaje instead.

The next morning we set off to cross the Salar de Uyuni.  It’s fair to say that many South American cycle tourists rate this as one of the highlights of their trips so expectations were pretty high.  It didn’t disappoint.  Cycling along a straight path towards an island that is below the horizon on such a wide, open expanse is pretty incredible.  The cycling is not the most stimulating – you get stiff and sore quite quickly because you are in exactly the same position non-stop – but there are few places in the world that can compare to it.  Some people prefer Coipasa as there are fewer tourist jeeps etc but, for me, the scale of Uyuni was unbeatable.  To give you an idea, it’s about 140km to cycle across (the normal route).  I cycled on ahead and climbed up one of the islands at one point to make sense of the scale of the place…

We were headed to Isla Incahuasi, an island right in the middle of the Salar. It’s very popular with the tourist jeeps, so there are some facilities there too, but they leave before sunset so we had it to ourselves overnight.  There we finally caught up again with Neil and Vicky too.

6 Comments

  1. Incredible pictures – can’t wait to see them on a big screen. And the nights on the Salar must have been extraordinary. Hope the few days’ rest has helped your knee Xxx

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