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Raverinkie tours: Salar d?Uyuni, Bolivia

Written on: Wednesday June 27th, 2007

A journal entry from: See you next year!

Raverinkie tours:  Salar d?Uyuni, Bolivia

                      by

                 Geri Klazema

My great Raverinkie Peru and Bolivia adventure tour kicked off on Cuzco airport where self-appointed tour guide Roy Averink and his lovely assistant and interpreter Ingrid van de Bovenkamp were waiting to collect me. Roy and Ingrid are a great team, Roy can read maps, has an infallible sense of direction and always knows how to take us where we want to go. Ingrid speaks Spanish fluently and charms everyone into giving us the best seats and cheapest drinks ánd can ask for directions on the very rare occasions when Roy gets lost (only when he is very ill). I gladly followed them around for a bit and it was a most comfortable way of travelling. Upfront there had been some e-mail contact about what my tour should consist of and we had agreed on an itinerary including Peru?s Machu Pichu and some other, smaller Inca-ruins; a stop at Lake Titicaca while crossing over to Bolivia; the salt lake in Uyuni; some high altitude hiking and a taste of the Bolivian Amazon, estimating all this would take us about 4 weeks.

 

However, Raverinkie tours are renowned for their speed and we found ourselves in Machu Pichu on day 4, at Lake Titicaca on day 6 and day 10 took us to the Salar d'Uyuni! In Uyuni guide Roy temporarily had to operate under the wings of the Bolivian agency Reli-tours in order to get access to the salt lake, the national park and the surrounding accommodations. Reluctantly Roy gave up his leadership to tour guide Roberto for the next 3 days. On day 2 it became apparent this was a huge mistake: Roberto overslept, we missed the sunrise over the salt lake and having left late plus a couple of flat tyres and broken windows during the day caused us to arrive well late at the next accommodation? By then all decent hostels were gone and we were left with a freezing dorm with no heating and concrete beds, while the temperature was dropping to 20 below zero outside! Cold though it was, during the first two days we also saw some of the most stunning landscapes I had seen so far.

 

We started off on the great white salt flat of Uyuni where Ingrid was not convinced of the saltiness of the salt and was looking for places to rent snowboards while Roy the Saltman sat himself down comfortably and lifted the both of us up on his hands (photo).

On the morning of the second day we drove through the beautiful and snowy (!) high desert, volcanoes quietly smoking on the horizon. Then it was on to the laguna verde, the laguna rojo and the laguna colorado (too many colours to be named). These lakes get their bright colours from minerals that also prevent them from freezing over.

On day 3 at 6 a.m. still dozing for getting up at this unfriendly hour we quickly woke up at our first stop, standing next to a crater with water boiling fiercely inside it. The earth started cracking and exploding around us, releasing spurts of hot water into the air; a good excuse to return to our safe and (comparatively) warm car. Roberto then made his first good move and took us to a calm thermal spring where our frozen feet finally got to feel happy again.

Crazy Roberto, the views and most definitely the cold made these the most memorable days of my Raverinkie trip. After that we mutually agreed there was no way we would spend another day in the cold so we cancelled our hiking plans, took the night bus back to La Paz and caught a tiny plane straight to the Amazon, where the sun, cocktails and swimming pool were waiting! (And alligators, anaconda?s, and ticks, but I will leave all that for Roy and Ingrid to tell).

Geri

Voor de liefhebbers: Many, many, many more pictures to be found on www.ingeping.nl

Ingrid

 

From Ingrid on Jul 26th, 2007

Great review, thanks! But...ASSISTENT????

From Riet.Meeder on Jul 27th, 2007

Great report, magnificent foto's.