Our latest post in the Jetsetter Series features travel blogger Lesley Murphy. You may recognize Lesley from her stint on The Bachelor back in 2013, where her sharp wit, beauty and intelligence easily won fans’ hearts. After accepting a job in Argentina, Lesley started her blog, The Road Les Traveled, to chronicle her luxurious travels all over the world – all with her signature wit and humor. Read on for Lesley’s account of her recent trip to the beautiful Bolivian Uyuni salt flat.
If I could describe the Bolivian Uyuni salt flat, it could be done in one word: Heaven. I imagine many people share the same image in their mind of what Heaven may look like, which is a little something like this:
The world’s largest salt flat isn’t playing around. Covering 4,086 square miles and with 11,995 feet above sea level, this landscape attracts worldly visitors who dare to make the trek for the mirrored images one can receive. Full disclaimer: Traveling to Bolivia is a bold move. You’ll most likely fly into the capital of La Paz, the world’s highest capital city, so make sure to have that Tylenol Extra Strength readily available and in plentiful supply. Headaches will plague you and shortness of breath won’t be far away either. Am I selling it yet?
So you’ve landed in La Paz. Congratulations! If you’re in for a few days (or even just one), make the most of it and try your hand at biking Death Road, only for the adventurers at heart. From La Paz, you can arrive in Uyuni one of two ways – via plane or bus. If you have an extra $400 to spare, I’d suggest skipping the 12-hour bus ride with 50 of your potential new Bolivian BFFs and fly. My boyfriend and I, however, took the overnight bus for a cool $48. The 12-hour bus ride turned into a 14-hour bus ride, and on mostly unpaved, bumpy roads, it felt like a 16-hour bus ride. Oh well.
Heaven is worth the wait.Once in Uyuni, you’ll need to choose a tour operator. If you do your research like a good little traveler, I’m sure you will notice the not-so-stellar reviews from any operator within the salt flats. All is not lost. In the end, we went with Red Planet who not only had the best reviews on average, but I knew friends who used them on previous occasions and didn’t have any problems (one of the most prevalent problems being drunk tour guides trying to operate/drive the 4×4 through the region. No thanks!).
Most clients of Red Planet choose their three day/two night tour. You’ll see not only the salt flats but much more of the Bolivian countryside, including…
Although worth the views, if I could do it all over again, and hopefully I will, I’d spend about two full days photographing the salt flat. Not only does it make for a fun photo shoot, but many visitors take full advantage of playing with depth in Uyuni. Ahhh the options are endless.
Note: Luxury and Bolivia aren’t exactly well acquainted yet, so don’t visit expecting white tablecloths and shined silverware. You’ll search all the way to Chile for these luxury items! Speaking of Chile, once you’ve driven through the Bolivian attractions, I’d highly suggest ending your tour in San Pedro de Atacama. Here is where the world’s driest place on earth boasts out-of-this-world landscapes (seriously, the place looks like Mars) and gorgeous hot springs for some relaxation station. Check out Tierra Atacama, sister property of my recent stay at Tierra Patagonia. You’ll want to stay in the desert forever.
Follow more of Lesley’s adventures on www.theroadlestraveled.com and Instagram (@lesleyannemurphy)!