On this day we dropped altitude substantially, so the temperature warmed significantly!
We got to do some rock climbing when visiting the famous Desert Stone Tree:
The top of this rock is made of hard stone, while the bottom is of soft sandstone. Erosion slowly eats away at the bottom giving it this unique shape. Scientists estimate it will fall over in approximately 10 years, so you only have so long to check it out for yourself ;).
The area surrounding the stone tree was full of other rocks, so it was like we were released in a playground, as everyone started to climb whatever rock formation caught their eye.
Tired of Lagoons and Flamingoes Yet?
Continuing along our drive were several more lagoons, but we made stops only at a couple.
The first was seeing the Red Lagoon from yesterday again, just from a different viewpoint. You can see how without the wind and the sun, the true color is not as well appreciated. In the early morning it looks peaceful, with a gentle steam rising up from its warm waters.
The couple other lagoons we visited took us even closer to flamingoes than we already got to be yesterday.
(Very visually descriptive sign)
One of the lagoons had a 3-star hotel on it (a rare find in this otherwise quiet and unpopulated area) which charges $150 US dollars per night per person. Very expensive, especially by Bolivian standards!
Today was time for a picnic lunch. Our three jeeps united against a rockface away from the wind and we enjoyed a tasty meal overlooking a nearby lagoon. Sweet potatoes are popular here, along with quinoa, so that made the majority of our meal along with some chicken, beet salad, and mandarin oranges for desert.
This tour was awesome as they also always made sure to pack us some snacks on the road. Lollipops, chocolate, cookies, or today’s snack of juice boxes and crackers. Feels like we’re back in the good old days of kindergarten.
After a long day of driving through some rough terrain and mountain passes they were nice enough to surprise us with a stay in a Salt Hotel for our final night! This was such a treat after our last couple of nights: nice bathrooms, our first hot shower, and comfy beds. Plus with the lower elevation, it was the first evening we were all finally warm and content.
This hotel is made entirely from salt (except for the roof and windows). This includes the walls, beds, tables and chairs. The locals cut blocks out of the hard salt flats and build structures out of them. I was skeptical at first but it feels hard as stone. We did wonder about what happens when it rains as it seems the hotel would melt, but they cover the outside in a water resistant resin so it lasts.
Tomorrow morning we get to wake up early and see the sunrise over the salt flats. Can’t wait!