Sunsets on the Salares – Cycling the Bolivian salt flats from Sabaya to Uyuni

Why cycle 200+ kms across the largest salt flats in the world?  This might help answer:

And so, this is how it panned out:

The trio continues from Sabaya, with excited anticipation of the upcoming Salars. Something almost every South America touring cyclist has in their sights, the Salar de Uyuni probably sits as one of the top three things that come to mind when touring South America.

And they’re off. Firstly the (relatively) unvisited Salar de Coipasa.

It’s amazing how quickly someone becomes far away no matter their speed if you’re standing still. Life lesson: it’s more important that you keep moving than the speed you go when you are moving.

It’s pretty much impossible to resist taking more than 100 photographs when crossing this place.

Happy

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Always go for the moon shot.

The relentless wind drops during the night and we enjoy some world class camping. I wonder to myself if MSR should be sponsoring me.

I forget to bring a rock and use my copycat leatherman pliers tool to hammer in the pegs. Not easy or quick. The salar looks like snow but is more like granite.

And the photography begins again…

Variations in salt crusts spice things up.

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After the standard resupply in Llica its on to Coispasa’s bigger neighbour Salar de Uyuni for another 170km of flat salt riding; this time the biggest and most famous in the world.

And then my pedal falls off 30km in. Undoubtedly helped off by the corrosive power of salt from Salar de Coipasa.  This is not the first time this week so I am ready with my new secret weapon ‘teflon’ which I apply to the threads of all the relevant screws under Diego’s expert advice. Amazingly it holds until at least Uyuni.

Various tracks veer off from the main Isla Incahuasi route to unknown destinations allowing for some quite interesting effects.

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And behind me a lightning storm starts happening. Hard to think of a worse place to be in these circumstances. The tiny dot that are my Spanish friends starts to increase its velocity significantly. Diego is now towing Ana and they catch me up and pass me speeding off into the distance whilst I frantically pump up my tyres.

We take refuge on an island near to Isla de Pescado and enjoy the sunset before collapsing into our (separate) tents.

Then it’s back to business the next morning. After passing Isla Incahuasi, the tedious headwind settles down and we start to make fast progress.

On parallel tracks I enjoy some interesting visuals. Here Diego is towing Ana again to make up time on this long 120km day from Isla Pescado to Uyuni.

We decide to stop for some obligatory “salar photos”. Hint: get your camera as low to the ground as possible.

Another shot of the previous night’s sunset. A better one I have not seen.

A couple of rest days in Uyuni to prepare the notoriously beautiful (and tough) lagunas route.

Route: The AndesbyBike.com track from Sabaya to Uyuni.

4 thoughts on “Sunsets on the Salares – Cycling the Bolivian salt flats from Sabaya to Uyuni

  1. Quite possibly the best sunset picture I’ve ever seen. Perhaps you should start selling some of your pictures, I’d love that one on my wall.

  2. OH MY Nick! Your tent lit with the moon in background- out of this world feeling. Last Sunset photo unbelievable in its composition and its colors. Thanks for taking me to places I could only dream of going! I am now doing my usual Geography lesson after each report I read of yours- looking up places to read about them and then on to Google Earth for another rewarding experience. I am now at Red Snapper where I first met you – and am the better for it considering all the photos, personal experiences, commentaries you have shared… May the wind always be on your tail… Adele

    • Hi Adele, Good to hear from you and glad you’re enjoying the blog 🙂 The sunsets out here are pretty impressive!

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