We picked one agency, pretty much at random, after hearing that they're all about the same. With 6 people plus driver packed in each Toyota Land Cruiser, we headed out on a 3 day/2 night 4wd expedition to check out the sights. All the rigs are identical, and basically beat to shit. Ours had over 200,000 miles on the odometer, ALL off road.
|Local soccer field|
|Salt sanitation is a big deal!!|
As the afternoon of the first day turned to evening, things got a bit wierd. Even though we were on a paid "tour", it became clear that our driver had no clue where we were supposed to stay for the night, and there weren't a whole lot of options. We stopped at 3 small hotels on the salar shore, driving nearly an hour between the first and third, all with the same result....no room. Actually the third had room....it was closed!!! And it was now dark. Not good.
After loading the truck the next morning, we had breakfast and were on the "road" by 6:30. Actually there are no real roads in this area. Driving is all over the high desert, sometimes following tracks, sometimes just winging it. And all the time our tire bubble grew larger. Not good.
|Waiting for another tire change. Pretty safe, only 3 trains per week...|
Actually, we came to find out that ALL of the rigs out here typically had their hoods up or were up on jacks nearly every day. Desert driving takes its toll, and theres obviously no real maintenance done to the vehicles. You just fix things as they break, and hope for the best. As the saying goes...."Ya pays yer money and ya take yer chances..." No one has a compass, a gps, or even a friggin' flashlight!!!
|A prize if you can tell us what this sign means. We don't have a clue!|
|Smoking volcano marks the Bolivia-Chile border|
|Park is closed....|
|Trucks lick their wounds after a punishing day of driving|
|Bolivia - Chile border|
|Waiting for bus at the Chilean border|
Next up: Off to Argentina.....