In San Pedro we signed up for a three day guided tour to the world’s largest salt flat. I had no idea what to expect, but I was excited about the adventure mostly because of the group we’d assembled. Patrick, Frank and I teamed up with a Mexican named Adriana, an Argentine named Constanza, a Belgian named Horatio, and our guide, Rodolfo. We all piled into a 1998 Toyota Landcruiser, and set off into the remote highlands of southwest Bolivia.
The three days were a definite highlight of my trip. It was a hilarious and spectacular adventure. There were no roads and little infrastructure. The closest thing we saw to a town was a cluster of bare-bones shelters built for tour groups like ours. We chewed on coca leaves to alleviate the inevitable effects of passing 15000 ft of elevation. The landscapes were massive, the rock formations were peculiar, and the lakes - of red, white, blue, green and black - were spotted with flamingos. And then there was the salt flat. 4,084 square miles of nothing but the occasional distant fleck of an SUV speeding across the flattest surface on earth.
But our group itself was the highlight of highlights. Our stomachs hurt for days from hours of laughing. When it was all over, the afternoon spent drinking beer at the Extreme Fun Pub and rehashing our adventures was full of it-doesn’t-get-better-than-this moments.