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Bolivia, Flamingos, and the Shadow of an Ocean

Backpacking Bolivia is a high voltage adventure. The roads, buses, and capitals, are clutters of commotion and craziness, but behind the scenes, beyond the cement, nature unravels itself like nowhere else on the planet.

Welcome to the Uyuni salt flats whispers the wind, as walking in any direction within the 10,582 square kilometers, lead you to believe you are literally strolling around in heaven. The salt beneath your feet is so dense and compacted that it could even be a magnified bucket of frozen solid coconut ice-cream. The horizon line is far and faint, where melting cotton mountains mix in with the clouds, and upside-down becomes obsolete. This has to be the closest thing to being in another planet, along with the red, green, and blue flamingo populated lagoons, a few kilometers ahead.

For 100$ you get to ride around in a jeep for 4 days, listening to ninja tracks like "Eye of a Tiger" with an eager bilingual tour guide named Omar, in our case. The price includes food and salt-hostel accommodations, and the best pictures you have ever taken on vacation.

If you doubt your eyes for a moment, contemplating the purple mountains, spotted furry pink, reflected over the liquid cherry-syrup lagoon, you are not hallucinating, you are just enjoying the view of the Arica region in Chile from the Bolivian side. This "Mar Rojo" red sea, as the local Aymara community calls it, is still very mysterious, as its depth its unknown, and temperature variates remaining quite warm, (40 – 50 c) for its cold surroundings at 3,700 meters of altitude.

These pools of wonder are on the way to what appears to be a frozen terrestrial hell, the volcanic sulfur geysers! These towering screams of gas at the Chilean border, will test your breathing skills at 6,000 meters of altitude, where dragging your feet through the muddy snow seems to fill your legs with led, and your eyes with tears of childhood joy, or rotten egg smell. It might be a combination of all, but the view is as breathtaking as the altitude guaranteed!

Sounds a bit intense its true, and yet the mystical momentum must be made of adrenaline, which in through your nostrils, makes every bit enjoyable and magnificent. Are you ready to travel 1,000 kilometers in 4 days? Experience heaven and hell on earth, along with everything in between? Swim in hot-springs, drink wine with strangers around a table made of salt bricks, learn jokes in

unpronounceable languages, and kick your previously conceived ideas of Bolivia to the curve? The best perk is that this is an ageless adventure, there are tons of variations and accommodations for all. Insider tips @NBssion.



Profile photo of Nanu Berks

Originally from Argentina, currently based in Austin, Tx, always in movement. Nanu started hitch-hiking and backpacking the world solo, linking with places and people, while living and learning. “This creative road to loving and lingering in the micro-moments is what brightens in us compassion and teaching, so we can echo in the eyes of new dreamers, and become once again tiny particles of dust in the chain of mother earth. To me nothing in this universe compares to traveling, physically, mentally, and spiritually, and so through my words, I aim to pass on the electrical current of trust, adventure, unknowness, and momentum, so we can all benefit at least a bit, from savoring a drop of cultural mist. I must love to live, and learn to proceed, imagine to feel, find to unwind, dive deep to creep, and peek at the roots. I must, and so I do, and now I write, to share with you.”

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