On a mega trip to South America make sure you don’t miss the Salar de Uyuni, this is an amazing tour. You get in a jeep and do the entire sight seeing round salt flats, deserts, mountains, valleys. It’s a feast for the eye of a traveller, here are my tips on preparing for it.
First tip is don’t be booking anything in advance – there is no need to do that – head to Uyuni and book it there. Or simply book it in Potosi or La Paz. Certainly don’t be booking anything online or before your arrival into Bolivia.
The Salar de Uyuni tour can be booked in Chile as well as in Bolivia but I booked mine from the Bolivian side so this report tells you how to book it and do it from Bolivia.
How to book the Salar de Uyuni Tour:
– Ask at reception in your hostel in Bolivia if they can organise a 3 day tour (I really recommend the 3 day tour, unless you are really pushed for time of course).
– Get a price for it, then shop around for the cheapest option (prices really do vary a lot, but I paid around $80 US for my 3 day tour back in 2010 – all inclusive).
– Allow for flexibility with dates you go – don’t be strict with it – sometimes you can ask at 9am that morning and end up on the tour that same day.
– Double check the price includes a hostel pick up and your 3 days of food.
– Find out exactly when and where the start and finish point of the actual tour will be so that you can book a hostel or bus for the next part of your journey.
– Ask what extra costs there will be (for example the cost of our tour included the guided tour of the Salt Refinery, but didn’t include the entrance fee to Laguna Colorada National Park).
– Get a receipt for the tour (you will pay up front in almost all cases).
How to prepare for the Salar de Uyuni tour:
– Check the passport situation as if you head for Chile you will probably have to get your Bolivian exit stamp before the tour starts in Uyuni.
– Bring a load of water – it’s a desert and it gets hot. Other drinks are provided but water is not. 4 litres should be plenty for you.
– Bring some beer or wine with you – a great way to interact with your travel mates at night and no alcohol is provided on the tour.
– Take plenty of sun cream and insect repellent.
– If you need to contact friends or family, e-mail them before you head on the tour and tell them you’ll be offline for about 3 days. There is no internet available on the tour, and you wouldn’t want it anyway!
– You might be able to leave your bags with a hostel in Uyuni if you’re heading back there (check beforehand).
– Bring your passport just in case you decide to spontaneously head across the border to Chile.
– Make sure all of your batteries on cameras, iPods etc. are all charged beforehand – not all the accomodation will have sockets.
Well that sums it up for you – the salar de Uyuni is quite simply a brilliant tour and one that will linger with you forever in the memory. You will love it. Get out there and see it – the incredible salt plains of south western Bolivia.
Oh the magnificent winter wonderland of Antarctica! It offers endless fun and amazing travel memories. During my trip I ended up at Jougla Point on Goudier Island, which got me reminiscing about working in Public Relations and had me in awe of the world around me. It’s the most remote and amazing continent to see! 
This place served as a reminder to me that travel is really about seeing new places and having amazing experiences and in this fantastic wonderland I was many miles from those busy office blocks of a big city! The commerical world is out of your mind as you wake up in a world of endless snow, strong blizzards, penguins and complete wilderness. Just amazing!
Jougla sits nicely on Goudier Island. My visit there was special as the adjoining part of Goudier Island houses a British Base – Port Lockroy! Jougla Point was the first stop off that day and prepared me for the epic trip across to Port Lockroy. It’s unlikely I will visit Port Lockroy again but the place left a lasting impression – sliding penguins and in the background a flying British flag!
The previous night we docked off the coast of Goudier Island. Our boat was the MS Expedition, a marvellous red vessel, great place to relax on board with Antarctica outside. Just amazing feeling and the next day we were all set for the landing at this place.
There was a sense of magic in the air when a snowstorm greeted our departure from the ship and over to the small Jougla Point. This is the adjacent island to Port Lockroy, the British Base. 
Penguins were the main attraction. And lots of them, sliding up and down and all over the snow! Just epic – such a breathtaking landscape! The background scenery is immense.
Jougla Point was probably our quickest and shortest Antarctica landing. It was all quite surreal and I’d give a lot to be standing back there right now in a blizzard miles from civilisation.
Orca whales (or killer whales as they are sometimes called) are not really whales at all but are the largest member of the dolphin family. These highly intelligent mammals roam the oceans of the world except for the warm waters of the tropics, and they live in family groups called pods. The family structure of these pods revolves around the oldest female member making them one of the few large mammals that live in a matriarchal society.
Except for human beings, Orca whales are the top predators of the sea. They developed their nickname “Killer w Whale” by the way they hunt large whales. There are many similarities between a pack of wolves hunting and a pod of Orcas doing the same. These whales have been known to attack and kill blue whales, the largest animal that roams our oceans. Killer whales are organized hunters, chasing their prey with relentless pursuit, wearing it down, driving it to exhaustion before starting to rip hunks of flesh from its body. There is an amazing and somewhat disturbing series of photographic published in National Geographic of these whales attacking a blue whale off the coast of Baja, Mexico.
Male Orca whales become sexual mature at fifteen years of age and females become sexually mature around twelve years of age. After mating the gestation period is seventeen months. Baby whales are born tail first, eyes open and ready to take their first breath, often with a little help from their mother. The average baby at birth is approximately eight feet long and weighs close to four hundred pounds. It is estimated that a fully grown male Orca whale needs to consume over a hundred pounds of food daily to survive and can weigh over twelve thousand pounds.
Experts can identify Orca whales by their dorsal fin and also by their distinct saddle patch. The dorsal fin on a breeding age male can be six feet tall. Female dorsal fins are smaller and more rounded or swept back. The saddle patch is a small area of gray at the base of their dorsal fin. Another tool used in identifying individual whales is the many different nicks, scars, and other irregularities found on their fin. In the wild Orca whales enjoy a very long life. The male’s life span is estimated to be between thirty and sixty years of age and the female fifty to eighty. One interesting note is that in the Pacific Northwest of Washington state (which is the best place on the planet to see Orca whales in their natural environment) the oldest living female named “Granny” just turned one hundred years old this year. Unfortunately Orca whales have a much shorter life span in captivity.
Rather or not these beautiful animals should be labeled with the name “killer” is up for debate, but science agrees that there has never been one known case of an Orca whale (except in captivity) attacking or in any manner hunting, harassing or killing a human being.
Want to learn more about Orca whales? Please visit me and also enjoy my FREE Orca Whale photo gallery:Orca Whale Watching