Salar de Surire
Salar de Surire Natural Monument is an enormous salt flat (with borax) located at an altitude of 4245 metres. It is almost entirely contained within the Las Vicuñas Reserve.
A part of the salt flat, dedicated to conservation, is an important nesting ground for three species of flamingos. It is also possible to see numerous vicuñas and some much rarer animals. The western part of the salt flat is a mine exploited for its borax.
Termas de Polloquere
I spent the night at the Polloquere thermal baths. It is a magnificent place with an incredible view over the salt flat and the mountains. At 4200 metres, the night will be very cold, and I will have to sleep fully dressed with all the layers of clothes I have. Despite that, I am still cold for most of the night.
The pool originates from a subterranean spring at a temperature of 66 degrees Celsius (150 F). Therefore, the next day, I am able to take a bath to warm up. Moving away from where the water comes out of the ground, the water temperature rapidly drops, and it is easy to choose a preferred spot.
Termas de Polloquere - The next day
Here is the proof that the night was cold; the motorbike and the tent are covered with frost. On the other hand, the cold morning air ensures that the vapour from the pool is very thick. It is an impressive sight.
A family travelling by bicycle
I meet this small family of adventurers a few kilometres before reaching the Polloquere thermal baths. They travel with their two kids who are currently in the small cart. They left from Alaska some two and a half years ago, and they want to reach Tierra del Fuego, if possible.
The boy is only 3 years old, and the girl is 5. Do the math, they left more than 2 years ago... the youngest was only 8 months old. It's incredible. What a nice family. That day when they arrived, it was their daughter’s birthday.
They also slept at the Polloquere thermal baths, a few metres from my camp.