We were told we'd never make it to the salt field in our van. In the tourist office they said "The road is terrible, it just rained, there is at least a foot of water on the field, the road leading to the Salar is passable only by a 4x4 jeep, etc.." For a split second I considered purchasing a "tour" but then I said que se jodan and drove there anyway to see if we could make it. Yes the road was awful and it took a long time to get there but the deep water persisted only at the edge of the field and then quickly receded. Driving on the salt is a strange but pleasant sensation. It reminded me of sailing on the open sea. One can't crash into anything, only to keep a general direction so not to get lost. Seeing all white around me I felt I was on a different planet.
After a few hours of navigating the vastness of white salt we arrived at an "island"- a volcanic hill rising out of the field filled with enormous cacti. They say a cactus grows 1cm per year and according to some calculations some of these were 10,000 years old.