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Uyuni to Villa Mar

This drive takes you south from Uyuni towards the colored lakes of Los Lipez.  Start out along Highway 5 from Uyuni.  Villa Mar is the location of the very pleasant Jardines de Mallku Cueva hotel, a great jumping off point for further explorations. 

At x miles is the unmarked turnoff to the right to the Train Cemetery.  Beyond the cemetery you follow the south shore of the Salar for some x miles before turning south.  The south shore is mostly a huge mudflat, likely flooded in rainey season and prone to duststorms in dry times.

After turning south, keep your eyes out for vicuñas.  At x miles is the left turn to San Cristóbal.

San Cristóbal is the company town of the mine of the same name.  The San Cristóbal mine is a huge open pit zinc/lead/silver mine owned by Sumitomo.  The town is interesting mostly for its large and beautiful stone church, which reportedly sports a silver alter.

The drive south from San Cristóbal is not very exciting for the first x miles.  The landscape continues flat with a light scrub desert.  However, that changes at about mile x from San Cristóbal.  From that point on you will see interesting rock formations on the left side of road.

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The formations, weathered out of sandstone are fun to explore and certainly worth hiking through, if you have time.  They continue all the way to Villa Mar and even form one side of the Jardines de Mallku Cueva hotel, so if that is your destination, you will probably have time to explore them.  On our short walk we found slot canyons winding through the rock, as well as numerous hoodoos and one small natural arch.

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