Volunteering at La Senda Verde Wild Animal Refuge

Last year, I had spent an enthralling week volunteering at the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand. So, during my brief stop off in London in January, I spent more time researching volunteer schemes in South America than any other travel planning task. Funnily enough, even with all that time spent, I hadn’t come across La Senda Verde. Instead, it was a tip off from another traveller who had heard from another traveller about the animal refuge, that gave me the pointer I needed.
After a read through the wealth of information on their web site, I dropped Vicky (one of the owners) an email and a week later I was walking across the beautiful bridge entrance into the eco reserve. As a volunteer, I would be spending two weeks caring for wild animals ranging from tropical birds, tree-climbing bears, astoundingly smart monkeys and head butting tortoises. […]

The Unbelievable Scenery on the Salt Flats Tour

After Patagonia, I headed north by boat and plane to the Atacama Desert and onto Salta. I’d write up both journeys and cities in retrospective posts, but in summary, the final resting place was a small town called Tupiza, in the South of Bolivia near to the Argentinian border. Tupiza is the town where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were eventually caught and provided the perfect rest before embarking on a 4 day trip around the Salt Flats area. 
The Salt Flats tour involves jumping in the back of a 4×4 and driving around the area on dirt roads and offroad taking in the scenery during the day, staying in refuges by evening and finishing up in Uyuni for onward travel. As far as scenery goes, it is truly unbelievable. The region is high altitude (3500-4800m) hills and plains packed full of minerals. So we’re talking deserts, mountains, lagoons and salt fields all close together. Of course, the most sought after attraction is the Salar de Uyuni (the Salt Flats in the cover photo) which is planned on most tours for sunrise and the early morning of the final day.
Having the luxury of travelling from Salta to Tupiza with four other backpackers, we were able to book ourselves in on our own private car. Five friends, a driver and a translator made for an awesome 4 day trip.