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A Bolivia Salt Flats Tour in Uyuni: All the things You Have to Know

The Salar de Uyuni is the most important salt flat on the planet and essentially the most well-known vacationer attract Bolivia, South America. Actually, for a lot of vacationers, the Bolivian Salt Flats is the only cause they go to Bolivia. We do suggest that you just go to extra of Bolivia than simply the salt flats, however in order for you some epic photos and an unforgettable expertise it would be best to put the Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats in your bucket listing.

Ever for the reason that Bolivia Salt Flats performed host to the world-famous Dakar Rally in 2014, it has gained much more consideration amongst vacationers. “You’ll find it irresistible!” These had been the phrases we had heard from different vacationers each time we talked about our plan to journey to the Bolivia Salt Flats. As you may think our expectations had been sky-high and we couldn’t wait to see the white limitless surroundings.

What’s the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia?

The Salar de Uyuni is among the most spectacular adventure-travel locations on Earth. Suppose 10 billion tons of salt sprawling throughout an limitless desert. The Salar de Uyuni is a ten,582 sq. kilometer expanse of cracked white salt, left behind when an historical salt lake named Coipasa dried up 1000’s of years in the past.

It’s the world’s largest salt flat and is positioned at a excessive altitude of three,656 meters (10,000 ft) above sea stage. Most Salar de Uyuni, together with ours, meant spending 4 days locked in a jeep with three different vacationers and a cook dinner whereas our amiable Bolivian driver took us by an more and more unbelievable array of pure wonders. That is one of the best ways to see the Uyuni salt flats in my view.

The wonder is that the excursions are versatile. There are alternatives for 1 day, 3 days, or 4 days, relying on what your schedule is and the way a lot time you need to spend within the space itself. We suggest the three or 4-day possibility because it covers essentially the most.

We now have included a map under to provide you an concept of the place in Bolivia the slat flats are in relation to the remainder of the nation.

The place do Bolivia Salt Flats Excursions Begin From?

Bolivia Salt Flats Tour Starting Points

The fantastic thing about the Salt flats being so in style is that excursions to the realm begin from quite a lot of totally different locations. For essentially the most half, the size of your salt flats tour will decide the place you begin from.

Begin and Finish in Uyuni

Most excursions of Salar de Uyuni depart from the city of Uyuni itself, a dry desert settlement positioned close to the salt flats. It’s by far the most affordable place to select up a tour, with journeys on supply for as little as B$600 (about $80 USD). That is almost definitely the place you’ll begin out in case you are doing a 1 Day tour of the salt flats. We do suggest being cautious and doing all of your analysis as we discovered that fairly just a few of the tour companies in Uyuni tout unreliable vehicles and harmful drivers.

If you’re planning a 3 or 4-day tour then there are much more choices to select from with regards to a place to begin and an ending level.

Begin in Tupiza Finish in Uyulni

A extra nice (if barely pricier) expertise could be had by taking the again highway to the Salar, leaving from the south-Bolivian metropolis of Tupiza. Residence to a handful of tour companies and a pleasing primary plaza, Tupiza is a calming place to spend a few days whereas researching company choices. Excursions from right here normally final 4 days and on the finish, you’ll be able to return to Tupiza from Salar de Uyuni should you like.

Begin in Uyuni Finish in San Pedro de Atacama in Chile

San Pedro de Atacama Chile

That is the preferred possibility, particularly in case you are a multi-day tour. Alternatively, when you have cash to burn, you possibly can start your tour from San Pedro de Atacama, a stupendous (if absurdly touristy) village in close by Chile.

Situated on Chile’s border with Bolivia, San Pedro de Atacama is surrounded by spectacular surroundings of its personal to discover–but it surely’s not for the faint of pockets. This is among the causes we suggest reserving the tour that begins in Uyuni and ends in Chile at San Pedro de Atacama.

For those who do resolve to begin in San Pedro keep in mind that you may be at a excessive altitude, so there’s a danger of altitude illness should you don’t take care to acclimate. Drink loads of water and don’t over-exert.

La Paz or Sucre

If you’re wanting only for a fast day tour of the salt flats then you’ll be able to simply soar on one in both La Paz or Sucre, in case you are in these cities and you’ve got a restricted period of time.

How Many Days within the Bolivia Salt Flats Do you Want?

Salar de Uyuni 3 Day tour

We suggest the three or 4-day tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats. Though you are able to do a 1-day tour of the salt flats themselves you actually do miss out on the opposite points of interest which can be coated within the 3 and 4-day tour. The longer excursions are extra in style because of this.

After all, it can all rely in your finances and journey itinerary which size of journey you select. Simply bear in mind that on the 1-day tour you miss out on the new springs, the volcano, and the flamingoes and also you don’t get the possibility to see this wonderful sight at sundown. Being a photographer this can be a should!

The three-day tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats is the right period of time to steadiness being at altitude and seeing all of it.

Select Your Bolivia Salt Flats Tour

How to choose your Salar de Uyuni tour

There are lots of tour companies and lots of drivers providing vacationers an Uyuni experience-but not all of them are dependable. Drunken drivers and sham companies abound, so be sure you analysis your choices rigorously and meet your driver earlier than placing down cash. If issues appear shady, don’t be afraid to again out.

Some tour operators are all too good at pressuring vacationers to disregard their higher instincts. The company I selected was named Pure Journey, an operator based mostly out of the small Bolivian metropolis of Tupiza.

I had an excellent expertise with them; although my driver didn’t converse a lot English, he made up for it with friendliness, verve, and expressive hand gestures.

The reality is that each one the excursions will cowl the identical issues. It’s fairly customary. They’ll attempt to upsell you and persuade you that they’ve quicker vehicles or higher lodging simply to get more cash out of you. For those who ask the proper questions you’ll positively up your possibilities of getting an incredible tour.

Beneficial Excursions to E book Forward of Time

Inquiries to Ask Earlier than Reserving a Tour to the Uyuni Salt Flats

  • How Many Folks will likely be in my automobile? Clearly the smaller quantity of individuals the higher. However most excursions attempt to get 6 individuals plus a driver in a automobile.
  • What kind of lodging are provided? Will you be staying in a salt lodge, sharing a room, or multi function large room?
  • Does my driver converse English? Most drivers are additionally your information and cook dinner and don’t converse a lot english. It helps if you recognize some spanish or you’re good at appearing issues out.
  • Is the doorway to the Nationwide park included? The same old reply to that is no, however some do supply it. If it isn’t then be ready to fork over an additional of 150 Bob ($22 USD). For those who plan on visiting “Fish Island” inside Uyuni salt lake that may price you additional as properly.
  • The place does the tour finish? Will you be coming again to Uyuni or doest t end in one other vacation spot like San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. The coice is normally yours.

How A lot Does it Value to Go to the Bolivia Salt Flats?

Cost of the Bolivia Salt Flats Tour

As we mentioned above, the entire excursions are the identical and observe the identical route. Don’t be fooled by individuals attempting to upsell you to a greater tour. The automobile and the lodging could change however the excursions themselves are equivalent. That being mentioned the value varies extensively, so you’ll have to barter one of the best worth.

You shouldn’t pay greater than 850-1350 Bob for a 3-day tour ($125 – $195 USD). This worth is all-inclusive of meals, transportation, lodging, and a Spanish-speaking information. If you need an English-speaking information put together to pay double. What it doesn’t embrace is the $20 charge to get into the Nationwide Park, so be sure you have money for that. If you’re planning on going to San Pedro de Atacama then additionally, you will want 50 Bob for the border crossing. It’s at all times good to have some money on you.

It is very important observe that the costs above are should you guide your tour on arrival or in Bolivia itself. For those who guide your tour on-line earlier than you journey the price could be virtually double.

What are the Lodging Choices on the Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats Excursions?

Accommodations on Salt Flats tour Salt Hotel

Whereas excursions themselves are markets as primary, I might say that we had been pleasantly shocked. We now have stayed in some primary locations over time however had been pretty impressed when you think about the price of the tour.

You’ll spend the primary night time of the tour in a salt lodge, which we beloved. Now after I say a salt lodge, I imply all the pieces is product of salt. The lodge exterior is product of salt blocks, the chairs, floor, and mattress are additionally product of salt. We had been completely happy to have personal rooms on the primary night time to essentially take pleasure in it. There was additionally a bathe which price 10BS and had sufficient water for two individuals. Reap the benefits of it as there are not any different showers on the tour.

The opposite nights we slept in dorm-type rooms, however you’ll be able to pay an additional 150Bs for a non-public room, which we did. The buildings are clear and properly taken care of so that you by no means felt such as you had been on an ultra-budget tour.

There isn’t a WIFI out right here so you may be disconnected which we discovered a welcome reprieve from continuously checking telephones every day.

The best way the meals are arrange is that breakfast and dinner are served on the lodging and the lunch is at all times on the highway. The meals itself was not fantastic eating but it surely was tasty and there was at all times sufficient.

Costume for a Salar de Uyuni Tour

Bolivia Salt Flats Dressing guide

Journey by Bolivia’s southwest nook means splitting your time between excessive heat, below the startlingly scorching noon solar, and excessive chilly, when the chilly excessive altitude nights creep in.

It’s a good suggestion to decorate in layers–that method, you’ll be able to layer up because the solar drops, then shed clothes once more when it rises. Throughout components of the Uyuni tour, temperatures can drop as little as -15 levels celsius, so it’s important to just be sure you have some heat garments packed. Learn our layering ideas for packing.

Get to Salar de Uyuni

Hot to get to Uyuni from La Paz

From La Paz to Uyuni

The buses from the de facto capital of La Paz to Uyuni are more and more geared to vacationer consolation, because the Salar de Uyuni turns into a an increasing number of ubiquitous cease amongst backpackers in South America. The bus from La Paz takes 8 hours and will get you into Uyuni at about 6 am.

That is loads of time as most excursions don’t begin till 10 am. It’s an in a single day bus, so you’ll save on an evening’s lodging should you sleep. It is going to price you about $25 USD for the in a single day bus and you may try tickets with https://www.ticketsbolivia.com/

It’s endorsed to remain an evening in Uyuni to acclimate to the altitude.

If in case you have some additional money or are restricted on time then you can even fly to Uyuni from La Paz. It prices about $100 USD and is usually included with personal excursions from La Paz.

From Sucre to Uyuni

IF you’re coming from the capital of Bolivia, Sucre, you’ll be able to catch a direct bus to the Uyuni Salt Flats. The bus trip normally takes about 8 hours. It leaves from the bus terminal on Avenida Ostria Gutierrez in Sucre at 9:30 am and eight:00 pm. It is going to price you roughly 11USD. Be certain to examine the occasions and price on TicketsBolivia.

If you need, you’ll be able to guide an organized 1-day tour from La Paz to Uyuni salt flat. On the finish of the tour, you’ll return to La Paz.

When is the Finest Time to Go to the Bolivian Salt Flats?

Best time to visit Uyuni Salt Flat

There isn’t a dangerous time to go to the Bolivia Salt Flats. It actually relies on the expertise you’re in search of.

Wet season: If you wish to see reflections of the salt lake, the wet season is an effective time to go to. The salt flats flood and remodel into a large mirror that displays the sky and creates an other-worldly expertise. Throughout this time of the 12 months there may be little to no wind and normally clear skies. Good for a photographer. The wet season in Bolivia is from December to April. Simply bear in mind that throughout the wet season lots of the encircling points of interest are closed.

Dry Season: We visited throughout the dry season and it was spectacular as properly. It’s hotter throughout this time from Could to November. Since we visited throughout the dry season, our SUV produced an enormous cloud of mud once we crossed the beautiful moon-like panorama of Bolivia’s Andean Plateau making for surreal photos.

What you’ll See on a Bolvian Salt Flats Tour

Isla del Pescado

Isla del Pescado Bolivia

Have you ever ever seen an island that’s NOT surrounded by water? Welcome to Isla del Pescado, the Fish Island! The Salar de Uyuni has just a few islands and we loved an superior view from the highest of this one. From up there, we bought an impression of the true dimension of the salty panorama.

Steam Locomotives – Prepare Graveyard

Train Graveyard in Uyuni Bolivia

We arrived in Uyuni and jumped out of the SUV and climbed up the large wrecked outdated steam locomotives. At that time, we didn’t know that the grownup’s playground was simply behind the nook, Uyuni’s practice cemetery. The trains are leftover from a time after they carried minerals from the Salar de Uyuni to the Pacific Ocean.

Bolivia’s Andean Plateau

Within the Andean Plateau, at an altitude of about 4,000 meters, not solely the air is breathtaking. That is how actual adventures appear like. That is the place the SUV feels at dwelling.

The chain of volcanoes and mountains alongside the horizon gave us the sensation of being distant from any civilization. And for a second we thought we reached the “finish of the world”.

The tracks may appear like stays from centuries previous however they’re nonetheless in use and join Bolivia with Chile. The moon-like panorama surrounded us as we drove on the pink and brown sand when unexpectedly, behind a hill, a stupendous lagoon appeared.

Lunar Panorama

Bolivia Salt Flats Stone tree

The Andean Plateau and its mysterious rock formations have been shaped over tens of millions of years by wind and sand. And typically nature could be very inventive and types rocks just like the Arbol de Piedra, the Stone Tree.

Our information advised us earlier than that we might get to see a lagoon extra lovely than the one we had seen earlier than. However we didn’t need to consider him as we couldn’t think about that it could be attainable.

Flamingoes

Flamigoes on the Bolivian Salt Flats

A whole lot, most likely 1000’s of flamingos had been wading by the shallow water searching for meals. It was such a contradiction to see an oasis of life in the course of the barren surroundings.

Laguna Colorada

Laguna Colorada Bolivia

The silence was round us once we approached the Laguna Colorada, the Pink Lagoon. All the things round us felt unreal. Are you aware the way it feels whenever you see one thing and can’t consider it’s actual? It was onerous to consider that this lagoon, with its shades of yellow, black, white, pink, brown, and the blue sky above it, was not a canvas.

At times we noticed these little pink spots once more, flamingos that loved the scrumptious alga which makes the water seem pink. It was virtually unhappy to see that the final lagoon we visited, the gorgeous Inexperienced Lagoon with the picturesque volcano within the background was void of flamingos.

As we discovered this inexperienced kind of algae was toxic. Too dangerous, the water appeared so inviting with these lovely reflections on the floor.

Sulfur Geysers

Visiting a steaming geyser is a spotlight of the Uyuni Salt Flats tour; I used to be so distracted taking photos, I virtually fell in! It was a really particular place our driver took us to observe the dawn within the early morning.

We had been surrounded by geysers and holes within the floor crammed with boiling mud. The chilly air of the morning intensified the steam and the realm appeared like a mystic place. After leaving the salt flat we thought it couldn’t get any higher. However we had been so flawed!

Pictures of Salar de Uyuni

Photos Sala de Uyuni Bolivia

The Uyuni Salt Flats is THE picture spot to play with proportions and views when taking pictures. It’s a spot the place individuals sit on potato chips cans, toy dinosaurs come to life chasing vacationers, and leaping over an SUV is a breeze.

On quick picture stops, it may be onerous to resolve whether or not to take photos of the surroundings or just take the surroundings in. For these inclined to snap, it’s vital to tempo your photographic zeal. The panorama is so marvelous, it’s merely not possible to catch all of it. In different phrases, it’s a highway journey like no different, and completely value doing.

Widespread Questions About Doing a Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats Tour

Salar de Uyuni FAQ

Do you want an English Talking Information?

The reply right here is it relies upon. For those who converse pretty fluent Spanish then you’ll be able to positively forego an English information. If you don’t converse Spanish in any respect then we suggest paying the additional cash (it may be as much as 500 Bs per individual) and getting an English information.

We like to grasp our information as they will present lots of background info on the realm and there may be the added benefit that should you pay additional for the English information you’ll have solely English talking individuals in your automobile. If you find yourself collectively for 3 or 4 days this was vital to us.

That being mentioned, if you wish to avoid wasting cash and you’re on a good finances, the Spanish-speaking information is ok. It is possible for you to to make out most of what he’s saying in any case. It is very important observe that should you go for the English-speaking information that there’s normally one information for each 2 or 3 vehicles from that tour firm.

What altitude are you at within the Salar de Uyuni?

You might be at altitude when you’re in Uyuni, Bolivia. The city itself sits at greater than 3500m or 12,000 ft and that’s simply the place you begin. Through the tour, you’ll attain altitudes of as much as 4800m or 15,000 ft on the Laguna Colorada, within the Eduardo Avaroa Nationwide Park. So be ready.

We suggest spending at the very least someday in Uyuni earlier than your tour to acclimatize to the altitude. Dring loads of liquids and don’t exert an excessive amount of effort bodily. You may be out of breath a bit on the primary day however ought to get used to the shortage of oxygen rapidly.

Will it get chilly?

The quick reply is sure. Although the climate throughout the day could be nice, it’s a must to bear in mind that you’re at altitude so the nights can get fairly chilly. If you’re somebody who will get chilly simply you may need to convey your personal sleeping bag or ask to lease one from the tour operator.

Will I’ve cellphone or web throughout the tour?

The very fact is you may be in the course of nowhere so there will likely be little to no web or cellphone sign throughout the whole journey. It’s a good time to chill out and disconnect from the world and benefit from the nature that’s throughout you. If you’re in determined want of web or a cellphone there’s a place on the second day that provides paid web entry.

Money or Credit score Card? Which is Finest?

Money is king when you’re in your journey to the salt flats in Bolivia. There are some ATMs in Uyuni however we propose having native foreign money readily available earlier than you arrive simply in case. Just remember to have native foreign money as that’s required particularly if you wish to go to the next:

  • Nationwide Park Entrance Charge: 150 Bs ($22 USD) per individual
  • Fish Island: 30 Bs ($5 USD)
  • Sizzling Springs: 6 Bs ($1 USD)

What ought to I pack?

Packing for the salt flats is de facto depending on the place you’ll end your tour. If you’re carrying on to The Atacama Desert in Chile you’ll convey your full backpack. We do recommend placing the on a regular basis gadgets in a day pack so they’re simply accessible as your pack will likely be on the highest of the 4X4 every day.

If you’re beginning and ending in Uyuni then it’s attainable to depart some gadgets within the lodge so that you don’t must convey all the pieces. That being mentioned, the shifts in temperature could be fairly drastic so that you need o to be ready. Here’s a listing of issues you must pack on your tour of the Salt Flats in Bolivia:

  • Sunscreen with excessive SPF, sun shades, hat and lip balm are a should.
  • Layers of heat garments. Temperature fluctates drastically between day and night time.
  • Climbing boots (Older ones in case you are visiting throughout the moist season)
  • Journey towel for the primary night time bathe and the new springs.
  • Gold Bond: To maintain your self contemporary.
  • Digicam and additional batteries totally charged.
  • Headlamp
  • Water bottle and water. Even whether it is offered it’s good to have additional.
  • Money in native foreign money.
  • Swimsuit should you pan on going within the scorching springs.
  • Flip flops or trainers for on the lodge.

How Do you Describe the Salt Flats in Bolivia?

Bolivia Salt Flats are beautiful

Salty, white, limitless… these three phrases greatest describe the Salar de Uyuni. The solar burned from the sky and the reflections from the salt had been so sturdy that it was not possible to open the eyes with out sun shades whereas wanting over the large salt desert. After some time, the awe could be a bit overwhelming. It’s as if nature is attempting to beat you into submission with so many wonderful issues.

Most Salar de Uyuni excursions can really feel very begin and cease, with the driving force rendezvousing with different vacationer jeeps at designated factors for all-too-rapid picture alternatives. It’s a surreal sight, because the southwest roads of Bolivia seem totally abandoned however for the jeeps gathering in small teams to disgorge their vacationer cargo.

Remaining Ideas

Final thought on the Uyuni Slat Flats tour

We drove throughout Bolivia’s scenic southwest nook, a staggeringly lovely area bursting with mountains, lagoons, and inactive volcanoes. Outfitted with many large containers of consuming water and thick sleeping luggage our driver put the SUV into first gear and a tremendous journey by barren environment started.

It’s an expertise that entails attractive vistas, excessive chilly, and days with out showering.

On the finish of our 3-day journey, we had been exhausted. Exhausted due to all of the unbelievable issues we had seen.

It began with an limitless white salt flat, continued with moon-like sandy and dry landscapes of volcanoes and mountains, and ended with essentially the most colourful lagoons we had ever seen. Each one in all us wanted a while to digest the previous days.

There are lots of wonderful locations on our blue planet however the Salar de Uyuni and all the pieces round it actually belongs to one in all its most lovely locations! The Salar de Uyuni stays one of many world’s most improbable places–and because it’s in Bolivia, one of the crucial inexpensive, too.

Bolivia’s frontier really feel means the journey typically appears akin to stepping out of the charted territory, onto a succession of various planets.

Sticking Round Bolivia

Exploring more of Bolivia

However whereas the Salar is undoubtedly a spotlight, the tough the rest of Bolivia shouldn’t be ignored. From the grungy mining metropolis of Potosi to the gothic streets of La Paz to the verdant jungle reaches of the Amazon, Bolivia is crammed with breathtaking and weird sights. When you’ve seen the Salar (and even earlier than), think about sticking round to take just a few additional locations in.

For those who’re seeking to enterprise alongside the sting of the world or race throughout a few of nature’s most placing vistas, there is no such thing as a higher vacation spot. So strap in, buckle up, and don’t overlook to convey shades. There’s a white desert ready, product of salt and blinding daylight.

Have you ever been to the Bolivia Salt Flats? What do you suppose? Is Bolivia’s Andean Plateau one of the crucial lovely locations on the planet?

This text was initially written by Liane and Lars of bobaroundtheworld.com who’ve since stopped running a blog, however we’ve got stored it on ThePlanetD as it’s a vacation spot that’s value visiting.

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