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

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

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 adore it!” These have 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 have been sky-high and we couldn’t wait to see the white countless surroundings.

What’s the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia?

What is the Salar de Uyuni Bolivia

The Salar de Uyuni is without doubt one of the most spectacular adventure-travel locations on Earth. Suppose 10 billion tons of salt sprawling throughout an countless desert. The Salar de Uyuni is a ten,582 sq. kilometer expanse of cracked white salt, left behind when an historic salt lake named Coipasa dried up hundreds of years in the past.

It’s the world’s largest salt flat and is situated 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 prepare dinner whereas our amiable Bolivian driver took us by means of an more and more unbelievable array of pure wonders. That is one of the best ways to see the Uyuni salt flats for my part.

We’ve got included a map under to offer you an concept of the place in Bolivia the slat flats are in relation to the remainder of the nation.

Map of the Salt Flats in Bolivia

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 choice because it covers essentially the most.

The place do Bolivia Salt Flats Excursions Begin From?

Bolivia Salt Flats Tour Starting Points

The fantastic thing about the Salt flats being so common is that excursions to the world begin from quite a few 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 situated close to the salt flats. It’s by far the most affordable place to choose up a tour, with journeys on supply for as little as B$600 (about $80 USD). That is most probably the place you’ll begin out if you’re 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 businesses in Uyuni tout unreliable automobiles and harmful drivers.

In case you are planning a 3 or 4-day tour then there are much more choices to select from on the subject of a place to begin and an ending level.

Begin in Tupiza Finish in Uyulni

A extra nice (if barely pricier) expertise might be had by taking the again highway to the Salar, leaving from the south-Bolivian metropolis of Tupiza. Residence to a handful of tour businesses and a nice major 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 possibly can return to Tupiza from Salar de Uyuni when you like.

Begin in Uyuni Finish in San Pedro de Atacama in Chile

San Pedro de Atacama Chile

That is the most well-liked choice, particularly if you’re a multi-day tour. Alternatively, in case you have cash to burn, you possibly can start your tour from San Pedro de Atacama, a good looking (if absurdly touristy) village in close by Chile.

Positioned on Chile’s border with Bolivia, San Pedro de Atacama is surrounded by spectacular surroundings of its personal to discover–however it’s not for the faint of pockets. This is without doubt one of the causes we suggest reserving the tour that begins in Uyuni and ends in Chile at San Pedro de Atacama.

In the event you do resolve to begin in San Pedro do not forget that you can be at a excessive altitude, so there’s a threat of altitude illness when you don’t take care to acclimate. Drink loads of water and don’t over-exert.

La Paz or Sucre

In case you are trying only for a fast day tour of the salt flats then you possibly can simply bounce on one in both La Paz or Sucre, if you’re 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 might be lined within the 3 and 4-day tour. The longer excursions are extra common for that reason.

In fact, it’ll 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 prospect to see this superb sight at sundown. Being a photographer this can be a should!

The 3-day tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats is the right period of time to steadiness being at altitude and seeing all of it.

The right way to Select Your Bolivia Salt Flats Tour

How to choose your Salar de Uyuni tour

There are lots of tour businesses and lots of drivers providing vacationers an Uyuni experience-but not all of them are dependable. Drunken drivers and sham businesses abound, so make 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 primarily based 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 commonplace. They are going to attempt to upsell you and persuade you that they’ve sooner automobiles or higher lodging simply to get more cash out of you. In the event you ask the suitable questions you’ll positively up your possibilities of getting an important tour.

Advisable Excursions to E book Forward of Time

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

  • How Many Individuals will probably be in my automotive? Clearly the smaller quantity of individuals the higher. However most excursions attempt to get 6 individuals plus a driver in a car.
  • What sort of lodging are provided? Will you be staying in a salt lodge, sharing a room, or multi function massive room?
  • Does my driver converse English? Most drivers are additionally your information and prepare dinner and don’t converse a lot english. It helps if you already know some spanish or you’re good at appearing issues out.
  • Is the doorway to the Nationwide park included? The standard reply to that is no, however some do supply it. If it’s not then be ready to fork over an additional of 150 Bob ($22 USD). In the event you plan on visiting “Fish Island” inside Uyuni salt lake that may value you further as effectively.
  • 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 Price to Go to the Bolivia Salt Flats?

Cost of the Bolivia Salt Flats Tour

As we mentioned above, all the excursions are the identical and observe the identical route. Don’t be fooled by individuals making an attempt to upsell you to a greater tour. The automotive and the lodging could change however the excursions themselves are an identical. That being mentioned the value varies broadly, so you’ll have to barter the most effective value.

You shouldn’t pay greater than 850-1350 Bob for a 3-day tour ($125 – $195 USD). This value is all-inclusive of meals, transportation, lodging, and a Spanish-speaking information. In order for you an English-speaking information put together to pay double. What it doesn’t embody is the $20 charge to get into the Nationwide Park, so be sure you have money for that. In case you are 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 when you guide your tour on arrival or in Bolivia itself. In the event you guide your tour on-line earlier than you journey the associated fee might 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 fundamental, I might say that we have been pleasantly shocked. We’ve got stayed in some fundamental locations over time however have 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 liked. Now after I say a salt lodge, I imply all the things is manufactured from salt. The lodge exterior is manufactured from salt blocks, the chairs, floor, and mattress are additionally manufactured from salt. We have been joyful to have non-public rooms on the primary night time to actually get pleasure from it. There was additionally a bathe which value 10BS and had sufficient water for two individuals. Make the most of it as there aren’t any different showers on the tour.

The opposite nights we slept in dorm-type rooms, however you possibly can pay an additional 150Bs for a personal room, which we did. The buildings are clear and effectively taken care of so that you by no means felt such as you have been on an ultra-budget tour.

There isn’t any WIFI out right here so you can 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 effective eating however it was tasty and there was at all times sufficient.

The right way to Gown for a Salar de Uyuni Tour

Bolivia Salt Flats Dressing guide

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

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

The right way to 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 increasingly more 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 when you sleep. It can value you about $25 USD for the in a single day bus and you’ll take a look at tickets with https://www.ticketsbolivia.com/

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

When you’ve got some further money or are restricted on time then you can too fly to Uyuni from La Paz. It prices about $100 USD and is commonly included with non-public excursions from La Paz.

From Sucre to Uyuni

IF you’re coming from the capital of Bolivia, Sucre, you possibly can catch a direct bus to the Uyuni Salt Flats. The bus experience 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 can value you roughly 11USD. Be certain that to test the occasions and value on TicketsBolivia.

In order for you, you possibly can 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 any unhealthy time to go to the Bolivia Salt Flats. It actually is determined by the expertise you’re on the lookout for.

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 rework into a large mirror that displays the sky and creates an other-worldly expertise. Throughout this time of the yr 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 in the course of the wet season a number of the encompassing points of interest are closed.

Dry Season: We visited in the course of the dry season and it was spectacular as effectively. It’s hotter throughout this time from Could to November. Since we visited in the course of 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 photographs.

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 obtained an impression of the true dimension of the salty panorama.

Steam Locomotives – Practice Graveyard

Train Graveyard in Uyuni Bolivia

We arrived in Uyuni and jumped out of the SUV and climbed up the enormous 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 once 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 seem 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 far-off from any civilization. And for a second we thought we reached the “finish of the world”.

The tracks may seem 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 crimson and brown sand when unexpectedly, behind a hill, a good looking lagoon appeared.

Lunar Panorama

Bolivia Salt Flats Stone tree

The Andean Plateau and its mysterious rock formations have been fashioned over thousands and thousands of years by means of wind and sand. And generally nature may be very inventive and kinds 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 stunning than the one we had seen earlier than. However we didn’t need to imagine him as we couldn’t think about that it could be attainable.

Flamingoes

Flamigoes on the Bolivian Salt Flats

Tons of, in all probability hundreds of flamingos have been wading by means of the shallow water in the hunt for meals. It was such a contradiction to see an oasis of life in the midst 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. Have you learnt the way it feels if you see one thing and can’t imagine it’s actual? It was exhausting to imagine that this lagoon, with its shades of yellow, black, white, crimson, 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 crimson. It was virtually unhappy to see that the final lagoon we visited, the attractive Inexperienced Lagoon with the picturesque volcano within the background was void of flamingos.

As we realized this inexperienced sort of algae was toxic. Too unhealthy, the water seemed so inviting with these stunning 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 have been surrounded by geysers and holes within the floor crammed with boiling mud. The chilly air of the morning intensified the steam and the world seemed like a mystic place. After leaving the salt flat we thought it couldn’t get any higher. However we have been so fallacious!

Images of Salar de Uyuni

Photos Sala de Uyuni Bolivia

The Uyuni Salt Flats is THE photograph 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 photograph stops, it may be exhausting to resolve whether or not to take photos of the surroundings or just take the surroundings in. For these inclined to snap, it’s essential to tempo your photographic zeal. The panorama is so marvelous, it’s merely unimaginable to catch all of it. In different phrases, it’s a highway journey like no different, and completely value doing.

Frequent 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. In the event you converse pretty fluent Spanish then you possibly can 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 know our information as they will present a number of background data on the world and there may be the added benefit that when you pay further for the English information you’ll have solely English talking individuals in your automotive. If you end up collectively for 3 or 4 days this was essential to us.

That being mentioned, if you wish to avoid wasting cash and you’re on a decent 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 when you go for the English-speaking information that there’s normally one information for each 2 or 3 automobiles from that tour firm.

What altitude are you at within the Salar de Uyuni?

You’re at altitude when you find yourself in Uyuni, Bolivia. The city itself sits at greater than 3500m or 12,000 ft and that’s simply the place you begin. Throughout 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 not less than sooner or later 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’ll be out of breath a little bit on the primary day however ought to get used to the dearth of oxygen rapidly.

Will it get chilly?

The quick reply is sure. Despite the fact that the climate in the course of the day might be nice, it’s a must to keep in mind that you’re at altitude so the nights can get fairly chilly. In case you are 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 in the course of the tour?

The actual fact is you can be in the midst of nowhere so there will probably 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. In case you are in determined want of web or a cellphone there’s a place on the second day that gives paid web entry.

Money or Credit score Card? Which is Finest?

Money is king when you find yourself in your journey to the salt flats in Bolivia. There are some ATMs in Uyuni however we advise having native forex readily available earlier than you arrive simply in case. Just remember to have native forex 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)
  • Scorching Springs: 6 Bs ($1 USD)

What ought to I pack?

Packing for the salt flats is absolutely depending on the place you’ll end your tour. In case you are carrying on to The Atacama Desert in Chile you’ll convey your full backpack. We do counsel placing the on a regular basis objects in a day pack so they’re simply accessible as your pack will probably be on the highest of the 4X4 every day.

In case you are beginning and ending in Uyuni then it’s attainable to go away some objects within the lodge so that you don’t need to convey all the things. That being mentioned, the shifts in temperature might be fairly drastic so that you need o to be ready. Here’s a checklist of issues you need to 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.
  • Mountain climbing boots (Older ones if you’re visiting in the course of the moist season)
  • Journey towel for the primary night time bathe and the new springs.
  • Gold Bond: To maintain your self contemporary.
  • Digicam and further batteries absolutely charged.
  • Headlamp
  • Water bottle and water. Even whether it is offered it’s good to have further.
  • Money in native forex.
  • Swimsuit when you pan on going within the sizzling 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, countless… these three phrases greatest describe the Salar de Uyuni. The solar burned from the sky and the reflections from the salt have been so robust that it was unimaginable to open the eyes with out sun shades whereas trying over the large salt desert. After some time, the awe is usually a bit overwhelming. It’s as if nature is making an attempt to beat you into submission with so many superb 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 photograph alternatives. It’s a surreal sight, because the southwest roads of Bolivia seem solely 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 stunning area bursting with mountains, lagoons, and inactive volcanoes. Geared up with many massive containers of consuming water and thick sleeping baggage our driver put the SUV into first gear and a tremendous journey by means of barren environment started.

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

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

It began with an countless 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 considered one of us wanted a while to digest the previous days.

There are lots of superb locations on our blue planet however the Salar de Uyuni and all the things round it actually belongs to considered one of its most stunning locations! The Salar de Uyuni stays one of many world’s most incredible places–and because it’s in Bolivia, one of the crucial reasonably priced, too.

Bolivia’s frontier really feel means the journey generally 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), contemplate sticking round to take just a few further locations in. 

In the event you’re trying to enterprise alongside the sting of the world or race throughout a few of nature’s most hanging vistas, there isn’t a higher vacation spot. So strap in, buckle up, and don’t neglect to convey shades. There’s a white desert ready, manufactured from salt and blinding daylight.

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

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

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