The Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat on the earth and essentially the most well-known vacationer attract Bolivia, South America. In reality, for a lot of vacationers, the Bolivian Salt Flats is the only motive they go to Bolivia. We do advocate that you just go to extra of Bolivia than simply the salt flats, however if you’d like some epic photos and an unforgettable expertise it would be best to put the Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats in your bucket listing.
Ever because the 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 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 countless surroundings.
What’s the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia?
The Salar de Uyuni is likely 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 1000’s 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 cook 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 simplest ways to see the Uyuni salt flats in my view.
The sweetness 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 wish to spend within the space itself. We advocate the three or 4-day choice because it covers essentially the most.
Now we 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?
The fantastic thing about the Salt flats being so widespread is that excursions to the world begin from quite a lot of completely 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 go away 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 almost definitely the place you’ll begin out if you’re doing a 1 Day tour of the salt flats. We do advocate being cautious and doing all of your analysis as we discovered that fairly just a few of the tour businesses in Uyuni tout unreliable vehicles and harmful drivers.
In case you are planning a 3 or 4-day tour then there are much more choices to select from in terms of a place to begin and an ending level.
Begin in Tupiza Finish in Uyulni
A extra nice (if barely pricier) expertise will be had by taking the again street to the Salar, leaving from the south-Bolivian metropolis of Tupiza. Residence to a handful of tour businesses and a nice 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 for those who like.
Begin in Uyuni Finish in San Pedro de Atacama in Chile
That is the preferred choice, particularly if you’re a multi-day tour. Alternatively, if in case you have cash to burn, you may start your tour from San Pedro de Atacama, a fantastic (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–nevertheless it’s not for the faint of pockets. This is likely one of the causes we advocate reserving the tour that begins in Uyuni and ends in Chile at San Pedro de Atacama.
Should you do determine to begin in San Pedro keep in mind that you can be at a excessive altitude, so there’s a threat of altitude illness for those who 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’ll be able to 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?
We advocate 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 sights which might be coated within the 3 and 4-day tour. The longer excursions are extra widespread for that reason.
In fact, it is going to all rely in your funds and journey itinerary which size of journey you select. Simply bear in mind that on the 1-day tour you miss out on the recent springs, the volcano, and the flamingoes and also you don’t get the possibility to see this superb sight at sundown. Being a photographer this can be a should!
The three-day tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats is the proper period of time to steadiness being at altitude and seeing all of it.
Select Your Bolivia Salt Flats Tour
There are various tour businesses and plenty of drivers providing vacationers an Uyuni experience-but not all of them are dependable. Drunken drivers and sham businesses abound, so make sure to analysis your choices fastidiously 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 communicate 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 normal. They may try to upsell you and persuade you that they’ve quicker vehicles or higher lodging simply to get more cash out of you. Should you ask the suitable questions you’ll positively up your probabilities of getting a terrific 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 automotive? Clearly the smaller quantity of individuals the higher. However most excursions try to get 6 folks plus a driver in a automobile.
- What kind of lodging are supplied? Will you be staying in a salt lodge, sharing a room, or multi functional large room?
- Does my driver communicate English? Most drivers are additionally your information and cook dinner and don’t communicate 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’s not then be ready to fork over an additional of 150 Bob ($22 USD). Should you plan on visiting “Fish Island” inside Uyuni salt lake that can value 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?
As we stated above, the entire excursions are the identical and comply with the identical route. Don’t be fooled by folks attempting to upsell you to a greater tour. The automotive and the lodging might change however the excursions themselves are an identical. That being stated the worth varies broadly, so you’ll have to barter the most effective 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 embody is the $20 payment to get into the Nationwide Park, so ensure 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.
You will need to notice that the costs above are for those who ebook your tour on arrival or in Bolivia itself. Should you ebook your tour on-line earlier than you journey the price will be nearly double.
What are the Lodging Choices on the Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats Excursions?
Whereas excursions themselves are markets as fundamental, I’d say that we had been pleasantly shocked. Now we have stayed in some fundamental locations through the years however had been pretty impressed when you think about the price of the tour.
You’ll spend the primary evening of the tour in a salt lodge, which we beloved. Now after I say a salt lodge, I imply all the pieces is fabricated from salt. The lodge exterior is fabricated from salt blocks, the chairs, floor, and mattress are additionally fabricated from salt. We had been completely satisfied to have personal rooms on the primary evening to essentially get pleasure from it. There was additionally a bathe which value 10BS and had sufficient water for two folks. Benefit from it as there aren’t 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 any WIFI out right here so you can be disconnected which we discovered a welcome reprieve from consistently checking telephones every day.
The way in which the meals are arrange is that breakfast and dinner are served on the lodging and the lunch is at all times on the street. The meals itself was not positive eating nevertheless it was tasty and there was at all times sufficient.
Gown for a Salar de Uyuni Tour
Journey by means of Bolivia’s southwest nook means splitting your time between excessive heat, below 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 means, 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 very important to just be sure you have some heat garments packed. Learn our layering suggestions for packing.
Get to Salar de Uyuni
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 for those who sleep. It is going to 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 is suggested 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 may as well 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 value you roughly 11USD. Be certain to verify the instances and price on TicketsBolivia.
If you need, you’ll be able to ebook 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?
There isn’t any unhealthy time to go to the Bolivia Salt Flats. It actually will depend 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 rework 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. Excellent for a photographer. The wet season in Bolivia is from December to April. Simply bear in mind that throughout the wet season quite a lot of the encompassing sights are closed.
Dry Season: We visited throughout the dry season and it was spectacular as properly. It’s hotter throughout this time from Might to November. Since we visited throughout the dry season, our SUV produced an enormous cloud of mud after we crossed the gorgeous moon-like panorama of Bolivia’s Andean Plateau making for surreal pictures.
What you’ll See on a Bolvian Salt Flats Tour
Isla del Pescado
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 – Prepare Graveyard
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 prepare 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 house.
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 would possibly 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 fantastic lagoon appeared.
The Andean Plateau and its mysterious rock formations have been shaped over tens of millions of years by means of wind and sand. And typically nature could be very artistic and varieties rocks just like the Arbol de Piedra, the Stone Tree.
Our information advised us earlier than that we’d get to see a lagoon extra stunning than the one we had seen earlier than. However we didn’t wish to consider him as we couldn’t think about that it could be potential.
A whole bunch, in all probability 1000’s of flamingos had been wading by means of the shallow water in quest of meals. It was such a contradiction to see an oasis of life in the midst of the barren surroundings.
The silence was round us after we approached the Laguna Colorada, the Crimson Lagoon. Every thing round us felt unreal. Are you aware the way it feels if 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 nearly 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 discovered this inexperienced kind of algae was toxic. Too unhealthy, the water regarded so inviting with these stunning reflections on the floor.
Visiting a steaming geyser is a spotlight of the Uyuni Salt Flats tour; I used to be so distracted taking photos, I nearly 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 stuffed with boiling mud. The chilly air of the morning intensified the steam and the world regarded like a mystic place. After leaving the salt flat we thought it couldn’t get any higher. However we had been so incorrect!
Images of Salar de Uyuni
The Uyuni Salt Flats is THE picture spot to play with proportions and views when taking photographs. It’s a spot the place folks 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 determine 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 inconceivable to catch all of it. In different phrases, it’s a street journey like no different, and completely value doing.
Frequent Questions About Doing a Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats Tour
Do you want an English Talking Information?
The reply right here is it relies upon. Should you communicate pretty fluent Spanish then you’ll be able to positively forego an English information. If you don’t communicate Spanish in any respect then we advocate paying the additional cash (it may be as much as 500 Bs per particular person) and getting an English information.
We like to grasp our information as they will present quite a lot of background info on the world and there may be the added benefit that for those who pay additional for the English information you should have solely English talking folks in your automotive. If you end up collectively for 3 or 4 days this was vital to us.
That being stated, if you wish to avoid wasting cash and you’re on a good funds, the Spanish-speaking information is okay. It is possible for you to to make out most of what he’s saying in any case. You will need to notice that for those who 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 advocate spending at the 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 somewhat on the primary day however ought to get used to the shortage of oxygen rapidly.
Will it get chilly?
The quick reply is sure. Despite the fact that the climate throughout the day will be nice, you need to bear 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 would possibly wish to carry your personal sleeping bag or ask to hire one from the tour operator.
Will I’ve telephone or web throughout the tour?
The very fact is you can be in the midst of nowhere so there will likely be little to no web or telephone sign throughout the whole journey. It’s a good time to calm down 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 telephone 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’re in your journey to the salt flats in Bolivia. There are some ATMs in Uyuni however we advise having native foreign money 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 particular person
- Fish Island: 30 Bs ($5 USD)
- Sizzling Springs: 6 Bs ($1 USD)
What ought to I pack?
Packing for the salt flats is admittedly depending on the place you’ll end your tour. In case you are carrying on to The Atacama Desert in Chile you’ll carry your full backpack. We do recommend placing the on a regular basis objects in a day pack so they’re simply accessible as your pack will likely be on the highest of the 4X4 every day.
In case you are beginning and ending in Uyuni then it’s potential to go away some objects within the lodge so that you don’t should carry all the pieces. That being stated, the shifts in temperature will 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 evening.
- Mountain climbing boots (Older ones if you’re visiting throughout the moist season)
- Journey towel for the primary evening bathe and the recent springs.
- Gold Bond: To maintain your self recent.
- Digicam and further batteries absolutely charged.
- Water bottle and water. Even whether it is supplied it’s good to have additional.
- Money in native foreign money.
- Swimsuit for those who pan on going within the sizzling springs.
- Flip flops or trainers for on the lodge.
How Do you Describe the Salt Flats in Bolivia?
Salty, white, countless… 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 inconceivable 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 attempting 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 picture alternatives. It’s a surreal sight, because the southwest roads of Bolivia seem fully abandoned however for the jeeps gathering in small teams to disgorge their vacationer cargo.
We drove throughout Bolivia’s scenic southwest nook, a staggeringly stunning area bursting with mountains, lagoons, and inactive volcanoes. Outfitted with many large containers of ingesting water and thick sleeping baggage our driver put the SUV into first gear and an incredible 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 had 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 one among us wanted a while to digest the previous days.
There are various superb locations on our blue planet however the Salar de Uyuni and all the pieces round it actually belongs to one among its most stunning locations! The Salar de Uyuni stays one of many world’s most improbable areas–and because it’s in Bolivia, one of the crucial reasonably priced, 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
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 stuffed with breathtaking and weird sights. When you’ve seen the Salar (and even earlier than), take into account sticking round to take just a few additional locations in.
Should you’re seeking to enterprise alongside the sting of the world or race throughout a few of nature’s most hanging vistas, there isn’t any higher vacation spot. So strap in, buckle up, and don’t neglect to carry shades. There’s a white desert ready, fabricated from 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 stunning locations on the earth?
This text was initially written by Liane and Lars of bobaroundtheworld.com who’ve since stopped running a blog, however we now have stored it on ThePlanetD as it’s a vacation spot that’s value visiting.