Travel Guide

Salar de Uyuni Tour – Full Journey Information

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The Uyuni Salt Flats is the primary vacationer vacation spot in Bolivia is among the most extraordinary locations we’ve ever been. The variety of spectacular landscapes Salar de Uyuni has to supply is one thing wonderful. Uyuni is a photographers dream for wonderful panorama and reflective images and enjoyable perspective pictures. The Uyuni tour might be performed in 1, Three or Four days and completely different beginning factors are doable.

salar de uyuni tour
Having enjoyable on a Salar de Uyuni Tour.

Exploring Salar de Uyuni we noticed coloured lagoons, pink flamingos, superior geysers, swam in sizzling springs and extra. On this entry I talk about completely different excursions, costs, websites and ideas, all you have to know to have an superior time exploring the world’s most exceptional salt dessert.

Choices for Salar de Uyuni Excursions

A Three day tour of the Uyuni salt flats is the most well-liked method to discover the largest salt flats on this planet. A journey throughout the Uyuni Salt desert is a tremendous method to cross from Bolivia to Chile.

Most excursions depart from the city Uyuni, a small remoted vacationer city situated in Potosi, Bolivia, that is how we did it.

You can even do excursions to Salar de Uyuni from Tupiza, Sucre or La Paz

Uyuni 1 Day Journey from La Paz

Uyuni Three Day Tour from La Paz

The one method to do the journey by the salt flats impartial is by bicycle, motorcycle or by renting a Jeep. To Discover the salt flats you could have the selection of a sooner or later or three day tour.

The Uyuni Salt Desert can be visited by mainly the identical tour in reverse beginning in San Pedro de Atacama in Chile and is the one method to get from San Pedro de Atacama to Bolivia.

You can even do a tour from Uyuni to San Pedro de Atacama. We did this and continued touring in Chile!

Uyuni and San Pedro de Atacama on a 3-day tour

Spectacular landscapes driving round Salar de Uyuni.

Salar de Uyuni Details

These spectacular salt flats are the most important on this planet spreading over 10,582 sq. kilometers (4,085 sq. miles). Salar de Uyuni is situated at an elevation of three,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea degree! Sure that’s excessive sufficient to get altitude illness when you arrive with out acclimatizing. The Bolivian Salt Flats had been shaped about 40 00zero years in the past when a large prehistoric lake tried up. The salt layer left behind within the heart  is over 10 meters thick within the heart and it’s estimated to be full of 10 billion tons of salt!

Salar de Uyuni Tour Itinerary

Uyuni One Day Excursions

The sooner or later tour is the most affordable method to go to Salar de Uyuni. Excursions begin and end in Uyuni, most excursions run from 10am to 5pm so it’s doable to reach in Uyuni by bus, take a sooner or later tour and depart once more by bus on the identical day.

Salar de Uyuni One Day Tour

Jeep on Salar de Uyuni tour
Driving on the Uyuni salt flats throughout our tour.

Typical excursions go to the prepare cemetery,  adopted by a cease within the small city Colchani. That is the one salt making facility on Salar de Uyuni, the pyramid formed mounds you typically see on images is salt scraped into piles to be transported to the salt manufacturing unit in Colchani for processing. Assist the locals right here by shopping for a shawl or another memorabilia.  You’ll spend the remainder of the day exploring the salt flats go to the salt resorts, and a few islands similar to ‘Fish Island’, these are salt mounds remoted coated in cacti and have loads of alternatives to take superior images on the salt flats! Excursions ought to embrace lunch. A giant spotlight is stopping on the salt flats to take images taking part in with perspective and funky props and toys.

Three Day Tour of Salar de Uyuni

A Three day tour is the most well-liked method to discover the Salt Flats and is what we did. On the three day excursions you solely spend sooner or later on the true salt flats, the remainder of the time exploring desert-like panorama, it’s distinctive, diverse and easily spectacular!

Salar de Uyuni Three Day Tour

Day 1 – precisely the identical because the sooner or later tour we simply stayed on the Salt Flats in a Salt Lodge the place the sooner or later tour turns round and goes again to Uyuni. It was superior all the pieces was made out of salt, even the mattress! Dinner was wonderful, we even had some wine! (pack your individual if you would like a few glasses). It was chilly through the night time. Bathe was out there (not made out of salt), we gave it a skip since we didn’t really feel soiled after a complete day of sitting and it value about 2 bucks every.

Taking some photos at the train cemetery.
Taking some images of Alya on the prepare cemetery.

Day 2 – We began early there may be lots of driving on this fascinating day. Stopped at Gruta De Las Galaxaxias a small cave full of petrified algae; a number of wonderful Andian lagoons of various colours crimson, inexperienced and blue with many flamingos in a few of them. Unreal to search out flamingos at this altitude in a salt desert! Arbol de Piedra (the rock tree) within the wild and great Siloli desert. You enter Eduardo Avaroa Nationwide Park, entrance charge not included, deliver sufficient money and your passport with you.

Day 3 – We didn’t return to Uyuni on the third day, however continued to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, half of our group went again to Uyuni. All of us went to the “Sol de Mañana” geysers, lookout to view steamy volcanoes, Dali desert, swimming within the Aguas Thermales (Sizzling spring), Laguna Verde (the inexperienced lake). The group going again to Uyuni spent a lot of the day Uyuni city, we transferred to a unique Jeep and continued to San Pedro de Atacama the place we arrived at 13:00.

Attending to Uyuni from Sucre

We arrived in Uyuni from Sucre by night time bus. There are 2 buses doing the journey through the day through Potosi. The direct night time bus takes 9 hours arriving at about 5 am. Our bus arrived a bit early at about 4am, it was freezing chilly once we obtained off the bus and we had been a bit frightened pondering, ‘ What the hell are we going to do on this chilly till one thing opens?’

Fortunately there are some espresso retailers open that early! we had espresso, breakfast and wifi and a few touters even got here in that early to promote excursions to us. 

Attending to Uyuni from La Paz

From La Paz you may get to Uyuni purchase airplane, prepare or bus. There’s a night time bus going from La Paz arriving at Uyuni at about 5am, the night time bus takes about 11 hours. 

Uyuni La Paz Bus Journey

From La Paz you may get Uyuni with a bus prepare mixture, first take a bus to Oruro (3h 15 min) adopted by taking a prepare to Uyuni, 7 extra hours, it’s a 20 minute stroll to the prepare station.  You can even fly from La Paz to the small airport in Uyuni, Airline Amazonas and Boliviano de Aviacion are the primary airways providing these flights.

fun photos Uyuni salt flats
We had been taking some enjoyable images within the dry salt desert.

Lodging in Uyuni

Finest rated and priced lodging in several worth ranges, take a look at these wonderful lodging choices all with nice opinions and site.

Finest Time to Go to Salar de Uyuni

One of the best time to go to Salar de Uyuni relies on you want to see most through the journey, the huge expanses of the white salt pans or the unbelievable water mirror surfaces? July to October the local weather is improbable and might be essentially the most nice climate for the experience.  

The dry season from June till November – Huge fully flat dry salt plains, the attractive white pans with intricate patterns created by dry salt. Nice time of the 12 months to take these cool images taking part in with perspective with all types of  toys and different props.  Additionally, you will not get caught within the mud and will probably be assured of visiting the ‘islands’ (outcrops of cacti), caves and volcanoes. 

Excellent mirror reflection taken at Uyuni within the wet season. (thanks for the photograph Otsuka!)

Uyuni receives lower than 130 mm (5 inches) of rain per 12 months, the best rainfall is between December and April. The water dams up on the salt pan and by February or March kinds an enormous ankle deep puddle leading to a reflective floor that’s nonetheless drivable. The mirror impact will not be there all 12 months and to see them one of the best season is March and April. Breakdowns occur anytime of the 12 months, however getting caught within the mud solely when there may be mud. 

dali-desert stingy nomads
The Dali desert appears to be like like a panorama painted by the well-known artist though he was by no means right here.

Selecting a Salar de Uyuni Tour

We booked our tour the morning once we arrived in Uyuni, many vacationers do it this manner and that is the most affordable method to do it. You arrive at about 5am and folks attempt to promote excursions to you from early morning, we began strolling round within the city to discover a tour at about 7am. All of the excursions go to comparable websites with small variations in itineraries, meals and lodging. Few excursions have guides that talk good English, these excursions may be a bit extra dear. We went into one or 2 businesses asking costs and rapidly discovered an company we preferred with some like minded vacationers asking comparable questions. If you wish to go along with a particular firm ebook earlier than hand, learn TripAdvisor opinions. We had a really good group and a enjoyable information (no English). Corporations are continually altering.

Most excursions provide the choice to return to Uyuni, Bolivia or head straight to San Pedro Atacama, Chile, when you select a tour ending in Chile verify if the bus to San Pedro is included in any other case you’ll have to purchase a bus ticket after going by immigration. 

Convey further money

The next prices usually are not included by most excursions

  • Fish Island entrance charge
  • Eduardo Avaroa Nationwide Park
  • Sizzling Springs entrance
  • Bathe
  • Convey some further money for water, snax and many others.

Uyuni Salt Desert Tour Highlights

The Prepare Cemetery

Uyuni’s stunning prepare graveyard, the Cementerio de Trenes (Prepare Cemetery) is an open-air museum of rusted stays of trains from the 19th century. A railroad was constructed right here to attach the native mines, La Paz and the seaports of Chile. Within the 1940s, the mining trade collapsed when minerals had been depleted. In a unique local weather the trains would have been in a significantly better situation 100 years after being deserted, however in Uyuni salt considerably accelerates corrosion making the trains appear like they could possibly be centuries previous. You’ll be able to climb on the wrecks making for excellent images.The prepare cemetery is included in nearly all salt flat excursions. To go to it with out the crowds get there by taxi for 10 BOB (US$1.50) within the early morning or late afternoon from Uyuni. For photograph concepts take a look at the hastag #traincemetery on Instagram

Fish Island

Isla del Pescado (“Island of the Fish”) often known as Isla Incahuasi is a hilly and rocky outcrop of land in the midst of Salar de Uyuni. It’s known as Fish Island as a result of some say it appears to be like like a fish when considered from far-off.

Salar de Uyuni Lodge fabricated from Salt

The salt resorts of Bolivia had been created by developing total resorts all the pieces from the beds to the partitions and flooring are from salt blocks. On the primary night time on a tour exploring Salar de Uyuni most excursions keep at a salt resort, there are a number of of those resort close to Uyuni.

Probably the most iconic of those salt resorts in Bolivia is the Palacio de Sal, situated simply outdoors Colchani, you received’t keep right here on a finances tour! This luxurious resort was constructed from a million blocks of compressed salt grains it’s fascinating that staff need to repeatedly shave down the salt partitions to maintain the place trying sculpted and contemporary. The resort even has a spa, swimming pool, on-site restaurant and even a salty golf course!

salt hotel salar de uyuni
A typical salt resort on the Salar de Uyuni.

Salar de Uyuni Sundown

Sundown and dawn is spectacular on the salt flats and an amazing photograph alternative Solely the primary day of most Three day excursions are spent on the salt flats, affirm along with your tour firm that you’ll be spending a few hours on the salt flats and can have the chance to see solar set and dawn. 

Galaxia Caves (Gruta De Las Galaxaxias)

Attention-grabbing caves to discover on the southern shore of the Salar de Uyuni, fossilised algae, stromalites and marine deposits relationship from when the Salar was coated by the large prehistoric Lakes Minchin and Tauca. Seems to be like an underwater panorama.

Coloured Andian Lagoons

Salar de Uyuni is legendary for the world’s largest salt flats and the spectacular coloured lakes, completely different colours as a result of minerals and algae they host. 

Laguna Blanca, the white lake
Laguna Blanca, the white lake
  • Laguna Hedionda at 4186m above sea ranges is a well-liked spot for lunch with many flamingos.
  • Laguna Colorada (4278m) – additionally a preferred spot with many flamingos is coloured crimson by algae within the lake.
  • Laguna Verde (4400m) the inexperienced coloration of this lagoon might be seen when the wind blows, it’s coloured by Arsenic, Lead, Copper and extra heavy metals, when there isn’t any wind you see the reflection of Volcán Lincacabur (5960m). 
  • Laguna Blanca – this lake is coloured white by the presence of borax.
The Red Lake salar de Uyuni
The Pink Lake at Uyuni.

Arbol de Piedra (the rock tree)

The Rock Tree (Árbol de Piedra) within the Siloli Desert desert is a tree-like rock formation with a skinny stem and large rock branches shaped by robust winds carrying sand that erodes the smooth sandstone. Cool photograph spot! Checkout #arbolpiedra

Sol de Mañana geysers

Superb place with a great deal of geothermal exercise. This geyser and assortment of effervescent sulfur swimming pools is often visited at solar rise, situated at 4850m above sea degree with effervescent mud pots the geysers hase a really robust acrid scent of sulfur. Watch out when taking images, you may get as shut as you need there aren’t any limitations between you and the openings. Bear in mind the steaming effervescent mud can erupt at anytime.

Steaming thermal vents Salar de Uyuni
Steaming thermal vents Salar de Uyuni

Salvador Dali desert

The surreal Salvador Dali desert with barren landscapes really feel like you’re driving on one other planet, some extra wonderful photograph alternatives. Dalí himself by no means visited the world, the colours and shapes resemble lots of his work. Checkout #dalidesert on Insta

Aguas Thermales

The Polques Sizzling springs visited by Three excursions to Salar de Uyuni had been shaped on account of volcanic exercise from the close by Polques Volcano.Whereas hotsprings might be boiling, Polques stays round a snug 29°C, superior in distinction to the chilly climate outdoors the pool that may be as chilly as -5°C. Hovering within the pool taking a look at lakes, volcanoes and flamingos is an unreal experience! Should you stick with an operator that overnights on the sizzling springs you’ll be able to bathtub with out the crowds at night time whereas doing stargazing!

thermal-baths Uyuni salt flats
Our group chilling within the sizzling springs on the Uyuni Salt Flats.

Animals on the Salar de Uyuni

Regardless of the acute circumstances, some animals do reside at these altitudes and excessive surroundings. Three of the world’s six species of flamingos might be seen right here, along with 77 different chicken species! Some fascinating mammals discovered within the salt desert embrace Puma, the Andean fox, Viscacha (much like rabbits), and Vicuña (deer).

Salar de Uyuni Pictures 

The 2 most well-known images are the angle images and the reflective images.

1. Perspective Photograph on Salar de Uyuni

Finest Time to Go: Anytime is nice however the wet season December to March. Salar de Uyuni may be very flat and one uniform coloration, so you’ll be able to play with perspective and optical illusions the dearth of horizon causes. Be inventive and by transferring objects and folks various distances from the photographer make them appear completely different sizes from actuality e.g. somebody standing on prime of a wine bottle or being attacked by a toy dinosaur. #salaruyuni on instagram have loads of examples

2. Reflection images on Salar de Uyuni

In the course of the wet season (November to March) the water accumulates on the floor of the Salar de Uyuni and creates a large mirror that completely displays the sky. Superb images the place the reflection is so excellent you can’t see what’s up and what’s down on the image. Night time reflective images displaying the milky manner above and beneath are really spectacular! Verify along with your operator you’ll have the chance to take these reflective images at night time. 

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Try what we predict is one of the best locations to go to in South America!


Uyuni Salt Flats guide Bolivia

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Hey! A bit about us - we’re John & Maria and we're a couple that loves to travel the world and document our adventures! We enjoy writing, blogging, exploring and sharing our adventures. We’re always embarking on new journeys and here you’ll find articles covering many travel destinations, and topics, such as culture, history, art and cuisine. Our goal and mission is to present compelling stories, photography and personal opinions, as well as serve as an online resource for anyone who wishes to plan their own trips and visit the destinations we've been to. We genuinely love meeting new people, mingling with locals, listening to their amazing stories and trying new travel experiences.

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