The Salar de Uyuni is the most important salt flat on the planet and essentially the most well-known vacationer attract Bolivia, South America. In actual fact, for a lot of vacationers, the Bolivian Salt Flats is the only real motive they go to Bolivia. We do suggest that you simply go to extra of Bolivia than simply the salt flats, however in order for you some epic photos and an unforgettable expertise you’ll want to put the Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats in your bucket record.
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 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 infinite 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 infinite 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 prepare dinner whereas our amiable Bolivian driver took us via 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.
We’ve got included a map beneath to present you an thought of the place in Bolivia the slat flats are in relation to the remainder of the nation.
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 suggest the three or 4-day possibility because it covers essentially the most.
The place do Bolivia Salt Flats Excursions Begin From?
The fantastic thing about the Salt flats being so common 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 depart from the city of Uyuni itself, a dry desert settlement situated close to the salt flats. It’s by far the most cost effective place to choose up a tour, with journeys on supply for as little as B$600 (about $80 USD). That is most 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 a couple of 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 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 will 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 may return to Tupiza from Salar de Uyuni should you like.
Begin in Uyuni Finish in San Pedro de Atacama in Chile
That is the most well-liked possibility, particularly in case you are a multi-day tour. Alternatively, when you have cash to burn, you could possibly start your tour from San Pedro de Atacama, a gorgeous (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–however it’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.
Should you do resolve to begin in San Pedro do not forget that you’ll be at a excessive altitude, so there’s a threat 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 trying only for a fast day tour of the salt flats then you may simply bounce 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?
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 sights which can be lined within the 3 and 4-day tour. The longer excursions are extra common because of this.
After all, it is going to all rely in your price range 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 it is 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.
Tips on how to Select Your Bolivia Salt Flats Tour
There are various 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 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 customary. They are going to attempt to upsell you and persuade you that they’ve sooner vehicles or higher lodging simply to get more cash out of you. Should you ask the fitting questions you’ll undoubtedly up your possibilities of getting an excellent 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 might 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 car.What kind of lodging are supplied? Will you be staying in a salt lodge, sharing a room, or multi functional huge 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 recognize 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 isn’t 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 may 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 Price to Go to the Bolivia Salt Flats?
As we stated above, the entire 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 automobile and the lodging might change however the excursions themselves are equivalent. That being stated the value varies extensively, so you will have to barter the perfect 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 embrace is the $20 charge to get into the Nationwide Park, so be sure to 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 e-book your tour on arrival or in Bolivia itself. Should you e-book your tour on-line earlier than you journey the associated fee will be virtually double.
What are the Lodging Choices on the Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats Excursions?
Whereas excursions themselves are markets as primary, I’d say that we had been pleasantly stunned. We’ve got 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 cherished. Now once I say a salt lodge, I imply the whole lot is made from salt. The lodge exterior is made from salt blocks, the chairs, floor, and mattress are additionally made from salt. We had been joyful to have non-public rooms on the primary night time to essentially 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 may pay an additional 150Bs for a personal 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’ll be disconnected which we discovered a welcome reprieve from consistently 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 tremendous eating however it was tasty and there was at all times sufficient.
Tips on how to Gown for a Salar de Uyuni Tour
Journey via Bolivia’s southwest nook means splitting your time between excessive heat, beneath 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 manner, you may 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 important to just be sure you have some heat garments packed. Learn our layering ideas for packing.
Tips on how to 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 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 should value you about $25 USD for the in a single day bus and you’ll try 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 too can 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 may catch a direct bus to the Uyuni Salt Flats. The bus journey 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 should value you roughly 11USD. Be sure to test the occasions and value on TicketsBolivia.
In order for you, you may e-book 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 Greatest Time to Go to the Bolivian Salt Flats?
There isn’t any unhealthy 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 efficient 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 in the course of the wet season plenty of the encircling sights are closed.
Dry Season: We visited in the course of the dry season and it was spectacular as properly. It’s hotter throughout this time from Might to November. Since we visited in the course of the dry season, our SUV produced a large cloud of mud once we crossed the gorgeous 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
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 a couple of 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
We arrived in Uyuni and jumped out of the SUV and climbed up the large wrecked previous 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 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 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 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 gorgeous lagoon appeared.
The Andean Plateau and its mysterious rock formations have been fashioned over thousands and thousands of years via wind and sand. And generally nature could be very inventive 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 lovely 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 attainable.
A whole lot, most likely 1000’s of flamingos had been wading via the shallow water looking for meals. It was such a contradiction to see an oasis of life in the midst of the barren surroundings.
The silence was round us once we approached the Laguna Colorada, the Purple Lagoon. Every part round us felt unreal. Have you learnt the way it feels whenever you see one thing and can’t consider it’s actual? It was arduous to consider 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 gorgeous Inexperienced Lagoon with the picturesque volcano within the background was void of flamingos.
As we realized this inexperienced kind of algae was toxic. Too unhealthy, the water seemed so inviting with these lovely 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 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 stuffed 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 had been so mistaken!
Pictures of Salar de Uyuni
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 arduous 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.
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 converse pretty fluent Spanish then you may undoubtedly 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 plenty of background data on the world 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 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 decent price range, the Spanish-speaking information is okay. 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’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. In the course of 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 least in the future 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 of on the primary day however ought to get used to the dearth of oxygen shortly.
Will it get chilly?
The quick reply is sure. Regardless that the climate in the course of the day will be nice, it’s important 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 would possibly wish to convey your individual sleeping bag or ask to lease one from the tour operator.
Will I’ve telephone or web in the course of the tour?
The actual fact is you’ll be in the midst of nowhere so there might be little to no web or telephone sign throughout your complete 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 telephone there’s a place on the second day that provides paid web entry.
Money or Credit score Card? Which is Greatest?
Money is king when you find yourself in your journey to the salt flats in Bolivia. There are some ATMs in Uyuni however we propose having native forex 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 Payment: 150 Bs ($22 USD) per personFish 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 will end your tour. If you’re 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 might be on the highest of the 4X4 every day.
If you’re beginning and ending in Uyuni then it’s attainable to depart some objects within the lodge so that you don’t must convey the whole lot. That being stated, the shifts in temperature will be fairly drastic so that you need o to be ready. Here’s a record 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.Mountaineering boots (Older ones in case you are 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.HeadlampWater bottle and water. Even whether it is offered it’s good to have additional.Money in native forex.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?
Salty, white, infinite… these three phrases finest 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 trying over the large salt desert. After some time, the awe generally is 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 motive 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 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 lovely area bursting with mountains, lagoons, and inactive volcanoes. Outfitted with many huge containers of ingesting water and thick sleeping luggage our driver put the SUV into first gear and an incredible journey via 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 infinite 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 certainly one of us wanted a while to digest the previous days.
There are various superb locations on our blue planet however the Salar de Uyuni and the whole lot round it really belongs to certainly one of its most lovely locations! The Salar de Uyuni stays one of many world’s most implausible 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
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), contemplate sticking round to take a couple of 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 is no such thing as a higher vacation spot. So strap in, buckle up, and don’t neglect to convey shades. There’s a white desert ready, made 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 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 now have saved it on ThePlanetD as it’s a vacation spot that’s value visiting.