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Uyuni Salt Flat - Lagoons and San Pedro de Atacama (Chile),
3 Days, 2 Nights

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  • How to get there
  • Itinerary

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Location and map

In order to take the tour, you will have to travel to Potosi department in southwest Bolivia. Uyuni Town is located in Potosi department gate of the famous Uyuni Salt Flat.

The 3 day itinerary allows Travelers to visit not only the majestic Uyuni Salt Flat but also the other important natural attractions located in the area such us: Deserts, Lagoons, Volcanoes, Geysers, Hot springs and Caverns.

The 10,582 square kilometers of white desert are visible from space and house unseen fauna and flora gems. The tour will cover approximately 600 miles by road and reach a height of almost 16,000 feet.

The tour will end in Chile in the well know town of San Pedro de Atacama.

How to get to Uyuni ?

purpleleaf How to get from La Paz to Uyuni?

purpleleaf How to get from Oruro to Uyuni?

purpleleaf How to get from Sucre to Uyuni?

purpleleaf How to get from Potosí to Uyuni?

purpleleaf How to get from Villazón to Uyuni?

purpleleaf How to get from Cochabamba to Uyuni?

purpleleaf How to get from Santa Cruz to Uyuni?

purpleleaf How to get from Chile to Uyuni?

purpleleaf How to get from Cuzco to Uyuni?

purpleleaf How to get from Argentina to Uyuni?

purpleleaf Travel tips

purpleleaf How to get from La Paz to Uyuni?

You can travel from La Paz to Uyuni by bus, by plane or by train.

La Paz to Uyuni by Bus

There are only overnight buses from La Paz to Uyuni. The travel time by bus from La Paz to Uyuni takes approximately 12 to 15 hours. We recommend you to travel using the following Bus companies:

1. Todo Turismo with daily departures at 21:00 hrs. (highly recommended). The company counts with semi bed seats buses and provides dinner and breakfast on board. The Bus features bathroom, heating and Wi Fi Internet.

2. Panasur Bus with daily departures at 19:00 hrs. The company counts with bed and semi bed seat buses. The bus features bathroom and heating.

3. Predilecto Bus with daily departures at 19:00 hrs. The company travels via the Potosí route. The trip is longer but the road is fully paved. The arrival time in Uyuni is 8:30 a.m. approx. The Predilecto Bus counts with semi bed seats, bathroom and heating. Dinner and breakfast on board are included.

4. Trans Omar. The Company features semi bed seat buses. The bus departs at 19:00 hrs.

5. Trans Illimani with daily departures. The company features bed buses with bathroom and heating. The highway from La Paz to Oruro is paved until Challapata town. From there the road is a dirt road, which means that during the rainy season the transit is difficult.

The Predilecto Bus Company and the Illimani bus company travel to Uyuni via the Potosí route, which means that the bus travels during the whole trip on a paved road. The trip to Uyuni is longer but ideal during the rainy season.

La Paz to Uyuni by train

The train to Uyuni departs only from Oruro city. If you want to take the train to Uyuni you will need to travel by bus from La Paz to Oruro. The travel time is about 4 hours on paved road.

Once in Oruro, you can take the train to Uyuni. The train company does not sell tickets online. It is possible to purchase the train tickets at the La Paz train station office.

Please schedule one full day in your itinerary for this trip.

La Paz to Uyuni by plane

Currently only Amaszonas airline offers La Paz - Uyuni - La Paz flights.

There are 4 to 6 daily departure flights from La Paz to Uyuni. The travel time is 45 minutes, the flight is directly from La Paz to Uyuni. The airline uses jets for this service. Each jet transports 41 passengers per trip.

We recommend you to take the early morning flights to Uyuni. This way you will be able to start your Uyuni Salt Flat tour the day of your arrival in Uyuni.

For the way back to La Paz there are also 4 to 6 daily flights available. We recommend you to take the last flight going back to Uyuni. The flight departs at 20:30 hrs. You can take this flight as soon as you end your tour in Uyuni. The Uyuni tours usually end by 18:00 hrs.

Because this is a domestic flight you need to be at the airport at least one hour before the departure time of your flight. The Uyuni Airport is new and it is located 10 minutes away from Uyuni town.

purpleleaf How to get from Oruro to Uyuni?

Oruro to Uyuni by train.

There are two train companies traveling from Oruro to Uyuni. For your reference the trains also travel from Oruro to Tupiza and Villazón.

Train companies Oruro - Uyuni

  1. Expreso del Sur with departures on Tuesdays and Fridays at 15:30

  2. Wara Wara del Sur with departures on Wednesdays and Sundays at 19:00

Oruro to Uyuni by bus.

We recommend you to travel from Oruro to Uyuni on board of the Trans Azul bus company. The bus features semi bed seats and has daily departures from Oruro to Uyuni at 21:00 hrs. Please take into consideration that the bus arrives in Uyuni at 4:00 a.m.

purpleleaf How to get from Sucre to Uyuni?

The travel time between Sucre and Uyuni is about 7.5 hrs. The buses leaving Sucre generally make a stop in Potosí city and later continue the trip to Uyuni. Generally the trip by bus during the day takes longer because of the waiting time in Potosí.

You can also travel from Sucre to Uyuni using a private transfer and avoid wasting your time making a stop in Potosí city.

You can travel from Sucre to Uyuni at night in a direct bus. The bus departs from Uyuni at 21:00 hrs and arrives in Sucre at 5:00 a.m. The bus features semi bed and bed seats. You can choose to travel on board of the Emperador Bus company or the Diana bus company.

purpleleaf How to get from Potosí to Uyuni?

You can travel from Potosí to Uyuni by bus or private transfer. The travel time between this two cities is about 4 hours on a well maintained paved road. Unfortunately there are no flights from Potosí to Uyuni.

The recommended bus companies are:

  1. Diana Tours with daily departures two times a day at 11:00 and at 18:30 p.m.

  2. Emperador Bus Company with daily departures twice a day at 12:00 p.m. and at 19:00 p.m.

purpleleaf How to get from Villazón to Uyuni?

Villazón to Uyuni by train

The Expreso del Sur train departs from Villazón on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 15:30 and arrives in Uyuni at 23:35

The Wara Wara train departs from Villazón on Mondays and Thursdays at 15:30 and arrives in Uyuni at 1:00 a.m.

Both train make a short stop in Tupiza.

Villazón to Uyuni by bus

The buses travel from Villazón to Uyuni via Tupiza. There are daily departure buses from Villazón to Tupiza at 4:00 and 14:00 hrs. The travel time between Villazón and Tupiza is about 3 hours.

Once in Tupiza you can take a bus to Uyuni. There are daily departure buses from Tupiza to Uyuni at 10:00 a.m. The travel time between Tupiza and Uyuni is 6 hours.

purpleleaf How to get from Cochabamba to Uyuni ?

The Trans Omar bus company is the only company that provides this service. The bus travels from Cochabamba to Uyuni every Saturday. The bus departs at 20:00 hrs. The travel time is about 12 hours.

The bus departs from Uyuni to Cochabamba every Friday at 21:00 hrs and arrives in Cochabamba by 06:30 a.m.

The bus features semi bed seats, bathroom and heating.

You can also travel from Cochabamba to Uyuni by train, taking the train in Oruro. You will need to take a bus from Cochabamba to Oruro (travel time 4.5 hrs) and take the train from Oruro to Uyuni. Please read the information on how to get from Oruro to Uyuni detailed in this article.

Unfortunately there is no direct flight from Cochabamba to Uyuni. If you want to travel by plane to Uyuni, you will need to take a flight from Cochabamba to La Paz and from there to Uyuni.

purpleleaf How to get from Santa Cruz to Uyuni?

Because of the distance between Santa Cruz and Uyuni we don't recommend travelling by land.

You can take a plane from Santa Cruz to La Paz and from there take a flight to Uyuni. Unfortunately there are not direct flights from Santa Cruz to Uyuni.

You can also travel by plane from Santa Cruz to Sucre and from Sucre you can take a bus or a private transfer to Uyuni.

We don't recommend you to travel by train from Santa Cruz to Uyuni because the travel time will be too long. You will need to take a bus or plane from Santa Cruz to Cochabamba and from there take a bus to Oruro where you can take the train to Uyuni.

For your reference the travel time from Santa Cruz to Cochabamba is about 12 hours. You will need to add another 4.5 hours to travel from Cochabamba to Oruro and other 6.5 hours to travel by train from Oruro to Uyuni.

purpleleaf How to get from Chile to Uyuni?

You can travel from Chile to Uyuni via Calama. There are buses traveling from Calama to Uyuni on specific days. The bus travels to Uyuni through the Ollague border. The road is paved in some parts and mostly unpaved on the Bolivian side.

If you are in San Pedro de Atacama wanting to get to Uyuni, we recommend you to take a tour in San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni, the most common tours are the 3 days/2 nights. There are no buses going to Uyuni from San Pedro de Atacama.

purpleleaf How to get from Cuzco to Uyuni?

You can take a flight from Cuzco to Uyuni. The flight travels via La Paz. The Amaszonas Airline offers daily departures from Cuzco to Uyuni.

You can also take a bus from Cuzco to La Paz and once in La Paz travel to Uyuni by bus, train or plane. We detailed how to get from La Paz to Uyuni in this article.

purpleleaf How to get from Argentina to Uyuni?

We recommend you to travel to San Salvador de Jujuy and from there take a bus to La Quiaca. Cross the border to Villazón and from there take a train or bus to Uyuni.

If you travel from Argentina to La Paz city, you can also take a direct flight from La Paz to Uyuni.

purpleleaf Travel tips

  • Sucre and Potosí city are beautiful colonial towns worth to visit. We recommend you to travel from La Paz or Santa Cruz to Sucre by plane. Visit Sucre and later take a taxi, a bus or a private transfer to Potosí. The travel time between Sucre and Potosí is 3.5 hours. After a visit to Casa de la Moneda, San Felipe de Neri Museum or The Cayara Hacienda in Potosí, you can take a bus to Uyuni. The travel time between Potosí and Uyuni is 4 hours.

  • There are no flights from Sucre to Uyuni and from Potosí to Uyuni.

  • If you decide to travel by bus in Bolivia we recommend you never accept any beverage, meal or candy from strangers.

  • We recommend you to travel with a small blanket in the buses as sometimes the heating in the buses is not working properly.

  • If you arrive early in the morning in Uyuni, don't worry about your safety. Uyuni is a pretty small and safe town.

Private transfer routes in Bolivia

Uyuni Salt Flat - Lagoons and San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Uyuni
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Tour Itinerary:

187 $US.- with English speaking tour guide

155 $us.- without English speaking tour guide

Day 1

  • The tour starts by picking you up from your Hotel in Uyuni Town, Uyuni Bus Station or Uyuni Airport. If you arrive early in the morning by bus or by plane, we can pick you up from the Uyuni Airport or the bus company office that will transport you to Uyuni. We will take you then to our office in Uyuni where you can leave your luggage and have some free time before starting your tour.

  • For passengers requesting the English speaking tour guide service, we will provide 1 English speaking tour guide for 11 tourists. The english speaking tour guide will guide 2 vehicles.

  • The Shared tour begins at 10:30 a.m. The first stop of the tour is the Train Cemetery, located about 3 kms. from the town of Uyuni. These trains were purchased during the administration of President Aniceto Arce, a great visionary of the mining industry. Unfortunately the exportation of minerals from Bolivia to Europe failed due to the resistance of the natives who did not want their lands invaded.

  • After a brief visit to the abandoned locomotives, we will take you to the village of Colchani, at the entrance of the Uyuni Salt Flat. Here you can buy some handicrafts made from salt and observe the manual processing of the salt extracted from the salt flat.

  • Continuing the journey we will show you the "ojos del salar" (eyes of the salt flat), small openings where the water flowing beneath the salt is revealed. This water has some healing properties due to its high mineral content. We will extract some salt crystals formed inside these eyes.

  • On our way to the Incahuasi Island we will make a short stop at the former Salt Hotel Playa Blanca, now converted into a cafe. This Hotel has been closed by the authorities due to the environmental impact it had inside the salt flat. Here you will have some free time to take spectacular photos of the salt flat. Close to the former Salt Hotel is a small mound with many flags from all over the world. These flags have been left by travelers passing by the Majestic Uyuni Salt Flat.

  • Lunch. The lunch includes a main course, dessert and drinks (sodas, water). Vegetarian menu is available at no extra charge.

  • After lunch we will visit the Incahuasi Island, home to hundreds of giant cacti gracing the landscape. The island is in the middle of the salt flat, visiting it means little physical effort. From the peak of the Incahuasi Island there are outstanding views of the Uyuni Salt Flat and the Tunupa Volcano.

  • There will be some extra time here for resting and taking even more pictures.

  • Something really special during the first day of the tour is that we will wait for the sunset inside the Uyuni Salt Flat.

  • At the end of the journey we will transport you to the Kachihuasi Hostel (Casa de Sal) located on the southern shore of the Uyuni Salt Flat, 20 minutes away from Atullcha village. Accommodation provided: double, triple or quadruple rooms with private toilets. Hot water showers are available outside of the guestrooms, extra charge for use:10 Bs.- = 1.4 $us.-. Heating is not available.

  • Dinner will be served at Kachiwasi Hostel. Beverages during dinner included.

  • During the rainy season the access to Hotel Kachiwasi is difficult and therefore the Hotel is closed. Travelers will spend the night on the northern shores of the Uyuni Salt Flat in Hostels that feature shared rooms and shared bathrooms. Facilities at these Hostels are basic.

Day 2

  • The second day of the tour will start after breakfast.

  • The expedition will take you to Chiguana Salt Flat, a deserted spot with smaller salt concentration. From here, you will take a scenic drive through a countryside that features stunning deserts and breathtaking lagoons.

  • You will make a short trek to the Ollague Volcano viewpoint with marvelous panoramic views of the Ollague Volcano and other high mountains. (This tourist spot cannot be visited during the rainy season.)

  • Lunch. The lunch includes a main course, dessert and drinks (sodas, water). Vegetarian menu is available at no extra charge.

  • After lunch we will take you to visit the minor Lagoons Cañapa, Hedionda and Honda. All of them feature pink flamingo populations that share the space with other Andean birds.

  • Traveling south we will find the Siloli desert located at 4550 m.a.s.l. (highest and driest in the world) where the Stone tree / Arbol de Piedra is located. This rock is unique because it resembles a tree.

  • Before ending this day we will pass through the viscachas canyon where you will have a wonderful time watching these cute animals. The viscachas that live in this canyon love the tourist and are always in good mood for pictures.

  • Dinner and accomodation at Huayllajara camp. The shelter features shared rooms and a shared bathroom for all guests at the camp. A hot water shower is located outside the guestrooms at 15 Bs.- = 2 $us.- extra charge. Facilities are very basic, hot water and heating are not available due to the remoteness of the area. Huayllajara camp is located 15 minutes away from Colorada Lagoon/ Red Lagoon, inside the Eduardo Avaroa National Park.

  • The 6 travelers that are sharing the tour will share a guestroom at Huayllajara camp.

Day 3

  • The tour will start at 04:30 a.m. after breakfast.

  • We will transport you to visit the Colorada Lagoon. This stunning Lagoon contains borax islands, whose white color contrasts with the reddish color of its waters, which is caused by red sediments and pigmentation of some algae. James's pink flamingos abound in the area. Also it is possible to find Andean and Chilean flamingos, but in a smaller quantity.

  • We will continue our trip taking you to Sol de Mañana, a volcanic zone where you can see geysers. This endless supply of water is spitted out of the ground at a temperature of 90 C, through fumaroles and cracks through which sometimes even volcanic lava erupts. It is recommended for everyone's personal safety to observe this from a distance, mostly because of the sensitivity and lack of stability of the ground.

  • Continuing with our trip you will spend some time in the Polques hot springs where you can take a relaxing bath in a small pool of natural thermal water.

  • The next stop in our trip is the Salvador Dali desert, the Laguna Verde / Green Lagoon located at the feet of the Licancabur Volcano (5,868 m.a.s.l.).The intensity of the green color of this Lagoon depends on the wind in the area. If there is no wind, then you will enjoy a clear reflection of the Licancabur Volcano in the Lagoon. The Licancabur Volcano is the landmark that indicates the border line between Chile and Bolivia.

  • 9:30 a.m. We will transport you to Hito Cajones (Bolivian / Chilean border) where you will go to the Bolivian Migration office and later will board a Shared tourist bus that will transport you to San Pedro de Atacama.

  • The shared bus ticket from Hito Cajones to San Pedro de Atacama is included in the tour package.

  • Hito Cajones

    Atacam shared transport

  • The shared tourist bus will drop you in a central street in the San Pedro de Atacama town. The arrival time is 13:00 hrs. approx.

END OF OUR SERVICES

The tour includes:

  • Pick up from your Hotel in Uyuni town, Uyuni Bus Station or Uyuni Airport - Joya Andina
  • Shared Transportation Uyuni - Hito Cajones: 4x4 vehicle assigned for 6 tourist and one driver.
  • Shared Tourist Bus from Hito Cajones to San Pedro de Atacama
  • Meals: Day 1: Lunch and Dinner. Day 2: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Day 3: Breakfast. Beverages during meals included.
  • Accommodation
    • First Night at Kachiwasi Hostal : Double, triple or quadruple rooms with private bathroom, hot water showers available outside the room at 1.4 $us.- = 10 Bs.- extra charge, heating not available
    • Second night at Huayllajara Shelter: Shared room for 6 people (6 single beds). The shelter features basic facilities, shared bathroom, no hot water/ shower/ heating. Huayllajara is located in an isolated spot 15 minutes away from Colorada Lagoon. Hot water showers available outside the room at 2 $us.- = 15 Bs.- extra charge
  • Experienced Spanish speaking driver. If an English speaking guide will be needed please request him with anticipation at extra charge per day.

Services not included in the rate:

  • Entrance tickets to:
    • Incahuasi Island 30 Bs.- = 4 usd /person

    • Eduardo Avaroa Reserve 150 Bs.- = 22 usd per person. (Carry Bolivianos currency to purchase the Entrance tickets. Paying with US Dollars or other currencies is not permitted.
  • English speaking tour guide
  • Lunch during the 3rd day of the Shared tour.
  • Additional beverages
  • Tips

Additional Information:

  • The Uyuni Salt Flat & Lagoons - San Pedro de Atacama Tour is a standard 3 days - 2 nights Shared Tour. This is a budget friendly tour ideal for tourists traveling alone or in small groups. The tour operator makes proper arrangements to complete the group for 6 travelers and guarantee the departure of the tour for tourists that booked the services in advance.

  • The tour runs daily from Monday to Sunday and has been designed for 6 passengers and a driver. Travelers will share transportation and accommodation.

  • The accommodation provided during the shared tour is basic. The first night in double, triple or quadruple rooms with private bathroom while the second night will be spent in a Shelter that features basic and shared facilities.

  • The 4x4 vehicle is assigned for 6 passengers plus a Spanish speaking Driver that will take the group from one site to another providing a brief explanation of the places visited.

  • The 4x4 vehicle will transport the tourist from Uyuni till Hito Cajones (Bolivian - Chilean border) where the driver will handle them their luggage. The tourist will go to the Bolivian Migration office and later they will board a Shared tourist bus that will transport them to San Pedro de Atacama.

  • Meals during the shared tour are served with a variety of vegetables and a fruit. There is a special menu for vegetarians at no extra charge.

  • Please dress appropriately: comfortable walking shoes, sunglasses and hats are recommended. Sunblock is a must. Do not forget your swimming suits to enjoy the thermal waters.

  • During winter carry gloves, scarf and warm clothes. (May, June, July and August)

  • The company rents sleeping bags during the route at extra charge. You can request the sleeping bags and pay for them directly in the Uyuni office.

  • This tour does not include travel insurance. If you want to purchase it please contact us.

  • If an English speaking guide will be included in the service he/she will use an extra seat in the vehicle. The English speaking tour guide will travel with a group of 11 tourist. Which meals that he will guide 2 vehicles during the trip

  • Find below a picture that shows you how the seats will be distributed during the tour. The passengers traveling in the vehicle third line will have less space for the feet, that's why generally the group members of the tour rotate the seats during the 3 days of the trip.

Seat distribution

IMPORTANT

  • We are a serious Tour provider of tours around the Uyuni area. We make sure that our clients will take a tour with responsible drivers and tour guides. Our drivers NEVER drink alcohol during the tour.
  • The Uyuni area is very remote and road conditions are bad. This may cause vehicles to be damaged. Please be patient if a wheel needs to be changed, the drivers are experienced and will get the job done quickly.
  • It is important that you get a medical health check in your country before taking this tour. The tour reaches high altitudes that might affect your blood pressure. Even though there is a first-aid kit in the car, we recommend you take with you basic medications for headaches or stomach problems.
  • Please note that the tour will take you to remote areas where emergency medical help may not be available. The nearest health center is in the town of Uyuni. There are no health services inside the Eduardo Avaroa National Park.
  • Due to weather or road conditions the itinerary might vary without notice to ensure traveler safety. Please take the previous detailed itinerary only as a reference.
  • We aim to notify customers about major changes in the itinerary during the rainy season, but sometimes the weather changes dramatically and we are not able to inform them with (lots of) anticipation.
  • During winter there may be some snow, obliging us to change the route to ensure the safety of our clients.

We can also arrange for you:

 

The Uyuni Salt Flat - Lagoons and San Pedro de Atacama Tour is a standard 3 days - 2 nights Shared Tour. This tour allows travelers to end their journey in San Pedro de Atacama town and from there continue their trip to other places in South America.

The tour runs daily from Monday to Sunday and has been designed for 6 passengers. Travelers will share transportation and accommodation. The third day of the tour travelers will reach the Bolivian / Chilean border to take a Shared Tourist Bus that will transfer them to San Pedro de Atacama.

The Itinerary covers a visit to the Magnificent Uyuni Salt Flat and the most important natural spots of the area such us: Incahuasi Island, Colorada Lagoon (Red Lagoon), Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon), Licancabur Volcano, Laguna Blanca (White Lagoon), Polques Hot springs and much more.

The Shared Tour offers accommodation in double and triple rooms with private bathroom for the first night, while the second night will be spent in a Shelter that features basic and shared facilities.

This is an ideal budget friendly tour for tourists traveling alone. The tour operator makes proper arrangements to complete the group for 6 travelers.