Salar de Uyuni - Train Cemetery - Colchani - Ojos del Salar - Salt Statue of the Dakar Rally - Fromer Salt Hotel Playa Blanca - Incahuasi Island - Sunset inside the Salar de Uyuni
We will start our journey traveling 3 Kilometers away from Uyuni where we will find the Train Cemetery, a place that shelters dozens of old locomotives and wagons from the year 1890.
The remains of the trains take us on an imaginary journey to a time of flourishing progress, today transformed into a rustic deserted courtyard ideal for the romantic traveler who likes to photograph traces of a not so distant past.
We will then travel to the town of Colchani, a small town of salt producers located 20 km from Uyuni. In Colchani you will visit a traditional salt factory, where you can observe the way in which the salt extracted from the Salar is packed. They will have a little free time to buy salt crafts.
Next, we will enter the wonderful Salar de Uyuni. At the entrance of the Salar you will find the Eyes of the Salar which are small streams of water that flow from the interior of the earth under the salt. It is said that this water has healing properties due to its saline and acidic concentrations.
In the dry season, the surface of the Salar de Uyuni is covered by near geometric shapes formed by the salt particles agglomerated in polygons. In the rainy season (December, January, February and part of March) the Salar is covered with water and resembles a giant mirror.
During our journey we will observe the Statue of Salt erected to mark the passing of the Dakar Rally in Bolivia. Then we will walk to the old Hotel de Sal Playa Blanca. Next to the Hotel there is a small mound with several flags from around the world. These symbolic flags have been left by travelers visiting the Salar de Uyuni. We invite you to carry a flag of your country and leave it at this significant point.
We will have lunch enjoying the beautiful landscape inside the Salar.
We will continue our trip traveling to Incahuasi Island, home of millenary giant cacti (Echinopsis atacamensis) up to 10 meters high. The Incahuasi Island is a genuine spectacle of life inside the salt desert.
We will climb the island until we reach the viewpoint, from which we will have a 360 degree perspective of the Salar de Uyuni and a privileged view of the Tunupa Volcano.
Our expedition would not be complete without witnessing a wonderful sunset inside the Salar de Uyuni.
Lodging in a Hotel de Sal. The Salt Hotels offer rooms with private bathroom, hot water, heating and WiFi Internet. Depending on availability, we will include lodging at Luna Salada Hotel, Hotel Palacio de Sal or at the Hotel de Sal Tayka.
Salar de Chiguana - Observation of the Ollague Volcano - Laguna Cañapa - Laguna Honda - Hedionda Lagoon - Vizcachas Canyon
The second day of our expedition will take us to the southern part of the Uyuni region. This region offers visitors wonderful landscapes decorated by volcanoes, lagoons and Andean fauna.
During our tour we will cross the Salar de Chiguana, which has a lower salt concentration.
On the way we will see varied rock formations and the Ollague semi-active volcano (5870 m.s.) located on the border of Bolivia and Chile.
We will have lunch in the middle of nature.
We will enjoy the beauty of the Cañapa Lagoons, Chiarkota Lagoon, Laguna Honda / Corazon (4,114 m.) and Laguna Hedionda (4,532 m). The lagoons are surrounded by mountains and during the winter you can see the snowy peaks. This area is ideal for lovers of nature and photography. It is impossible to take a bad picture of these landscapes, they are all worthy of a postcard.
We will cross the Cañon de las vizcachas, where we will observe this adorable rodent, a close relative of the Chinchillas in its natural habitat.
We will finish the day at the Hotel del Desierto Tayka, located at the door of the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve in the middle of the freezing desert of the High Andes.
The Hotel has rooms with private bathrooms, hot water and heating until 21:30 hrs. The hotel has oxygen cylinders at the reception, if required.
Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve: Siloli Desert - Stone Tree - Laguna Colorada - Geothermal Field, Sol de Mañana geysers - Polques thermal springs (Chalviri Lagoon) - Dalí Desert - Green Lagoon with views of the Licancabur Volcano - Hito Cajones Border - San Pedro de Atacama
We will start the expedition at 06:00 a.m.
We will enter the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve. The reserve has an area of 714,745 hectares and reaches an altitude of 4000 to 6000 masl. It has an exceptional scenic beauty, so it is one of the most important tourist attrations Bolivia.
Inside the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve strange landscapes of basaltic rock formations shaped by the wind, gigantic volcanoes, hot springs and fumaroles can be seen.
The most important basalt rock formation is undoubtedly the Stone Tree, where we will make our first stop and then move to the Laguna Colorada, favorite nesting place for flamingos. We will observe three species of flamingos: Chilean, James and Andean.
We will go to the Sol de Mañana fumaroles and geysers located at 4850 meters above sea level. We will see lava boiling intensely; the fumaroles and geysers emit mixed vapors of water and hot steam that reach heights of 10 to 50 meters, product of the pressure with which they are emitted; these phenomena allow us to appreciate a landscape that seems to date back to the age of the formation of the Earth.
We will rest at the hot springs of Polques where you can take a relaxing bath. There is a small pool and changing rooms in the place. The recommended time to stay in the pool is 20 minutes. The thermal waters are at 4500 m.s.m.
We will have lunch in a dining room located in front of the thermal water pool.
Our adventure will continue by crossing the Salvador Dali Desert itself. The trip will lead us to the inactive volcanoes Licancabur and Juriques which are part of the volcanic mountain range of the Andes, in the Southwest of Bolivia. Both are the border with Chile, at the foot of both volcanoes lies the Laguna Verde.
The intensity of the green color of the water in the lagoon depends on the wind in the area. In case there is no wind in the area you can see the reflection of the Licancabur Volcano in the crystal clear waters of the lagoon.
14:00 We will travel to the Hito Cajones border. You will go through the migratory procedures in the bolivian migration office. Your driver will drive you to the Chilean vehicle that will transport you to San Pedro de Atacama.
For your reference, the Chilean Migration Office is located a few kilometers from the Hito Cajones border. You will get a stamp in your passport and then travel to the town of San Pedro de Atacama. Our Chilean driver will drop you off at your hotel.
The tour includes:
- Pick up from your Hotel in Uyuni, Uyuni Bus Station or Uyuni Airport
- Private Transportation Uyuni - Hito Cajones border: 4x4 vehicle only for those who request the tour.
- Private transportation Hito Cajones border - San Pedro de Atacama. We will make the transfer in a Chilean vehicle.
- Food: Day 1: Lunch. Day 2: Breakfast and Lunch. Day 3: Breakfast and Lunch. Drinks during lunch included.
- Lodging: Day 1: Hotel Luna Salada, Hotel Palacio de Sal, Hotel de Sal Tayka (depending on the availability of the Hotel). Day 2: Hotel del Desierto Tayka or Hotel Mallku Cueva. (depending on the availability of the Hotel).
- Experienced driver. The driver speaks only Spanish.
The rate does not include:
- Entries to:
- Incahuasi Island: 30 Bs.- per person = 5 $ us.- per person.
- Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve 150 Bs. - = 22 usd per person. Bring currency in Bolivianos to pay entrance tickets. It is not allowed to pay with dollars or another currency.
- Tourist guide in English
- Dinners at selected hotels.
- We are a serious provider of tourist services in the Uyuni area. We make sure that our clients take the tour with responsible drivers and qualified tour guides.
- The Uyuni area is quite hilly so sometimes the vehicles suffer damage. We recommend that passengers have a little patience in case it is necessary to change the vehicle's wheel, our drivers have experience and skill when performing the maneuver.
- It is important to do a medical checkup in your country of origin before taking this tour. The route reaches high altitudes that can affect your blood pressure. Although we carry a first aid kit in the vehicle, we recommend carrying basic medicines in case of stomach pain or headache.
- Keep in mind that because the tour is done in inhospitable places it is very difficult for an ambulance to arrive quickly. The nearest health center is located in the city of Uyuni located 35 minutes from the Salar de Uyuni.
- Due to the climatic conditions the itinerary can vary without previous warning, this always keeping in mind the safety of our clients. Please take the detailed itinerary as reference only.
- Please note that we usually inform our clients in advance about the main changes in the itinerary especially during the rainy season and during the winter when ther is snow or hail in Uyuni.
- This is a Private Tour which implies that passengers will NOT share the 4x4 vehicle with other tourists.
- Meals are served with a variety of vegetables and dessert such as a fruit. We have a special menu for vegetarians at no additional cost. Drinks during lunch are included in the rate.
- The service does not include tips or additional drinks
- It is recommended to wear comfortable walking shoes and hats. The use of sunscreen and sunglasses is COMPULSORY.
- During the winter it is essential to wear gloves, a scarf and warm clothes. (May, June, July and August)
- We recommend carrying a waterproof bag during the rainy months (December - March)
- The entry of dairy products and fruits into Chilean territory is prohibited. Please do not carry these products in order to avoid fines.
Sites of interest visited during the tour
- Majestic Private Salar de Uyuni Tour
- Private Tour Salar de Uyuni and Lagunas de Colores
- Private transportation Sucre, Potosí, Tupiza, Calama, Oruro, San Pedro de Atacama, La Paz.
- Bus Tickets: La Paz - Uyuni - La Paz
- Hotel Reservation
- Direct flight La Paz - Uyuni - La Paz
- Flight with stopovers Santa Cruz - Uyuni - Santa Cruz
Location and Map
In order to take the tour, you will have to travel to Potosí department in southwest Bolivia. Uyuni Town is located in Potosí department and it is the 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 start in Uyuni and will end in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
How to get to Uyuni ?
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:
Trans Titicaca Bolivia Bus with daily departures at 22:00, highly recommended.
Titicaca Bolivia Bus operates the route between La Paz and Uyuni with MarcoPOLO G7 Buses. The bus features:
- 3 line bed seats – full reclinable sofa bed seat
- WiFi Internet
- 220 V Charging points of board
- Reading light available for each seat
- Heating and Air Conditioning
- 1 pillow and 1 blanket
- 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.
- 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.
- Trans Omar. The Company features semi bed seat buses. The bus departs at 19:00 hrs.
- 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.
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.
You need to schedule one full day in your itinerary for this trip.
La Paz to Uyuni by plane
Currently only Amaszonas and BoA airlines offer La Paz - Uyuni - La Paz flights.
There are 4 to 6 daily departure flights from La Paz to Uyuni. The travel time is 45-60 minutes, the flight is directly from La Paz to Uyuni. Amaszonas 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 by car from Uyuni town.
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
Expreso del Sur with departures on Tuesdays and Fridays at 15:30
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.
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.
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:
Diana Tours with daily departures two times a day at 11:00 and at 18:30 p.m.
Emperador Bus Company with daily departures twice a day at 12:00 p.m. and at 19:00 p.m.
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.
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.
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 no 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.
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 via the Ollague border crossing. 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 from 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.
How to get from Cuzco to Uyuni?
You can take a flight from Cuzco to Uyuni via La Paz.
You can also take a bus from Cuzco to La Paz and once in La Paz travel to Uyuni by bus, train or plane.
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.
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 small and safe town.