One of the main things you should do before taking on travel in any region is get advice from people who have been there. For me, everyone who had traveled through South America said the Bolivian Salt Flats were one of their highlights. They were spot on. I’m not sure anything can compare.
The towns either side, Uyuni and San Pedro, seem only to be geared for tourists and survive solely because of them. You can obviously enter from other towns but these are your main two.
Whichever side you start off in, you will go through the torture yet again of finding a company to take you on the journey through the desert. Don’t worry they are all pretty much the same but if you can go with Skyline Traveller or Red Planet, you’ll pay the same price and have a safe driver. Expect to pay 700 bolivianos for a three day tour.
It’s an eerie feeling standing on a bed of salt that stretches as far as you can see. It’s completely quiet and stunningly beautiful. I feel so privileged to have had the chance to experience it. The fact I was with two amazing friends, Harry and Rosa, while managing to pick up a third with Marie, which just made it even better. You’ll have loads of fun with the photos and I even managed to get some night photography practice. It did just end up in all of us messing about but oh well the photos looked cool anyway.
The next two days (if you’re travelling down from Uyuni) are a lot of desert driving with Mars-like scenery. Mixed with dominating landscapes, flamingos and lagunas. All the while you are being moved on to the next country. Bolivia, if you’re going up and Chile, if you’re coming down.
Check it out, tick it off, you won’t regret it.
For each post from now on, I will be including a top tips section at the end. Hopefully this will help you speed up your travel planning so you can just get on and enjoy the experience.
Thanks for reading!
- Take snacks, they are always handy when you’re in and out of the car.
- Hostel Oro Blanco does a good breakfast for South American standards, fresh juice, eggs, fruit, coffee, head there.
- Book a hostel in advance if you’re staying, they book out pretty quickly and you’ll be stranded. They are pretty pricey so try not to stay more than one night or none at all!
- Tours leave between 10-11am so you can still find a tour and leave that morning if you are on a time limit.
- Don’t go in a car with seven people, it’s likely you’ll break down and you are so cramped in there for 3 days.
- The tours say they are three days but really they are two and a half if you’re going to Chile. The last day if you’re returning to Uyuni is just 10 hours of driving back to the town.
- There are no direct buses from Salta to Uyuni but there are frequent buses from Potosi so you can just switch there.
- San Pedro in Chile is very expensive! Be prepared and try and get some Chilean Pesos before you get there.
- The ATMs in San Pedro are useless. They run out of money frequently so again get some Pesos before you leave Uyuni.