Tours

The Bolivian salt flats have become Bolivia’s most popular attraction and a must-see for anyone traveling through South America. Their otherworldly nature and surreal beauty attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year. By far the best and most popular way to experience this incredible vista is to take a tour with a local operator. Unfortunately, like many of the popular sites in South America, there have been cases of tour operators scamming tourists who try to book a tour when they arrive to the salt flats. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you book your tour in advance through findlocaltrips.com, a safe and trustworthy website that finds and compares local tour operators.

1- Day Tour

One-day tours are a great way for those who don’t have much time to see the salt flats. Due to the time restriction, you won’t get a chance to visit the incredible surrounding attractions. However, you will be far from disappointed when you leave as these tours still give you plenty of time to soak in the magic of Salar de Uyuni and capture jaw-dropping photos that you didn’t even know were possible.

One-day tours can only be taken from Uyuni. Buses arrive here very early in the morning to allow enough time for those on board to do take the tour the day they arrive. These tours start at around 10am and finish at around 5pm, allowing enough time for those on the tour to catch an overnight bus to their next destination.

The historical and intriguing train graveyard is the first stop on the one-day tours. This is followed by Colchani, the salt production site, where you will be taught the process of producing salt and visit one of the iconic salt hotels. A trip to Isla Incahuasi follows, where you’ll be able to discover giant cacti up to 10m high, incredible rock formations made of petrified coral and a enjoy a stunning 360-degree view of the tremendous salt flats.

Lunch is also served here as groups get their props at the ready for crazy, perspective photos set on the blinding white surface of the salt flats. The tour ends in magnificent fashion as you observe the sun magically set over the flats.

One day tours include:

The train graveyard
Colchani
A salt hotel
The salt flats
Isla Incahuasi

3/4-Day Tour

The most popular and recommended way to discover Salar de Uyuni is by taking a 3 or 4 day tour in a 4x4 jeep. Three day tours depart from either Uyuni or San Pedro de Atacama and finish in Uyuni. The three day tour starting in San Pedro de Atacama and ending in Uyuni is ideal for those looking to continue traveling north after their visit to Salar de Uyuni. Alternatively, you can do the 4 day tour which starts and finishes in San Pedro de Atacama. This tour visits the same places as the 3 day tours but requires an extra night in order to make the relatively long journey back to Chile.

Day one is the same as the one day tour - departing from Uyuni at the same time and visiting the same places. Following a long day of exploring, you will spend the first night in one of the iconic salt hotels or salt hostels. These remarkable designs are made up almost entirely of salt blocks, from the bed and toilet to the walls and ceilings. Get yourself an early night sleep here as days two and three begin at the crack of dawn, with breakfast at 7am and 5am respectively. Across the next two days you will see everything that Salar de Uyuni has to offer. Of course, you will also be given plenty of time to capture an abundance of photos of one of the picturesque places on Earth The second night is spent in very basic accommodation beside the Polques hot springs, where you will find yourself blown away by the magical stars of the Salar.

The itinerary for those who start their tour in San Pedro de Atacama is reversed as they visit the desert, lagoons, hot springs etc. at the beginning of the tour and the salt flat at the end. The third night of the 4 day tour is spent in a basic hostel in Villa Mar village. You will wake up at 4.30 am to continue your journey, finally arriving back to San Pedro de Atacama at around 2pm.

3/4 days tours include:

The lagoons Polques hot springs
Arbol de Piedra
Valle de Rocas
Sol de Mañana geyser
Dali Desert
San Cristobal de Lipez
The train graveyard
Colchani
A salt hotel
Isla Incahuasi
The salt flats
Chiguana desert

Note

Isla Incahuasi can become inaccessible for much of the rainy season (January to April) because of flooding. Eduardo Avaroa National Park (red lagoon, Dali dessert, green lagoon) is also inaccessible for much of the winter season (June to August).

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