Uyuni Salt Flats in 3 days & 2 nights
Going to Bolivia and not getting to Uyuni Salt Flats ? Impossible ! This is undoubtedly one of the most incredible places in Earth ! And here is my feeling about those 3 amazing days …
There is many ways to visit the Salt Flats :
- in 1 day from Uyuni
- in 2,3 or even 4-days tour starting from Uyuni, Tupiza or San Pedro de Atacama (in Chile)
We booked our tour from San Pedro de Atacama in Travel Latina agency.
It starts during dark night at 5:30 am. A mini van picks us directly from our hotel and we go straight to Bolivian border. Our groupe was made with an Australian couple and 1 french guy. Cover up because it is really (like really) cold !
Unfortunately for us, we start our tour from an other path. There were some bad weather on previous days which cause the « classic » start border closing. We will not be able to see Laguna Colorada neither Laguna Verde … This is natural hazards !
After 2 hrs driving, we arrive at the border for breakfast. We didn’t feel it at this time but we went from 2400 m to 3500 m ! We met some groups who finishing their tour. In fact, the mini van was just the connection between San Pedro de Atacama and the border. Indeed, we will get our driver and his 4×4 from one of the finishing groups.
After this breakfast break, we leave towards Laguna Canapa. Altitude sickness directly hits us. Going from 2400 m to 4500 m is really harsh but nothing insurmontable. The view though is so breathtaking and almost made us forget the symptoms. It would have been the highest pick altitude during those 3 days.
Lunch break : we gather ourselves in some kind of refuge where our driver cooks us lunch. This wasn’t high cuisine but simply enough : rice, tuna, veggies and banana.
Then, we leave towards Laguna Hediona. Beside the dryness of Bolivian altiplano, the landscape is so amazing.
We arrive at our place for the night in a Bolivian family. It was super basic. We were in a room with only beds and electricity. The bathroom is shared. You can have a shower for 10 bolivianos. It was so cold that I didn’t dare. But it seems that the shower was hot for few minutes then get cold even icy … so don’t waste your time.
During this time, our Bolivian family kindly cooks us a basic but efficient dinner.
After breakfast, we leave for the Bolivian altiplano. Our driver gets us to see the « Copa del Mundo » in reference of his shape which make us think of the world cup, and meeting some lamas. He takes us then to see a secret laguna : the Laguna Negra.
Our accommodation for the night is the famous salt hotel. So unusual ! The room is literally made of salt (wall, floor) same for our bed. You also can have a shower for 10 bolivianos. This time, hot water is running but it is so cold that you can’t stay under shower that long.
Dinner is once again simple but efficient ! And you also get wine for this last night.
This last day is the one everyone is waiting for : Uyuni Salt Flats !!
Starting from San Pedro de Atacama, we will end the tour by this. But if you start from Uyuni, you will start with the salt flats.
After an early wake up, we will face the night and cold to the salt flats. After 1 hr driving, we will arrive at the salt flats. We head to Isla Incahuasi ou « cactus island » which is found in the middle of the salt flats. You will have to pay 30 bolivianos to enter and get to the top in order to admire the sunrise in the middle of the salt flats.
Be careful, at 3700 m above sea, any effort requires such energy. And to get to the top of the island, it will take you a lot of oxygen so pace yourself ! At some point, I decided not to get to the top. Indeed, I stopped half way and I was alone. But … I got the whole view to the horizon for myself and nobody to disturb me. The wait of the first daylight is endless and it was freezing cold ! Then, the first daylight came out right in front of me, I assure you you will forget everything ! It was just outstanding … There is no word for me to describe the emotion I felt at this precise moment but it was just magical !
So I have been able to film this amazing sunrise with no one around me. It was me and the sunrise. Whereas on top of the island, everyone fought for a spot. Beside that, up there, you can admire the other side of the island and the salt flats which unveil amazing orangey pinky colors.
Surely, the landscape in front of you is beautiful but same as the one behind you !
Once getting down the island, it is breakfast time. Then, we leave to drive the huge salt flats. Who said Uyuni Salt Flats says perspective pictures !! Our driver provides us some accessories to have some cool pictures that I never thought of. It seemed like he is used to it.
The tour ends after those beautiful and unforgettable 3 days. We will finish at the town of Uyuni. And then straight to La Paz.
I strongly recommend without a doubt this tour in the beautiful Uyuni Sal Flat ! Unless -20°C (yes during day), it is an incredible experience to live. Temperature was not an obstacle as long as you well cover up. The air is dry so the cold is not violent as it sounds. And I would do it again if I could !