One of the things we wouldn’t want to miss in South America was visiting the world’s largest salt flat; Salar de Uyuni/Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia and our experiences were epic and incredible!
Alex and I took a 3-day tour from San Pedro de Atacama in Northern Chile to Uyuni in Bolivia. We went searching for tour by ourselves in the day we arrived in San Pedro de Atacama, there were many agencies available, the itinerary and the price weren’t so different in standard. Tour agency from San Pedro will send you to the border and then forward you to Bolivian tour agency anyway! It’s a legal. We just picked one we felt right!
- The Uyuni tour from San Pedro price range form $99,000 – $150,000 CLP including accommodations and food! ($150 – $250 USD)
- Preparing 250 Bolivianos/person in extra for National Reserve entrance, Incahuasi Island entrance, hot shower, some more bottles of water and toilet fee
We stayed 2 nights in San Pedro: 1st day we went exploring Valle de la Luna or Moon Valley, really spectacular landscapes, felt a lot like already somewhere on the moon and then continued to witness the best sunset in San Pedro, 2nd day in early morning, we visited the Tatio Geysers, the third largest in the world, it was one of the most breathtaking sunset I’ve ever seen so far. Also, it was high and cold, about 4,300+ m above sea level and -10 °C! So wear something warm, get some good night sleep before you go, drink more water (water, not alcohol) and take it easy!
3-Day Uyuni Salt Flat & Desert Adventure
Day 1: We left San Pedro the following day in the morning by a minibus to the border of Bolivia, through the immigration of Chile and Bolivia. Our group was 12 people together. At the Bolivian border, the vehicle was changed to a 4×4, 4 people per car.
We got an incredibly funny and kind Bolivian driver (and also being our guide the entire tour), his name is Roberto from Licancabur Tours (The office is located in Uyuni, Bolivia). He didn’t speak much English and all of us also speak a little bit Spanish but everything went great.
It was one of the best and the worst days of my traveling life!
The worst? I got the worst Altitude Sickness in my life! We went up from 2,500 m to some 5,000 m in 2-3 hours and hanged around at 4,000+ the entire day, and I was drawn! I got the worst headache I’ve ever experience, I was trying to control it the entire day and at the end of the day, the mountains had won. I couldn’t open my eyes and couldn’t walk. I decided to take a pain killer and it was getting better after 30 minutes, should I take it since the day already?
After I got better, then I tried to eat something, it will be worse if you got a mountain sickness and also don’ eat anything, better give yourself some energy! Alex was better than me, only felt a little bit like hangover and many people felt in a similar way to me.
Remember, when I was telling about altitudes gain shouldn’t be over than 500 m in every other day to let your body adjust to high altitudes. Keep in mind, it’s way too high elevation gain from San Pedro to Uyuni! I believe it’s better way to come from Peru side, which means, altitude gaining is slightly up and that your body will be more delightful!
The best… Even though, Altitude Sickness was trying to attack me badly, everything around wasn’t less incredibly impressive at all. We visited Sol de Mañana Geysers, Salvador Dalí Desert, the Polques Hot Springs (time for hot bath), beautiful white and green lagoon, also the red one called Laguna Colorada was the most impressive, it is home to more than 30,000 flamingos and they’re super cute, we’re so in love with them.
We shared a dorm with our group the 1st night, it was without shower and who cares? Anyway, I didn’t get any chance to sweat and it was very cold, brrrr!
Day 2: Woke up fresh, no more headache and it gonna be the best day of my life, woo hoo!
I mean I was so happy to wake up another day at that moment. Confession, I was actually scared because mountain sickness could cause the real worst. At that moment, I hadn’t seen Machu Picchu yet and it’s a lot more to do and see, give me more times pleaseee!
After breakfast, very delicious Bolivian pancake, umm, then we went to observe the Stone Tree and a rock of volcanic, some more lakes, black lagoon was the most impressive with beautiful view and reflection, and lovely animals such as Llama, local birds and ducks. It was an easy day.
We arrived in the salt hotel in San Juan del Rosario village at sunset time, beautiful evening!
We got a twin room with salt bed and a hot shower, that was soooo good already after all the battling!
We spent a nice evening with local Bolivian food and wine, wine wasn’t intense so don’t worry we all were fine!
Day 3: Incredible fun day in Uyuni Salt Flat
Woke up in early morning and left hotel at 5 am for Isla Incahuasi/Incahuasi Island/ gigantic cactus Island sunrise trekking in the middle of Uyuni Salt Flat. The place is the top of the remains of an ancient volcano, which was submerged when the area was part of a giant prehistoric lake, roughly 40,000 years ago.
After sunrise, we had a lovely and delicious breakfast (Our driver who was being our guide was also being our number one chef!)
Salar de Uyuni/Uyuni Salt Flat is the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 square km and is at an elevation of 3,656 m above sea level. The Salar is covered by a few meters of salt crust, which has an extraordinary flatness with the average elevation variations within 1 m over the entire area of the Salar. Huge area and clear skies, still high but I already adapted, so everything went great.
Our guide, Roberto, he’s also one of the best Uyuni Salt Flat Instagram photo designer, it was very fun having him with us!
Uyuni Salt Flat is very dry with extremely strong sun, don’ forget to put on sunscreen otherwise your face will get cracked badly like my face was! I was suffering from it for a week but it worth it, right? But better look after yourself!
After spent half day running around here and there in Uyuni Salt Flat, we continued to Colchani village market for some Bolivian souvenirs and tasty fried Llama meat, Museum of Salt and the Train Cemetery. Then arrived in Uyuni town at lunch.
It was an epic experience of traveling we will never forget. Thank you so much to Roberto who take care of us and being a great entertainer the entire time. Thanks a lot to fellow travellers who had been adventuring together for 3 days, it was very nice spending time and having fun together. The world offered so many incredible people and things to do and see. I’m in love more and more with traveling!