The Lesser-Known Sites Of Salar de Uyuni In Bolivia

While many people know of the famous Salar de Uyuni 3-day 4×4 tour to see the salt flats in Uyuni, Bolivia, the other amazing sites of the journey often get overlooked. After experiencing the tour for myself, I feel these other natural wonders and rare landscapes are deserving of attention, as well.

I booked my tour with Cordillera Traveller, a higher-rated tour operator. Like all Salar de Uyuni tours, however, you should be prepared for extreme cold, high altitiude, guides who only speak Spanish, very basic accommodations, spotty electricity and plumbing and simple meals. You’re making your way across the Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa and the Siloli Desert, so you’re really in the middle of nowhere. While you’ll have to rough it, the spectacular sites are worth the small amounts of discomfort.

The journey encompasses many rare attactions. There are the numerous colorful lagoons, my favorite being Laguna Colorada, a hot pink lagoon due to the pink algae in the water. It is filled with flamingos, hot springs and spots of blue, yellow and white. There were also a mixture nonactive and active volcanoes, Sol de Manana, an enormous geyser, Rocas de Salvadore Dali, named after the area’s resemblance to the artist’s paintings, Arbol de Piedra, an unworldly rock tree, the Train Cemetery, filled with antique trains once used to transport minerals, and Valles de las Rocas, an immense rock valley of odd stone formations. For some luxury, we also visited Polques, a hot spring that we were able to go into. My advice is, no matter how freezing you are and how much you can’t bear the thought of stripping down into a bathing suit, go in the hot spring, as it warms the inside of your body. As the group visited each site, it was hard for me to understand how this part of the tour often goes unmentioned. And once the tour was complete, I felt extremely lucky that I had gotten such a unique opportunity.

For a visual idea of the experience, check out the gallery below.

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jess2716

Jessica Festa is the editor of Jessie on a Journey as well as Epicure & Culture. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and living with a family in Ghana.

2 Comments

  1. How great was Polques! So glad I braved the cold to have a soak. On our tour we got really lucky and were the only group to arrive at the hot-springs during the evening. This meant we were able to enjoy the thermal baths with a couple of beers while gazing at the clearest night sky I’ve ever seen, not to mention a lovely sleep in the next morning! An experience I’ll never forget. Amazing photos btw :)
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    1. @Brigid: With beers?! WHAT? Jealous. Ours was much quicker. I think we were there for maybe 20 minutes max ha. Was still awesome, but would have been great to enjoy what you’re describing. What tour company did you go with?

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