Touring Bolivia’s Salt Flats: A Memorable Experience

Soleli Desert

Bolivia’s Soleli Desert, which you’ll cross to get to the Uyuni Salt Flats

Guest post by James Jones

I feel Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni (salt flats) deserves a little more recognition than it currently gets. After all, Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world and also the largest natural mirror on Earth. The Salar de Uyuni is easily one of the main reasons I wanted to visit Bolivia, aside of course from doing Bolivia’s infamous “Death Road”, which is probably one of the most daring things I’ve ever done on vacation.

Seeing Bolivia’s famous salt flats was my main reason to visit Bolivia for a second time. I wanted to explore the south of the country — where the salt flats are located — and also the town of Tupiza, which is a stunning place. Tupiza is located near the border with northern Argentina and reminded me a lot of Utah’s Monument Valley because of the pretty red rock canyons.

What To Expect

The Salar de Uyuni tour experience is pretty straight forward and I had the option to choose from doing a one, two or three day tour. I opted for the three-day excursion because I knew there would be tons of things to do there besides taking pictures of the salts. Experiences I had during the tour of the salt flats included taking fun pictures and photographs of the sunset, visiting the geysers, the lakes and watching the flamingos. I also got a chance to take a dip into a thermal bath, which was really relaxing and rejuvenating.

Soleli Desert 2

Salar de Uyuni

How Much Is The Tour And How To Do It

I paid $170 USD for the three-day tour, but you can expect to pay anything between $100 and $200. There are dozens of tour operators to choose from, but all pretty much have similar offerings for tours of the Salar. You can organize this tour from the town of Uyuni, Potosi and even Sucre.

Having said this, I really recommend doing the Salar tour based off the town of Uyuni or driving to Uyuni the day before the tour. The reason I say this is because the ride from either Potosi or Sucre is over six hours long, which means you’ll be tired before you even begin the excursion.

Soleli Desert 4

Soleli Desert

Accommodation And Food

As far as accommodation, there are a handful of hostels to choose in Uyuni and another handful of hostels in Potosi. I stayed at a hostel in Potosi and paid $9 a night. Wherever you stay in Potosi you shouldn’t pay more than $10 a night in any of the hostels.

Also keep in mind eating facilities in the Salar are very few and far between. I’m the type who gets hungry on tours, so I had to carry extra food bars and potato chips to keep me happy.

Uyuni Salt Flats

Uyuni Salt Flats

When To Visit

I would suggest you try to visit Bolivia’s salt flats during the dry season (May through November) to avoid the rain but do it early or late in the season. When I was looking at travel dates, I noticed prices were cheaper in late April and early October than in mid season like June/July.

There are special events taking place on July 11 and March 1-2, which is Bolivia’s famous Oruro Carnival.

I hope you enjoyed this read as much as I did experiencing it and writing it. The Salar is amazing and a once in a lifetime experience. If you plan to visit South America for the 2014 World Cup, be sure to add it to your travel plans because it’s truly worth it.


About James Jones

James Jones is a writer and an intrepid adventurer who enjoys sharing his travel experiences with everyone. His trip to Bolivia’s Salt Flats was one of his most memorable travel experiences to date. You can follow his adventures on My Travel Guide Posts.

1 Comment

  1. Great post James! We just finished our tour of the Salt Flats and it was simply incredible…one of the top experiences on our travels so far. One of the highlights for us was soaking in the hot springs at night with a cold beer and watching the stars…I have never seen such a clear sky in all my life. Glad you enjoyed your Salar de Uyuni tour also…it’s definitely a ‘must do’ if you’re traveling in South America.

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