Uyuni Salt Flats Explorer

Bolivia
Trip Length: 4 Days
Group Size: 1-4
Difficulty
From: 2,778 USD
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No trip to the high plains of South America is complete without a visit to Bolivia's awe-inspiring Uyuni Salt Flats.

The Uyuni Salt Flats of Bolivia are one of the world’s most spectacular sights - a vast plain that turns to a sheer mirror when the rain falls. Travel to Uyuni, then onwards to La Paz, Bolivia’s lively city and encounter the treasures of the Altiplano on this epic exploration into the high deserts of South America.

NOR035 _ Uyuni Bolivia

 

Highlights

Highlights

  • Explore the marvelous Uyuni Salt Flats.
  • Travel to La Paz, Bolivia’s lively city.
  • Admire beautiful Volcanoes.
  • Discover amazing geological formations.
  • Visit the colorful altiplanic lagoons.

Itinerary

Day 1: San Pedro to Ojo de Perdiz, Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve

Altiplano, Bolivia

Our 4x4 expedition starts as we drive from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile to the Bolivian border, crossing Hito Cajones. Once we have crossed the border, we will catch a glimpse of Licancabur Volcano and the Green Lagoon at its base, one of the jewels in the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve. We will continue driving and enter the Valley of the Desert Ladies and then head to the Hot Springs of Polque for a relaxing bath in the hot natural pools before going to the Sol de Mañana Geysers.

We continue driving and arrive at the Red Lagoon, another treasure of the Avaroa Reserve and famous for its different species of flamingos. The red color of the lagoon is produced by active algae reacting with the sun's radiation and wind. The pink color of the flamingos’ feet and feathers is produced by the same algae. The variety of colors in the desert is incredible - red, orange, ochre, brass, brown and beige. As we keep driving, we will see wild Vicuñaand other Altiplano wildlife. We continue to Ojo de Perdiz, where we spend the night in the heart of the Siloli desert.

Overnight at Tayka Desert Hotel, Siloli Desert, Bolivia.

Day 2: Ojo de Perdiz to San Pedro de Quemes

Altiplano, Bolivia

In the morning, we will drive to a chain of lagoons named Ramadita, Honda, Chiarkota, Hedionda, and Cañapa. There are large numbers of Andean, James and Chilean flamingos in these lagoons, in addition to other birds such as Andean seagulls and wild ducks. The lagoon is surrounded by impressive sand and rock formations that are shaped by the millenary winds, borax and sulfur minerals. We continue towards the Mirador de Ollague, where we will have lunch outdoors before heading to Pueblo Refugio (refugee village), known for its influx of people from Pueblo Quemado (burnt village) who arrived after a big fire in their village. We will spend the night at the comfortable Tayka Stone Hotel, which is made out of stone and volcanic sand.

Overnight at Tayka Stone Hotel, Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia.

Day 3: San Pedro de Quemes to Tahua

Altiplano, Bolivia

After breakfast, we will wander around the hotel grounds and Pueblo Quemado, a town which burnt down in Bolivia's war with Chile in 1879. We will also participate in the herding of llamas with Doña Marta who owns the flock. We’ll then board our 4X4 and drive an hour to the abandoned hamlet of Cuye where we have an amazing view of the Salt Flat. Afterwards, we will continue on to Incahuasi Island to admire the volcanic rock and giant cacti as we make our way up to a viewpoint of the surrounding white landscape. We will enjoy lunch here as well as an optional walk up to the panoramic viewpoint for a full 360º look at the amazing Salt Flats.

Later, we will drive to the Salar Sensual, passing through the beautiful Ch'jini where local inhabitants will walk up with us to the cathedral, or fortress ruins, on a 40 m high mound above the unknown village. The ruins are believed to date back to the period after the Tiwanacota era and the viewpoints help teach us about the civilization. We then continue on to the Ch'jini cave, with its interesting and fragile formations (allowing just 5 people per visit), before visiting the place of ancient ancestral populations on the northeastern shore of the Salt Flats. After returning to our jeep, we will continue to Coquesa and up to Thunupa where we will do a short walk up to a cave with mummies. As sunset approaches, we’ll drive towards Tahua and spend the night at the unique Tayka Salt Hotel, which offers unparalleled panoramic views of the Salar.

Overnight at Tayka Salt Hotel, Tahua, Bolivia.

Day 4: Tahua to La Paz City

Altiplano, Bolivia

After breakfast, we’ll drive past Tunupa Volcano at 5,321 m (17,457 ft) above sea level. From here we head on to Salinas de Garci Mendoza, at the foot of the volcano, where we’ll visit the local village and church representative of the colonial architecture. Continuing on to the Jayu Quta crater we will see a huge depression caused by a meteorite that fell millions of years ago. Due to its vast size and symmetry, the crater is known as Maracaná in reference to the famous football stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Our final lunch will be in Quillacas, with a memorable view of the surrounding lakes and Salt Flats. Here we drive towards the Thunupa Volcano and continue to the city of Oruro, where we will drive the final 200 km through the Altiplano to La Paz, our final destination.

Included

Included

  • Spanish speaking driver.
  • Bilingual local guide.
  • Private transportation in a 4x4 vehicle.
  • Entrance fees in the visited places.
  • 3 nights accommodation in Tayka native hotels.
  • All activities described in the program.
  • Llama herding.
  • Community night tax tourist tax.
  • Natural herbs and medication for altitude sickness.
  • High-pressure oxygen, first aid kit and satellite phone in the car.
  • Meals:
    • Day 1: Lunch and dinner.
    • Day 2: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    • Day 3:Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    • Day 4: Breakfast and lunch.

Not included

  • Domestic flight tickets.
  • Hotel night in San Pedro or La Paz City.
  • Insurance. (it is mandatory you purchase appropriate insurance for this kind of trips)
  • Voluntary tipping to guides and staff.
  • Items of personal nature.

Accommodation

1st night in hotel Tayka Desert

El Hotel del Desierto" (Spanish for Hotel of the Desert) is only 40 minutes away from the Red Lagoon (Laguna Colorada), amidst a beautiful scenery of high Andean desert landscapes. This site is accessible from Uyuni (220 km) and San Pedro de Atacama, Chile (200 km).

2nd night in hotel Tayka Stone

“El Hotel de Piedra” (Spanish for Hotel of the Rocks) is made of volcanic rock and is located on the Southern border of the Uyuni Salt Flat, only 170 km from the city of Calama, Chile. The design of the hotel is inspired by the picturesque environment on the side on which it has been built, an ancient Indian village dating back to pre-Columbian times.

3rd night in hotel Tayka Salt

As its name describes, our Hotel de Sal (Spanish for Salt Hotel) is almost entirely made of pure salt from the Uyuni Salt Flats and is located near the village of Tahua, on the foothills of Thunupa volcano, only 110 km away from the town of Uyuni. The hotel faces the Salt Flats and offers overwhelming views over the surrounding desert of 12,000 square Km.

Facts

Departures

Private departures on request.
If you are interested on a regular departure please quote with us.

Starting / finishing point

The trip starts at your hotel in San Pedro de Atacama on the date requested and finishes on the 4th day at your hotel in La Paz, Bolivia.

Physical demands

This trip does not demand physical activity other than walking normally over rather flat terrain. Nevertheless, as you will be touring in high altitudes so oxygen deprivation (altitude sickness) will affect everyone to some extent. The guide will have an oxygen tank every day at disposition if someone feels sick during the tours.

Transport

The vehicle will be a Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 with a maximum of 6 people capacity.

Weather

In the Atacama region, the weather follows a typical desert pattern of hot days and cold nights. The Atacama Desert is considered to be the driest place on earth and rain is rare most times of the year, although it should be noted that between December and March, Bolivia's wet winter weather can sometimes cause unexpected rainfall in the Atacama.

  • Spring-Summer (October to March): Daytime temperatures usually range between 20°C - 24°C (68-77 F). Nighttime temperatures will most likely range from 5°C - 0°C (41 - 32 F)
  • Autumn-Winter (April to September): Daytime temperatures range from 15°C -20°C (59-68 F). Nighttime temperatures will most likely be -10°C - 0°C (14 - 32F)

What you need to bring

**Important: We recommend to all our clients to bring their vaccination certificate for yellow fever for their trip to Bolivia.
We recommend to take with you:

  • Warm sweater.
  • Parka.
  • Wool gloves.
  • Wool socks.
  • Sun cap.
  • Wool hat.
  • Hiking boots.
  • Towel.
  • Swimsuit. (you can swim in the hot spring!!)
  • Lip balm with SPF 15 or above.
  • Sun cream with SPF 15 or above.
  • Sunglasses with UV filter, factor 4 or 5.
  • Torch.
  • Raincoat. (if coming between December and March)

Itinerary modifications

We reserve the right to change the order of the days in any itinerary under the sole discretion of the trip guide and based on operational considerations. The trip guide can also modify, change or eliminate part of the itinerary based on safety/weather considerations.

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We are a Chilean owned adventure tour operator, based in Santiago de Chile, operating adventure tours in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. Our base prices are in Chilean Pesos (CLP), but we charge prices in USD based on the exchange rate valid on the day of payment.

Destinations | Chile

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