Bolivia: The Magic of Uyuni’s Salt Flat
*Prices are based on a 1 or 2 passengers scenario ( private experience )
*Prices are not valid during Blackout dates: Christmas, New Year, Carnaval (4 & 5 March), Copa America, Rock in Rio, Easter, Worker ́s day (1st of May), Holidays, Long Weekends.
6 days wandering around Uyuni, a natural wonder of the world
Visiting 1 country: Bolivia
The city of Uyuni is the gateway to the spectacular Salt Flats, to the lagoons and volcanoes of the Altiplano. The biggest attraction is the Salar de Uyuni, the largest in the world. Uyuni’s Salt Flat is the largest salt desert in the world, with an area of 12 thousand square kilometers, 10 thousand tons of salt, and over one hundred tons of lithium. In the Salar there are also giant cactus more than ten meters high, a colony of flamingos in November, and Puya Raimondi, a flower relative of pineapple that blooms every hundred years.
Day 01: Salar De Uyuni – Ajencha
After your arrival at Salar De Uyuni we’ll be waiting there ready to extend a warm greeting and get you transferred rapidly and safely to Ajencha. Once we arrive, there’s plenty of time for breakfast and some coffee, but be on your toes, as the tour kicks off at approximately 11:00 a.m.
Now the real adventure begins. Our first port of call is to whisk you away to an eerie yet intriguing train cemetery to visit decommissioned locomotives, where you can get up close with these fascinating engines and get a sense of the journeys they made and the value they created.
From there we hop across to Colchani, a town that was a hub of mining for the Uyuni region, giving you an opportunity to dig (no pun intended) into the local history.
The Salt Flat
Next up we travel to a most wondrous sight, so get your cameras and be ready to take in the glorious vistas of the Uyuni Salt Flat. A seemingly endless horizon of salt laden plains will stir your soul. Once we can peel you away from such a monumental stage, we head over to the “Salt Hotel-Museum”, a unique building where you can learn more about the importance the salt plains bring to the local area.
We head on towards the centre of the Salt Flat, Incahuasi Island. En route we admire the tiny salt eruptions, ojos de agua (eyes of water), across the plains which are crucial to the reach and development of this huge natural reserve. If you travel in the rainy season (December-March) you may even witness some fascinating optical illusions which will make for great photos… and you can take some goofy shots too!
Reaching Incahuasi Island you will be slap bang in the middle of the Salt Flats. The vast open nothingness is punctuated by mighty calcareous rocks, local fauna including smatterings of cacti, and spectacular 360° panoramic views that are unparalleled on our Planet. It’s a delight for the eyes.
After a well earned bite to eat, we wrap up the first day by heading to the town of Ajencha to our accommodation for the evening, which is nestled in the southern region of the Salt Flat.
Day 02: Ajencha – Red Lagoon
After a morning briefing we make way to Lipez, a remote area renowned for its volcanoes. We greet the outstanding volcano range and admire their snow-kissed peaks, before zooming our focus on Ollagüe, a massive, awe-inspiring volcano that straddles the Chilean border. Don’t worry folks, we’ll be viewing her from a distance, so you won’t be burning your feet off!
Volcanoes, lakes and hot springs
Kicking on to our second pitstop of the day, we head toward Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve, a protected area that homes various fauna, mountains, volcanoes, lakes, hot springs, and curiously, flamingos. However, we’ll be focusing on the various lagoons in the reserve, known locally as the “Joyas Altoandinas”, the jewels from the highlands. Cañapa, Hedionda, Chiarcota and Honda lagoons make up this part of the day, where you can immerse yourself in the serenity of water and admire the local exotic birdlife.
From the wet stuff to the dry, we make moves to the Siloli Desert, a magnificent expanse where we’ll pause to take photos. We recommend the bizarre yet famous formation known as the Stone Tree. Trust us, you’ll be fascinated.
Upon entering the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve proper, we head to Laguna Colorada, The Red Lagoon, and you’ll instantly understand its namesake. The shallow salt lake has vibrant, shimmering red water thanks to the algae and plankton that inhabit the lagoon, and in turn attract the three local breeds of flamingo – James, Andino, and Chileno. A mesmerizing juxtaposition of the Red Lagoon and pink Flamingos will leave a fond imprint on your memory.
We end the day by tripping back to Ajencha and relaxing, before another big day.
Day 03: Red Lagoon – Green Lagoon – Uyuni – Potosí
We hope you’ve had a good snooze as we kick today off with a 05:30 a.m. departure. Why so early I hear you ask? To witness the geysers of “Sol de Mañana”. Expect a cacophonous, hazy geyser experience, witnessing the bubbling grey and red liquid mud, but don’t touch as the contents are boiling hot! An added bonus is that we can take a quick breather and let loose with a quick dip in a hot spring. You’ll feel rejuvenated and ready to smash the rest of the day.
Salvador Dali’s Desert
Onwards we march to the borderlands with Chile, at Hito Cajon, but first stopping to enjoy the marvelous views of the Dali (yes named after Salvador) Desert, where weird rock and stone formations battered and refined by wind give rise to a resemblance of his surrealist masterpieces. Bizarre yet brilliant!
Next up is the Laguna Verde, the Green Lagoon, with a vivid turquoise caused by mineral suspensions of arsenic. Sitting at the foot of the Licancabur volcano it appears particularly fragile, with such gentle and alluring colours yet baying at the foot of a behemoth that violently spews bright, aggressive lava.
Ending our time at Laguna Verde we turn tail to our initial pit stop of the Uyuni trip, spending the afternoon admiring the Rocks Valley, where astonishing volcanic rock formations stand as tall as 15 metres. Moving onto our final stop of the day at San Cristóbal, a mining village that had to uproot and shift to service the local mining trade.
Arriving back in Uyuni at approximately 18:00 we don’t hang around for long, and board the bus to our next stop and accommodation for the night, Potosí.
Day 04: Potosí + Sucre
Option 1 (Except Monday)
Today we start with a walking tour of the city of Potosí, a noteworthy location with historical importance during the days of colonial rule, as many made their fortunes on the local silver trade. The priceless mineral was abundant in the nearby Cerro Rico Mountain and those who could extract it became rich beyond their wildest dreams.
La Casa de la Moneda
Next we visit “La Casa de la Moneda” Museum, a detailed archive on the impact silver played in this region, but rather interestingly where the Spanish colonists centred their silver coin production, and furthermore we can see and learn about the usage of African slave labour in the production process. Who’d have thought the sparkly mineral could have such a detrimental impact on people from all over the Globe.
Church of San Lorenzo
Architecture admiration is next on the menu as we take to the Church of San Lorenzo, a splendid structure that effortlessly blends decorative influences from Baroque and Mestizo cultures. During this part of the day we also visit the Pavilion of Royal Officers and the entirely stone-built Santa Teresa Convent Church, presenting an intriguing juxtaposition compared to the rather ornate Church of San Lorenzo.
Plaza 10 de Noviembre
The tour concludes at the arches on the main square of Potosí, named “Plaza 10 de Noviembre” in honour of the founding date of the city. Adjacent is the colonial style Cathedral Saint Basilica, a building that underlines the massive influence Spain and Catholicism brought to Bolivia a few centuries ago.
If option 1 doesn’t take your fancy, we’ve got your back…
If mining is your thing, you’ll really dig this choice. Observing the historical and contemporary importance mining offers this community, we take you to a monument of mines commemorating the hard graft by the workers, followed up by a trip to a mining market, where you can purchase locally sourced and created goods.
Meet the miners
To get a real feel of what a miner’s life consists of, we then meet a group of palliris (female miners) and visit the local mining cooperative to see the political workings of this trade. This trip concludes with a visit inside a working mine where we meet miners and hear about their stories and what they feel their work means to the community they serve.
At the conclusion of the tour we take time for a spot of lunch before boarding the bus at 17:00 bound for Sucre, our home for the night.
Day 05: Sucre – Cal Orck’o – Sucre (Except Sunday Or Monday)
Your final day begins with more architecture and reverent views as we collect you in a private vehicle taking you to “La Recoleta”, Monastery. Why is another religious building on the list, wasn’t that what yesterday (option 1) was for? Well, when you have a finely and delightfully styled Franciscan Monastery sitting at the base of the Churuquella Mountain, it’s rather rude not to go and visit it! With the stunning interiors paired with the awesome mountain peak, you’ll feel like you have your own personal fairway to heaven.
Indigenous Art Museum
Turning our focus back to the culture and heritage of Bolivia we attend the Indigenous Art Museum. With compelling range of artefacts and textiles on display, the Museum primarily hosts the work of two local cultures Tarabuco and Jalq’a. An essential excursion for those wanting to learn more on local Indigenous lifestyles.
The Casa Libertad
Our day ends up with a shot of history and politics. The Casa Libertad in Sucre has housed some of the most significant archives regarding Bolivia’s struggle for independence, and is the location where the document Alto Peru, the Bolivian declaration of independence from Colonial Spain, was signed. Strolling through the museum you can observe and gain understanding of how contemporary Bolivia came to be through the incredible political artefacts on display.
With a stroll to the main square the tour winds down as does the early part of the day’s activities.
We head back to the hotel before transferring out to a quarry in Cal Orcko’o. Now before you wonder why we’d take you here, let us tell you the name of our stop is Park Cretaceous – oh yes, those of us who love and geek out over dinosaurs will be able to observe what is widely regarded as the largest single display of prehistoric animal tracks in the World. So if you consider yourself an amateur dinosaur expert, this place will be like paradise!
Final wrap up
With all that excitement done for the day, and unfortunately the entire trip, we head back to our hotel in Sucre, for one final night and goodbyes, proper up by the fondest memories of an immense few days exploring the engaging Bolivia.
Day 06: Sucre
We tailor the final day to your travel needs, and will ensure you get to the airport for your onward trip. Leaving Bolivia will be tough, but with the range of sights and experiences, all of them incredible, you’ll have some stories to tell your loved ones when you get back home.
Less than 1 week
EPIC JOURNEYS: ADVENTURES & EXPEDITIONS, IN DEPTH: CULTURAL & HISTORICAL
Discovering the antique hunting methods of the Tacanas
Walks and hikes through the Amazon jungle
Boat trips through different Amazonian rivers
Watching beautiful guacamayos (parrots) along the cliffs of the Tuichi river
Getting your fortune read by the “Amautas” (Aymara fortune teller) at the city of El Alto
Going on the highest urban cable car in the world for a panoramic view of the Andes Range
- All services, transfers and excursions detailed in the itinerary, in regular / private services as it is specified;
- 6 nights’ accommodation as its described in the itinerary in the mentioned hotels or in similar, according to availability at the moment of the booking request;
- International or domestic flights
- Meals and services not mentioned in the itinerary
- Entrance fees
- Early check in/Late check-out at hotels
- Optional tours
- Any kind of insurances;
- Travel Assistance.
We aim to select a combination of good quality hotels, hostels and guesthouses (where you actually stay will depend on your trip) that reflects the character of the local area.
- Black Out dates: Christmas, New Year, Carnaval (4 & 5 March), Easter, Worker´s day (1st of May), Holidays, Long Weekends.
- Hotels are categorized according to Bolivian standards that may not be the same as the international ones.
- Try to avoid Rain Season: November to April