Bolivia - Salar de Uyuni

Solar de Uyni is a wonderful and unique attraction in Bolivia. It is located at flat plateau over 3500 m a.s.l. It used to be a salt lake. This days the flat salt is covered with white salt layer or salt water. It depends on season. In March, one part of the flat was covered with 5-10 cm of salt water and the other part was covered with salt layer. The salt layer looks like frozen lake covered with snow and ice.

Solar de Uyni can only be visited with the agency. The most convenient starting point is Uyni, town in Bolivia. There are over 100 agencies selling tours to Salar de Uyni. They offer 1-5 days tours.  I bought a 3-day tour. I paid 700 BOB (105 USD) and overpaid about 50-100 BOB. The tour is called a 3-days but actually it lasts about 48 hours. The tour ends in Uyni or at Chilean border. I chose the second option and had to pay extra 70 BOB for transfer to San Pedro de Atacama. The group of max. 6 people traveled in Toyota 4x4s with Spanish-speaking driver/guide/cook (3 in 1).  This is the tour schedule:
  • Train Cemetery
  • Colchani Village - visit salt manufacture. 
  • Dakar Monument - Bolivia hosted Rally Dakar, and the monument commemorate it. 
  • Salt Flats - the most important spot of the tour. It is awesome. It took a few hours to visit it and watched sunset on the flat.
  • Volcanoes - enjoy views of several volcanoes.
  • Lagoons - stop by colorful lagoons with many flamings.
  • Geyser Sol de Manana - visit sulfur geysers in early morning. It was very cold. Take warm clothes. 
  • Hot springs - take a bath in warm springs (30 Celsius degrees). It was extra paid 6 BOB. It was so cold that I could not take off my jacket.  
The agencies offer longer or shorter trips. I think 3 days is optimal. Food was ok. However, accommodation was a nightmare. We were accommodated in salt hotel at first night. In fact, it was ordinary building with some walls plastered with salt. There was only a bed in tiny double room. Cold water shower was only available.  6 beds dormitory was our accommodation in our second night. Cold water shower was the only option. Generally accommodation was a nightmare.

What to take on the tour:
  • sunglasses
  • sun-blocker
  • sport shoes
  • warm clothes
  • water. 7 liters bulk for 2 person is sufficient
  • painkillers for altitude sickness
  • wellingtons. Ask for wellingtons in the agency. They should provide them
  • sleeping bag.