You will inevitably hear many horror stories of these trips to the Salt Flats, and I have to say that some of them are true, especially about the driving. Bolivians drive in a horrendous manner and we have seen with our own eyes accidents occurring with other groups (thankfully not ours - we had a wonderful guide/driver). Unfortunately no tour agency has constantly good reviews, so it is always the luck of the draw. Many people will also complain about the conditions for the trip - the best way to prepare for this is to expect nothing, no matter what the tour agent promises you!! Expect 4 days of extreme cold, no heating, barely any flushing toilets or working showers. Expect each car to host at least 6 people and you will need to share your room with them at least for 2 nights out of 3. Cars are problematic too but fortunately the drivers seem to be good mechanics. Anything that is positive is a bonus :) You are there for the sceneries and adventure and not for luxury, so setting your expectations right is the key to enjoy this. Also your best bet if you are taking this trip from San Pedro in Chile is to check out the Sernatur office in the village, as they keep a book of suggestions and complaints against companies and hostels. Good way to get up to date news. Lonely planets and general reviews we have seen in Sernatur suggest that Cordillera Traveller is the best tour operator, though their reputation is not spotless.
My conclusion from all of the above is to have proper expectations and go for it!!! It is a truly unmissable experience and I enjoyed every single second of it and would not hesitate to do it again.
En el caso de que vayas a San Pedro de Atacama 8chile )ahorras tiempo si si arreglas los papeles de salida en la oficina de emigración que hay en Uyuni , allí te sellan el pasaporte
Te dan un permiso para salir en 48//2 horas que es más que suficiente
La oficina está en el centro
In case that you go to San Pedro de Atacama ( Chile ) you save time if you pass the Migration Bolivian exit papers in the office they have in Uyuni , there tey stamp your passport
They give you a 48/72 hours permit that is more than enough
The office is in the center
Los pinchazos es un riesgo importante cuando vas por esas "no carreteras" .
Nosotros tuvimos en una mañana tres pinchazos , el primero lo reparó completamente el conductor y los otros consiguió que le dejaran ruedas de repuesto otro conductores que hacían la misma ruta
The flats is an important risk when you drive by this "no roads".
We had three flats in a morning , the first one it was completely repaired by the driver and the for the others he got that other drivers in the same route lend him spare wheels
The track of a tour to laguna verde or one of the others on the Bolivian altiplano gets pretty rough. In our 4x4 4 out of 6 travellers got sick at one point of the trip.
Might be a good idea to take some pils against nausea or travel sickness with you.
The tour is mostly in an altitude of about 4000 meters and at the geysers even exceeding 5000 meters above sea level. Therefore it is advisable to go for it only after due acclimatization to avoid "soroche", the high altitude sickness which can become a serious problem (there is no posibility for a fast descent on the whole tour). I stayed before the start for two days at San Pedro (about 2500 above sea level) and I came to this place by bus via the Cordillera over a 4300 m high pass so I did not meet any problems. And before sleeping for the first time higher than 4000 meters I did a longer walk somewhat higher up than our first overnight stop was.
when my friends and me wanted to come back to Oruro then La paz from Uyuni. We could not find train tickets. So we had to take a bus at night. And of course this bus was unconfortable and we couldnýt sleep at all.
The trains don?t come back to Oruro everyday. so if don?t want to come back like us, without sleeping and in a froozen bus. Make sure to take the train.
But when, i got to Uyuni by bus from Potosi it was so different. Nothing wrong with that, because, in spite of the road the landscapes are really wonderful!
Cuando mis amigos y yo quisimos regresar a Oruro luego La Paz desde Uyuni. No pudimos encontrar los pasajes en tren. Asi que irremediablemente tuvimos que coger el bus de noche. Que era inconfortable, frio y no pudimos dormir para nada.
Los trenes no salen de Uyuni a Oruro todos los dýas asi que si no quieren pasar por la mala experiencia de nosotros, asegurence de tener los boletos de tren.
Pero algo importante que decir, cuando fuý a Uyuni en Bus desde Potosi. no tuve ningun problema, a pesar del camino los paisajes lo compensan todo.
Around the Laguna Colorada (a perfect reddish one !), there are some unguessable swamps. Itzhik and Stef Reporter tested them for you : they recommend to be careful !!
Autour de la laguna colorada (superbement rouge), il y a des marecages indevinables. Itzhik et Stef Reporter les ont testes pour vous : ils recommendent de faire attention !!
planning the right timing for excursions could be one of the wisest decisions you made in uyuni as all the agencies tend to follow the same timing. Sometimes being packed with all the other people in uyuni is unavoidable but sometimes you can esily organize a DIY trip out of the crowd
el cementerio de los trenes
everyone knows the best time to visit the cemetery is at sunset... going there with a taxi (4 bolivianos) an hour before sunset allow you at least 20 minutes alone and walking back to uyuni following the raiway provide another lonely visit time.
take in account that as soon the sun goes down it gets more and more freezing
on a pescado-lagunas trip crowd is almost unavoidable but you can make some effort to have your trip a bit late... (our flat tyre worked fine but I think there's some easiest trick). You'll have plenty of time to get in time after that.
when you notice your guide feel in a hurry get in a hurry you too. If you arrive too late in laguna colorada you could end up sleeping in the "depandance" wich is a few km far from the laguna and that means you'll have no chance to visit the laguna.
All the beautiful blue skies in these photos mean one other thing: the sun is intense so make sure to wear plenty of sun block and a hat. Also, one thing not included in your tour is water. They recommend a liter per person per day but really two is more realistic. The arid air will just zap the moisture right from your body.
The number of flamingos is quickly dwindling so when they ask for the 30 bolivianos (about ten bucks) entrance fee to the Reserva Eduardo Avaroa, just hand it over in good faith that you are doing your part in saving this precious bird for future generations to enjoy. I know ten bucks goes a long way in Bolivia but thirty less beers isn't going to kill ya, is it?
Now this may sound a bit to obvious but do not try crossing the Salar De Uyuni without sunglasses, the sun at this altitude is very strong and reflects off of the salt
the salar is awfully white so a good pair of sunglasses are really suggested. Take in account that white reflect heath together with light : usually in the salar is a bit colder than in uyuni.