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'Bolivia Salt Flats and Desert Safari'

What makes this trip special?

The largest salt lake in the world

The largest salt lake in the world

The Uyuni Salt Flats

Traverse the stark white expanse of the vast Uyuni Salt Flats, with relief from the glare provided by a stop on a cactus-filled island.

Silent witnesses of Bolivia's mining heyday

Silent witnesses of Bolivia's mining heyday

Uyuni's train graveyard

Uyuni was founded as a railway junction to facilitate the mining trade links between Argentina and Chile. It was a symbol of cutting-edge progress at the end of the 19th Centuary but this progress was unsustained and trains now lay decaying outside the town of Uyuni.

The rugged south-west

The rugged south-west

Colourful lagoons and snow-capped volcanoes

Witness spectacular rock and cave formations, Daliesque desert landscapes where colours melt into one another and flamingoes flying over volcanic lagoons where minerals have coloured the waters shades of blue, green and red.

Technicolour life at 12,000 feet

Technicolour life at 12,000 feet

La Paz

The world's highest capital city, La Paz sprawls across a large bowl enclosed by snow-capped Andean peaks. It offers sublimely colourful markets and sights ranging from indigenous ladies in bowler hats to the sensory overload of contemporary Cholet architecture. In 2014 the capital's unmissable cable car mass-transport system started up.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Bolivia Salt Flats and Desert Safari'

DAY 1
L

Arrive La Paz

You are met on arrival at La Paz airport and transferred to your hotel. The afternoon is free to rest at the hotel at your leisure.

DAY 2
BL

Travel to Uyuni - Train graveyard

With an early start your journey to Uyuni Salt flats begins with collection from your hotel and transfer to the airport for the short flight to Uyuni (about 50 mins). Uyuni was founded as a railway junction to facilitate trade links between Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. It was Bolivia’s main gateway to the outside world and the engineering involved was a symbol of cutting edge progress at the end of the 19th Century. Progress was never sustained and the trains have been abandoned as silent witnesses to Bolivia’s mining heyday. Now, after over 100 years, you can wander around, even board the remains of the carriages, as they slowly rust away. A photographer's/train enthusiast's dream! You stop off at the train graveyard prior to arrival at your hotel in Uyuni.

DAY 3
BL

Full Day Uyuni Salt Flats

Today begins a three day jeep tour of one of the world's most breathtaking landscapes. The Uyuni Salt flats, 'Salar de Uyuni', are the remnant of lakes that once covered Bolivia’s high lands (Altiplano). They form the largest salt pan in the world and consitute the world’s largest reserve of Lithium. Your journey will take you into one of the world’s most isolated areas where you will be surrounded by a glittering white landscape. It starts with a brief stop in a small settlement called Colchani where the local people bring the salt that they have dug from the salt flat, they weigh it and bag it for sale at an artisanal scale. Then you set off onto the salt flats where, depending on the season you can see small pillars of loose excavated salt, piles of salt blocks used for building, dark water hole “eyes” and usually in January and February the sky reflected across the entire vista. In the dry season, (usually late March-late November) you will be driven across the salt flats to visit either Fish Island (Isla del Pescado) or Inca House Island (Isla Incahuasi in Quechua) where you will see giant cacti and can find birds and vizcachas (giant rabbit-like rodents) that have made these islands their own. It is not permitted to drive this far when the salt flats are flooded. At midday stop for a buffet lunch of local produce in the middle of the salt flats. All year, in the afternoon you visit Uyuni’s train graveyard. Uyuni was founded as a railway junction to facilitate trade links between Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. It was Bolivia’s main gateway to the outside world and the engineering involved was a symbol of cutting edge progress at the end of the 19th Century. Progress was never sustained and the trains have been abandoned as silent witnesses to Bolivia’s mining heyday. Now, after over 100 years, you can wander around, even board the remains of the carriages as they slowly rust away. A photographers / train enthusiasts dream! You will stay for one night either in the town of Uyuni or if you prefer, you could upgrade to stay at one of the unusual hotels built from salt blocks on the edge of the salar.

DAY 4
BLD

Uyuni - Ojo de Perdiz

The journey continues today towards the Siloli desert and Coloured Lagoon. En route you will observe Volcano Ollague, Bolivia's only active volcano, as well as various coloured lakes, where 3 different types of Flamingos can be spotted, amongst other altiplanic birds. You arrive at the Desert Hotel at Ojo de Pedriz where you will stay the night.

DAY 5
BL

Uyuni - Colchani -Hotel Jardines de Uyuni (Uyuni town)

An early start to visit the Morning Sun geysers at 5,000m above sea level. You then head to the the dramatic Green Lagoon at the foot of Volcano Lincacabur, salt plains of Chalviri, the Valley of the Ladies of the Desert, and the trip may also stop at some high altitude lagoons. Travelling back to your hotel via the Uyuni Salt flats at the end of the day you have the unique opportunity to experience the sunset at the salt flats. Free evening to rest at your hotel.

DAY 6
B

Travel to La Paz

Another short morning flight from Uyuni to La Paz where you are met at the airport (situated in El Alto). While your luggage is transferred to your hotel, your journey takes you to the cable car stop at El Alto for a unique ride down into the capital city. During your descent into the city from El Alto you will see spectacular views of La Paz and the Cordillera Real mountain range. You have a free day in the city to explore the Church of San Francisco, the 'Witches' market' and the 'Plaza Murillo' with its imposing Government Palaces. A 20 minute journey through the city's residential areas will take you down to the 'Valley of the Moon', an eerie landscape of natural geological formations.

DAY 7
B

La Paz and airport transfer

Morning collection from your hotel for a transfer to La Paz's international airport for your onwards flight.

Guide prices for 'Bolivia Salt Flats and Desert Safari'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Guide price 2 people sharing £1,800
Prices are per person and include:
  • All accommodation
  • all transport within Bolivia, including internal flights
  • meals as indicated (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
  • excursions and local guides as described
Prices do not include:
  • transatlantic flights
  • travel insurance
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc
  • any optional excursions you may buy locally

Customer reviews for 'Bolivia Salt Flats and Desert Safari'

Recent reviews are shown here from holidays based on this initial design. In each case the itinerary may have been modified (a little or a lot) to suit the individual traveller.

Average

Seasonal information for 'Bolivia Salt Flats and Desert Safari'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 La Paz 17°C rainfall 120mm
2 Uyuni 21°C rainfall 47mm
3 Uyuni 21°C rainfall 47mm
4 Ojo de Perdiz 15°C rainfall 25mm
5 Uyuni 21°C rainfall 47mm
6 La Paz 17°C rainfall 120mm

Typical weather for January

rainchart

Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'Bolivia Salt Flats and Desert Safari'

Days 2 - 3

Luna Salada

out on Salt Flat

Located at the shores of the Uyuni Salt Flats this hotel is built almost exclusively from blocks of salt. There are 49 rooms, with private bathrooms and some are overlooking the Uyuni salt flats. There is a restaurant on site with a bar and lounge as well as a small shop and café. From the hotel it is possible to organise some tours, and hire bicycles.

Luna Salada
Lounge area
Day 4

Tayka del Desierto

Siloli Desert

The accommodation is basic but comfortable, and located right in the Siloli desert. From the hotel restaurant, guests can enjoy a wonderful view of the majestic desert. The hotel runs on solar energy and has a heating system based on circulating hot water. All rooms have private bathrooms with hot water.

Tayka del Desierto
Dining area
Day 5

Jardines de Uyuni

Uyuni town

A quaint hotel in the town of Uyuni, small and unique, with friendly staff. It offers a relaxing area with a small pool and sauna. Most rooms are standard and kept very clean.

Jardines de Uyuni
Matrimonial room
Day 6

Hostal Naira

La Paz

Located in a colorful, colonial-style building in the heart of La Paz. Near to the Basilica of San Francisco and a 5-minute walk from El Mercado de las Brujas, ('Witches' market').

Hostal La Naira contains 32 rooms, all including free wifi and cable TV. Room service is available.

Other aminities: international restaurant/café, pub, warm TV lounge and charm and delightful courtyard.

 

Hostal Naira
Courtyard