Sajama and Uyuni from La Paz to San Pedro de Atacama
5D/4N Sajama National Park + salar de Uyuni tour starting in La Paz (Bolivia) and ending on the 5th day in San Pedro de Atacama (Chile).
A trip ending in Uyuni is available as well.
Day 1 – LA PAZ-SAJAMA (L, D)
Pick up from the hotel. Along the way to Sajama National Park we will be able to observe an amazing landscape. Visit Curahuara de Carangas Church, known as “Sixtine Chapel of the Altiplano” because of its famous colonial paintings. On the outside, the church looks like anything but the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. Its rough walls of adobe and straw give it the appearance of a humble, rural chapel. But opening its doors and entering, one is overwhelmed by the brilliantly colored paintings that cover its walls, ceilings and cupula.
We will arrive at the Park where we will have lunch.
In the afternoon we will visit Huayña Kota Lagoon. Afterwards we will have a walk along the Keñua Woods. Back in Sajama Village we will arrive at the Tomarapi lodge where we will spend the night.
DAY 2 – SAJAMA-UYUNI (B, L, D)
Visit to Junthuta, a geyser zone at the foothills of Pomarape Mountain. We will then continue to Kasilla, the natural thermal water pool where we can take a good medicinal bath. Lunch in Sajama Village and in the afternoon private transfer to Uyuni.
We will spend the night in Uyuni.
Day 3 UNDERSTANDING SALAR DE UYUNI (B, L, D)
Today we will have an unforgettable trip across 12 000 km2 of fantastic salt landscape. Get your camera ready! The amazing white coat of the Uyuni salt flats (or Thunupa) looks like a huge glacier.
We will enter the Salar by Colchani, where we will stop to visit the salt factory and we will receive information about the salt based economy of this village.
After Colchani, we will enter the Uyuni salt flats and stop at the salt mounts. We will have lunch in Tahua.
In the afternoon we will get away from the hotel to Chantani where we will enjoy the impressive landscape.
We will spend the night in the Tayka Salt Hotel with private bathroom, hot water and heating (3700 m).
Day 4 ISLANDS, LAGOONS AND MULTICOLORS DESERT (B, L, D)
Today we will cross the Uyuni salt flats from North to South and we will visit the Incahuasi Island which is one of the central tourist attractions. We will follow the little path to arrive at the top of the island from where we will be able to enjoy an amazing 360 degree view of the Uyuni Salt flats.
We will continue the expedition towards San Pedro de Quemes where we will have lunch.
In the afternoon, we will go towards the lagoons chain of Cañapa, Hedionda, Chiarkota, Honda and Ramaditas, where we will see a good amount of three kinds of flamingos and other kinds of birds known as the Andean seagulls and wild ducks. These birds live on the lagoons surrounded by volcanoes with their eternal snow on the top and their green sides mixed with other colors created by the presence of borax and sulphur.
After the last lagoon, you will enter a huge desert area with no real roads. These fantastic deserts gather different colors from browns, reds, oranges, brass and beige which are successively shown at every curve of the trip. In this area the Tayka Desert Hotel is located where you will spend the night (altitude 4500 meters).
Day 5 COLORED LAGOONS, VALLEY OF THE LADIES DESERT (Ojo de Perdiz – San Pedro de Atacama) Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve (REA) (B, L)
Today we will get up early to visit the “Arbol de Piedra” (Stone Tree) which is a stone shaped like a tree. Afterwards we will arrive at one of Eduardo Avaroa Reserve’s gems: the Red Colored Lagoon. This lagoon is the main nesting centre of the three kinds of flamingos. The color of the water is produced by the presence of algae and plankton activated by the sunlight and the wind.
We will reach the geysers of Sol de Mañana at the time of the day with more activity. At this point we will be at the highest altitude of the whole trip (5000 mts above sea level). The cold here is intense and we will walk among the smoky and noisy vapour hot springs and the mud boiling stewpot.
The desert and Salar of Chalviri offer beautiful and unforgettable landscapes mixing the white of the snow with the ochre of the desert, the blue of the water and the white of the borax. In Polques, we will take a swim in the hot springs and right after that we will enjoy a delicious open air breakfast.
Afterwards we will approach another amazing place: the desert “Valley of the Ladies”, which is a geologic wonderland created by the winds. The columns of stones sculpted by the wind show fantastic colors. After visiting this valley we will continue towards other gem of the reserve: the Green Lagoon, located at the feet of the Licancabur Volcano. We will arrive there by lunch time, which is the best time to see how its waters change colours from emerald green to deeper green.
From this point we will continue towards the Chilean border. After we cross it we will change vehicles and continue until your hotel in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile (approx. 2 hours ride).
IMPORTANT! Due to weather and road conditions the routes and hotel reservations can sometimes be changed without notice. This is the reason why the itinerary is only for reference, and is not to be taken as an exact itinerary of what this tour implies. Rain, snow, ice and strong winds for example can cause some parts of the route to temporarily become impassable and may oblige us to make changes in the itinerary. But take notice that if we have to make changes it is for your own safety. The surroundings of Uyuni are one of most isolated areas in the world.
Rainy season: the rainy season is roughly from January to April (subject to change). During this period parts of the Salar may be covered with water. This means that even though it will still be possible to do the trip and to visit the Salar with its beautiful lagoons, as well as the highlights of the trip, the water on the Salar may prevent us from being able to cross it for several hours like you would do during the dry season. You will therefore not be able to get to Isla Incahuasi / Fish Island. Also the Tayka Salt Hotel in Tahua can often not be reached during the rainy season and we will therefore either use the salt hotel like Luna Salada, Palacio de Sal instead. When the Salar is covered with a little bit of water it also becomes one big mirror which is a beautiful setting for pictures. Many photographers even specifically visit the Salar during this rainy season in order to capture beautiful pictures. With too much water however the mirror-effect is gone. Needless to say we cannot predict whether or not it will rain before or during your trip, it’s up to Mother Nature.
- Overnight stay: 1st night Tomarapi lodge (Sajama), 2nd night hotel in Uyuni and comfortable Tayka hotels during the trip on salar de Uyuni.
- All meals.
- Private transport in a 4X4 (satellite phone and oxygen tube onboard during the trip on the Uyuni salt flats).
- English speaking guide.
- Entrance fees to Sajama National Park and Uyuni (Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve).
- Alcoholic drinks, personal snacks and tips.
- Private transport to Calama in Chile.
What we recommend you to take with you:
The route is cold, windy and with high solar radiation. During the day it is generally sunny and the weather is pleasant. Our recommendations on what to bring with you are:
- Warm clothes.
- Woolen socks.
- Hat that covers your ears and protects you from the sun.
- Swimming suit.
- Lip moisturizer.
- Sun block 30+.
- Sun glasses.
- Raincoat (From December to March).
- Extra water.
- Passport (and visa).
Note: Don’t forget to bring a copy of your passport.
We also offer the following salt flats tours:
- Uyuni – San Pedro de Atacama
- San Pedro de Atacama – Uyuni
- Tupiza – Uyuni
- San Pedro – Uyuni – Tupiza
- Tupiza – Uyuni – San Pedro
- Uyuni stargazing tour
- 3 day comfortable Uyuni – Uyuni tour and a cheaper basic tour on the Salar de Uyuni, with basic hostels and private transport only.
- A luxurious option: camping in style at Kachi lodge.
- 1 Full day tour Uyuni – Uyuni
- 2 day tour Uyuni-Uyuni
Check our pages about:
More info about this tour, check out the following travel blogs (in Portugues):
Other travel blogs in English:
Please in advance so we can check availability in the hotels.
´Nos han gustado mucho los dos tours. Los chóferes y guías muy bien en ambos casos. Los hoteles nos gustaron mucho y todo ha salido muy bien. El Salar y Lagunas espectacular. En general muy bien todo. Muchas gracias!'
´Gijs, the trip to Uyuni was very good thanks. We were impressed with the overall package and would not hesitate to use your services again. Many Thanks.´
´It was absolutely fabolous! Excellent driver and guide! And transport to Chile! Loved all we saw! Thanks for organising the trip and for answering all my questions!´
´We had a wonderful trip for 3 days and the weather was nice apart from some snow and hail on the last day which made it kind of special. ´
´Hi Gijs, I just wanted to say that we had a wonderful trip. The organisation was perfect - thank you for sorting it all for us. Best regards, Mike´
´Dear Gijs, I just wanted to thank you for an incredible experience in the Salar of Uyuni earlier this year. The nature and the people were unforgettable. Ottavio was a great enthusiastic guide. It could not have been better. All the best from Germany, Chris´
´Dear Gijs, we would like to thank you for organising such a fantastic tour for us. We had an amazing time. Wilson was a great driver, very professional yet a lot of fun too. We had heard many stories of people having bad experiences so were a little wary about booking a tour. The food was great and the vehicle was very comfortable. If any of our friends head this way, we'll be passing on your details. Thanks again. Regards John and Paul´
´Dear Gijs, Thank you very much for following through with everything and making this part of our trip to South America go so smooothly. We have had several hassles with other bookings - people not turning up, or no name cards or wrong information etc. It is so refreshing to have everything go right. I shall have no hesitation in recommending you to any of our acquaintances. Regards, Carmen Wells´