Uyuni salt flats from Tupiza to San Pedro

Uyuni salt flats from Tupiza to San Pedro

Uyuni salt flats from Tupiza to San Pedro 4D/3N tour. This tour starts in Tupiza and ends on the 4th day in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.

REFERENCE PROGRAM

This trip is a treat for the senses with great photography opportunities.

Day 1: TUPIZA – SAN PABLO DE LIPEZ (HOTEL SUMAJ JALLP’A) (L, D)

We leave Tupiza at 09:00 A.M. Our first stop is Quebrada de Palala (4200 m above sea level), one of the most impressive red and pink rock formations around Tupiza. The tall thin roads (fins) look like giant needles.

After riding for about 15 km we get to El Sillar (The Saddle)  a masterpiece of eroded rock formations, this place is also called Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) because the erosion has certainly caused the countryside to look like a lunar landscape. You can easily pretend you’ve left earth and have gone to the Moon.

We continue our trip to Nazarenito, a small gold mining village. Aftwerwards to Cerrillos, Polulos, Rio San Pablo, until we get to the feet of the hill San Pablo de Lípez.

Overnight stay at Hotel Sumaj Jallp’a (formerly known as Tayka Hotel Los Volcanes).

Day 2: OJO DE PERDIZ – TAHUA (HOTEL TAYKA DE SAL) (B, L, D)

After breakfast we will drive from San Pablo de Lípez to San Cristobal village and to the train graveyard, with old rusted steel steam locomotives from 1890.

The next stop of the day will be Colchani, a small village at the border of the salt lake, where we will stop to visit the salt Factory,  the salt mounts and the Salt Museum.

Afterwards we will enter the impressive Uyuni salt flats (or Salar de Uyuni), which with its 10.582 square km (4.085 square miles) is the world’s largest salt flat. It is estimated to contain 10 billion tons of salt and it is the biggest lithium reserve on our planet.

The Uyuni salt flats has 14 small islands, the main one is Incahuasi island located in the middle of the salt flats. The island is made of fossilized coral and consists of 1000 year old cacti. We will follow the path to get to the top of the Incahuasi island. From this point we can enjoy of an amazing 360 º view of the Salar.

We will also see the Ojos de Sal (Eyes of salt), water bubbling up from subterranean rivers flowing under the Uyuni Salt Flat.

Overnight stay in a Hotel made out of salt.

Day 3: TAHUA – OJO DE PERDIZ (HOTEL TAYKA DEL DESIERTO) (B, L, D)

Today we will visit the Necropolis in San Juan del Rosario, salar de Chiguana and the mirador of Ollague volcano.

In the afternoon, we will continue towards Paso del Inca and we drive along small lagoons: Cañapa, Hedionda, Chiarkota, Honda and Ramaditas, where we will be able to spot the three different species of flamingos and other kinds of birds such as Andean seagulls and wild ducks. These birds live on the lagoons surrounded by volcanoes with their eternal snowtops mixed with landscapes full of green and other magic colors due the the presence of borax and sulphur.

We will enter a huge desert area with no roads. These fantastic deserts gather many different colors from brown, red, orange, brass and beige which are successively shown at every curve of the trip.

You will spend the night in the Tayka Desert Hotel (4.523 meters above sea level), with private bathroom, hot water and heating.

Day 4: OJO DE PERDIZ – SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA (B, L)

Early this morning we will get ready to enter the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve. We will visit the Stone Tree which is tree shaped geological structure and the Red lagoon (Laguna Colorada).

Afterwards we will get to the Geysers of Sol de Mañana probably at the time of the day with most activitity. At this point we will be at the highest altitude of the trip (5000 meters above sea level). The cold here is very intense. We will have a walk between the geysers which produce noisy vapor springs and many stewpot where red and grey mud is boiling like water.

The desert and Salar of Chalviri offers us a landscape combining the white of the snow and the red brown of the desert together with the blue of the water. You will have the opportunity to take a swim in the Hot Springs of Polques.

Afterwards we will approach another amazing place: the Valley of the Ladies desert, 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 (Laguna Verde), 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 esmerald green to deeper green.

From this point we will continue towards the Chilean border on our way to San Pedro de Atacama. 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 the weather and road conditions the routes and hotel reservations can sometimes be changed without notice, 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 that some parts of the route are temporarily impassable and may oblige us to make changes in the itinerary. But 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. It’s still possible to do the trip, to visit the Salar and the beautiful lagoons, the highlights of the trip for most people. However with water on the Salar you cannot cross it for hours like in the dry season and you generally cannot get to Isla Incahuasi / Fish Island. Also the Tayka Salt Hotel in Tahua (valid for the 4 day trip that starts and ends in San Pedro) can often not be reached during the rainy season therefore we will use another salt hotel like “Palacio de Sal” or “Luna Salada” instead. Other places that cannot be visited during the rainy season are Cueva de las Galaxias, Momias de Coquesa and Chantani, but notice that those places are considered to be minor attractions in the area. Some photographers specifically want to visit the Salar during the rainy season as when the Salar is covered with a little bit of water it becomes one big mirror which makes for 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.

Notice that during the past year –probably due to seismic activity- the Laguna Verde has lost much of its green color and is more towards brown nowadays, especially in the morning.

Tour includes:

  • Overnight stay in the best hotels in the region (comfortable Tayka hotels and similar category)
  • Meals
  • Transport in a 4×4 with oxygen tube and satellite telephone
  • Spanish speaking driver

Tours do not include:

  • Entrance fees
  • Alcoholic drinks, personal snacks and tips.

Optional:

  • Hotel reservations in San Pedro de Atacama after the tour has finished
  • (Bilingual) guide
  • Private transport to Calama in Chile.

What we recommend to take with you:

The route to the salt lake is cold, windy and with high solar radiation. Over day is generally
sunny and the weather is pleasant. Our recommendations on what to bring with you are:

  • Warm clothes.
  • Gloves.
  • Wool socks.
  • Hat covering your ears and to protect you from the sun.
  • Boots.
  • Towel.
  • Swimming suit.
  • Lips moisturizer.
  • Sun block 30+.
  • Sun glasses.
  • Lantern.
  • Raincoat (From December to March)
  • Extra water

Note: Don’t forget to bring a copy of your passport.

Check our page about how to travel to Uyuni.

Please in advance so we can check availability in the hotels.

We also offer the following salt flats tours:

More info about the Uyuni salt flats tour? Check the following travel blogs:

REVIEWS

  • ´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!'
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    Estefania Roig y Jordi Garcia Spain
  • ´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.´
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    Simon Rodd UK
  • ´The tour was great...amazing scenery, great hotels and Cecilio and Beatrix were really good guides! Thanks again for organising it at such short notice.´
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    Shevanthi & Beth UK
  • ´Bolivia vonden we super! Het was heel afwisselend, van het koude zuidwesten naar de warme Rio Mamore. Uyuni was erg mooi. Ik hou er van om een beetje actief bezig te zijn, dus het was veel zitten en kijken. Maar dit wist ik natuurlijk van te voren en het prachtige uitzicht maakte alles goed.´
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    Diana Proost The Netherlands
  • ´Hi Gijs, The trip was really great, first class. Thanks for all.´
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    David Ensor Ireland
  • ´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!´
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    Estefania Roig y Jordi Garcia Spain
  • ´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!´
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    Marianne Sundin Hestnes Norway
  • ´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. ´
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    Dr. David Lewis Canada
  • ´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´
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    Mike Adamson UK
  • ´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´
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    Christian Kell Germany
  • ´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 ...'
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    Paul and John Australia
  • ´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 ...'
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    Carmen Well & family Australia
  • ´Gijs, de 3 daagse trip is prima bevallen. We waren heel blij met de omgekeerde volgorde. De eerste dag was best lang maar goed te doen. Onze chauffeur Freddy was helemaal goed. Vriendelijk en behulpzaam. En al kon hij bijna geen woord Engels hij deed erg z´n best on alles duidelijk te maken. Dat lukte ook vrij aardig. Wat we onderweg gezien hebben was top maar dat wis je natuurlijk al. Met ...'
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    Suzanne & Kees Jasperse The Netherlands
  • ´Wij zijn helaas weer terug vanuit Bolivia. Bij u hadden we de nachtbus met Todo Tourismo van La Paz naar Uyuni geboekt en de 3-daagse prive Salar tour met Tayka hotels.De nachtbus was goed. De medewerkers waren vriendelijk, duidelijk en behulpzaam. In Oruro werd ons de mogelijkheid geboden om gebruik te maken van het toilet in het kantoor van de maatschappij, deze was schoon en verzorgd ...'
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    Monica Vriendts & Dennis Herrewijnen The Netherlands
  • ´Hi Gijs, it is just a belated email to say thank you for sorting out the Uyuni tour. We had an amazing time, the landscape was incredible and so worth the journey. It was actually the highlight of our three weeks in South America even better than going to Machu Picchu. The tour was very well organised and the guide was excellent, even though he didn't speak a word of English and my Spanish is ...'
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    Tiani Fernando UK
  • ´Hoi Gijs, We zitten nu in La Paz en zijn net aangekomen met de nachtbus vanuit Uyuni. je bent natuurlijk benieuwd hoe we het gehad hebben en of jouw adviezen juist hebben uitgewerkt. Nou wij zijn wel wat gewend, zo zijn we al in Ecuador, Peru, Brasil, Colombia en Suriname geweest, maar dit overtrof werkelijk alles. We zijn tot de conclusie gekomen dat Bolivia een zeer matige marketing voert en ...'
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    Berto de Vos en Piet Zee The Netherlands
  • ´Hola Gijs y Maria Eugenia, Finalizamos nuestras vacaciones y queria enviarles un saludo de agradecimiento por lo bien organizado y el apoyo que tuvimos en el recorrido de San Pedro de Atacama a Uyuni. La dificultades causadas por la nieve fueron eficazmente salvadas por la buena actitud y profesionalidad del chofer. Les deseo lo mejor para ustedes y para su empresa. Muchas gracias, Anselm.´
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    Anselm Pages España
  • ´Bolivia vonden we super! Het was heel afwisselend, van het koude zuidwesten naar de warme Rio Mamore. Uyuni was erg mooi. Ik hou er van om een beetje actief bezig te zijn, dus het was veel zitten en kijken. Maar dit wist ik natuurlijk van te voren en het prachtige uitzicht maakte alles goed.Het flotel Reina de Enin op de rivier was nog veel leuker dan we dachten. We twijfelden of het niet ...'
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    Diana Proost The Netherlands
  • 'Hola M. Eugenia. Somos Nathalie Villar y mi marido Ramón Tallada, que hicimos con ustedes la excursión privada de 3 días por el Salar de Uyuni con vuestro guía Valerio. Le escribo para comentarle que quedamos muy contentos con la excursión, sus servicios y Valerio nos hizo pasar una estancia muy agradable, esforzándose en todo momento para que estuviésemos contentos. Muchas gracias, y ...'
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    Nathalie Villar Spain
  • 'Buenos días, Domingo regresamos de este maravilloso viaje por tierras bolivianas. Todo estuvo organizado a la perfección y los guías eran muy profesionales y conocían el lugar a la perfección. Le agradezco su colaboración y recomendaré Ruta Verde a todos mis amigos que deseen viajar a Bolivia. Atentamente, Juan Manuel Ribas'
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    Juan Manuel Ribas Spain
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