The Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world and sits at over 3000m above sea level. According to our guide, it used to be a large prehistoric lake that dried up from a volcanic eruption.
It is definitely a must see in Bolivia & the whole continent of South America.
Why go & When?
The largest salt flat in the world is literally mind blowing to see. Imagine seeing salt from one horizon to the next, all in hexagonal shapes. It is especially impressive at sunrise & sunset.
The impressive instagram photos of flooded salt flats with the mirror effect is only during wet season (December-March). We went in the beginning of December, when the rainy season was just beginning so it was quite dry & slightly dusty (leading to a not so white salt flat). Either way, the tour is impressive and a must see.
What else is there to see in this tour?
- Incahuasi Island (a small cactus island in the middle of the salt flat, which is the remains of an ancient volcano)
- Hot springs in the desert, with amazing stargazing
- Wildlife – especially flamingos & alpacas!
- Pink & colourful alpine lakes
- A hotel made out of salt
- Cool photos to take with the weird perspective on the flats
- Train graveyard
- The tour can take you to the Chilean border on the last day
What tour to take?
The whole town of Uyuni is full of tour operators. Shop around, ask what they offer, and decide what you want to see. Choose your tour length and make sure you feel comfortable/safe with them. Don’t try to go too cheap, there have been drunk drivers & crashes in the salt flats before. We did a 4 day/3 night tour, that includes food, a guide, transport & accomodation. It cost us about $300 AUD (standard pricing).
How to get there?
You can arrive to Uyuni, the nearby town, by plane or bus. We arrived by overnight bus from La Paz, Bolivia. It is more economical + the ride can be quite comfortable if you buy the full cama seat. A seat that reclines the whole way.
Don’t try to go cheap on the bus line, it is worth spending a little more for safety and enjoyability.
Be aware that high altitude can cause altitude sickness! Buy some coca leaves from the locals before heading into the flats & let them absorb into your gum. It helps with the headaches.