- It’s a touristic city with only hotels and average restaurants, nothing much to do.
- Arrive at least one day before the tour to acclimatate to the altitude of 3600m.
- Hotels usually offer to keep your luggages while you’re in the expedition.
We stayed at Hotel Jerian. Good location, very clean, functional with breakfast.
🚲 Getting there
Bus from Sucre of 7 hours.
We arrived two nights before to acclimatate, two nights for the tour and one night before leaving to La Paz and that was good.
Uyuni Pueblo 🚶
It’s an old mine city, reconverted for tourism nowadays, quite desertic too when we were there. There’s nothing much to do here besides visiting tour agencies and getting acclimated to the altitude. We took the opportunity to relax, write this blog post, and negotiate prices with our agency, Andes Salt Expeditions.
We selected this agency based on the reviews on Trip Advisor. Since we’re travel-trolley, we wanted to avoid being 7 people in the one tiny car, so we asked them to pay extra to be only four. After some negotiations, we ended up with 4900Bs for a private tour (only us, 2450Bs/person) or 5400Bs if we were four (1350Bs/person), excluding entry tickets. We tried to convince a couple of tourist to come with us without success, so we accepted the price and paid the deposit to leave the next day.
Salt Expedition 🌋
The next day we’ve headed to the office to pay the full amount at 8AM, and started our private journey at 10AM. Because we were only us, we had way more leg space, we could stop anytime making our own schedule and access our luggages way easily in the trunk. Four people in the jeep would have been fine too, but we couldn’t find extra 2 people willing to share the price. Here’s some tips we learnt on the way:
- Bring snacks, water and toilet paper for the three days. You won’t be hungry but it’s nice to have some stuff with you.
- Take warm clothes, in summer (december) it goes around zero celsius at night.
- Bring cash and pocket money with you to pay all the toilets breaks.
- Private tour rocks, but it’s more expensive. The best is to be four people.
- The second hotel is very basic with electricity only few hours at night. Bring charged power banks.
Day one 🏝
Our first stop was at the train cemetery. A pretty cool place where we saw very old train abandoned which used to carry minerals from the mines to the cities, combined with huge mountains in the background.
We then headed to the Salt Desert, stopping by Colchani to see some sad tourist shops. At the first stop in the Salar, we admired some natural paddle of salty water, apparently known for helping curing skin conditions. A 20 minutes drive later, we arrived at the salt hotel nearby to grab a good lunch prepared by our driver, where the DAKAR race used to pass.
After lunch, the proper tour begun. We stopped for 30 minutes in the middle of nowhere to take pictures and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Our driver took some time to explain us the origin of the desert, and also took the best touristic pictures ever.
We then headed to Isla Incahuasi, a beautiful old island where 300 years old cactus flourish. We stopped for one hour, time to get at the top of the island and check-out the impressive view, best stop of the day.
We then carried on driving on the salt, stopped to see the sunset on the desert, and headed to the fancy salt hotel Sal Tambo Loma for the night. The hotel was very good, with nice private shower, super comfy bed, coca tea and personal heaters in the rooms.
Day two 🚶
After waking up at 7AM for a good breakfast, we did a quick toilet stop in San Juan and drove to the Mirador Volcan Ollague. A fantastic place where we enjoyed the view on the semi active volcano at 4200m. We could spot the fog coming from the volcanic erruptions!
We then carried on driving to pass by various lagoons:
- Laguna Canapa: lots of wild flamingos and colourful mountains.
- Laguna Hedionda: lunch stops with view on the lagoon.
- Laguna Honda: nice view from the mirador.
Later, we went up in altitude to checkout the sandy area of the Siloli desert to watch the local rabbit, then to the stone tree with some local foxes around, to finally arrived at the very windy but incredible Laguna Colorada for a coca tea.
We then drove twenty minutes more to our second hotel, Alojamiento Huallajara, which was way more basic and cold, with no showers and electricity only few hours at night.
Day three 🌋
That was the best of all. We woke up very early at 4AM, and started driving to the geysers Sol de Mañana at 5000m altitude to watch the sunrise. A good tip is to walk behind the geysers, at the opposite of all the tourist, to see the mix of light and smoke. Also cover yourself well, it’s bloody cold.
After staying there until the sun was out, we’ve headed to the southern point of our trip, to see the Laguna Verde and the impressive Licancabur Volcano. A very beautiful landscape, few kilometers aways from the Chili’s border.
After all this cold, we’ve started our way back and stopped at the Aguas Termales de Polques to do a bath in 40 degrees water with stunning views.
We then stopped at Villa Mar for a lunch and got closer to local lamas, and made our way back to Uyuni with a last stop at some rocks formations on the way. We finally arrived back in Uyuni around 6PM, got a nice shower and a deep night of sleep.
There’s tons of restaurants in Uyuni, but they all look like crap. Not feeling adventurous after the Barbara’s episode in Santa Cruz, we used our friend google, and found three pretty decent ones:
- MinuteMan Pizza: Located in the Tonito hotel (knock to get in), very good pizza and huge for a good price. Some IPA on the tap too!
- The Hot Spot: The highlight of Uyuni! Recently open by two brothers, the food is incredible. A bit more pricy but here you have a fancy degustation menu of 5 fine dishes.
- The Guardian Coffee Shop: Good coffee and burgers for a decent price!