• Tripadvisor
  • See ALL TOURS Here
  • Tours By Place
  • Salar de Uyuni
  • Lake Titicaca
  • Cochabamba and Santa Cruz
  • Amazon Basin
  • Tours By Type
  • Bolivia Wide
  • Most Popular
  • Overland Expeditions

uyuni tour from chile

  • Recommended:
  • San Pedro de Atacama

uyuni tour from chile

  • See All Trips New

Banjo Tours

  • Sajama National Park
  • Custom Tours




Day 1 - reserve eduardo avaroa.

Welcome to Bolivia!

We leave San Pedro de Atacama early this morning for a short and scenic drive to Bolivia’s remote southwestern border (drive is unaccompanied by guide, only driver). Upon arrival, you will be greeted by our staff who will be ready to assist with migrations procedures if needed.

Once in Bolivia, we start our 4WD adventure entering Eduardo Avaroa Reserve, home to endemic wildlife and protected Andean landscapes. Our first stops are Laguna Blanca and Laguna Verde, two jewels in the middle of an unforgiving high-altitude (4500m) desert. Continuing, we have the opportunity to spend some time in the hot springs of Polques with stunning views of the Bolivian Altiplano. Later, we continue toward the boiling geysers and steam jets of Sol de Mañana at nearly 5000m!

The day’s main highlight is Laguna Colorada with its hundreds of pink flamingos and beautiful volcanic views all around it.

End the day by reaching our very basic lodge (Basic, Standard) or the more comfortable and private hotel (Plus) further north in the evening.


BASIC: Very basic dormitory-style room, shared bathroom, no shower nor hot water (very basic, almost primitive accommodation) Please click/tap here for details and pictures STANDARD: Private room with private bathroom and lukewarm shower Please click/tap here for details and pictures PLUS: In order of availability/preference: Hotel Tayka del Desierto, Los Flamencos Eco Hotel or Mallku Cueva Hotel Please click/tap here for details and pictures

MEALS Lunch, Dinner

SPECIAL INFORMATION Ideally, take some time to acclimatize before this trip as the altitude reaches almost 5000m. Otherwise, talk to your doctor to be prescribed altitude medication e.g. Diamox if needed

Day 2 - Lagoons, deserts & wildlife

Our second day will take us further north to our next destination in Salar de Uyuni (Plus) or the southern rim of it (Basic, Plus).

The morning will see us driving across scenic Andean landscapes, including the “Jewels of the Bolivian Altiplano” (a chain of pristine lagoons home to hundreds of flamingos you can see/photograph up close).

We will also be lucky enough to stop at other beautiful sites such as quirky rock formations and scenic viewpoints. The rest of the day will depend on the time of year in which you join us:

Dry season (May to November)

Plus package: We will enter the mighty Salar de Uyuni in the afternoon and enjoy our first taste of salt plains by driving to the northernmost end of the salt flats where we will be based for the night, not before enjoying the colors of sunset against the white backdrop of the Salar. Sleep in a village in the northern rim of the flats. Accommodation: Tayka Hotel de Sal or Tambo Coqueza

Basic & Standard packages: Our afternoon will be spent driving across remote backcountry and stopping at dramatic viewpoints such as Ollague Volcano viewpoint. We continue north and arrive in a small village just south of Uyuni Salt Flats.

Rainy season (December to April)

Plus package: In the afternoon, we will head toward the town of Colchani (past the town of Uyuni) where we will arrive in the southeastern rim of the salt flats. Here, the famed Salt Hotels are located where we will be able to enjoy a picturesque sunset before arriving in one of these unique hotels. Accommodation: In order of preference/availability: Hotel Palacio de Sal; Luna Salada or Cristal Samaña

Basic & Standard packages: Our afternoon will be spent driving across remote backcountry and stopping at local villages on the way to the town of Uyuni. We arrive by evening in Uyuni where lodging and fresh meals are available.

BASIC: Basic room, shared bathroom, may have hot shower Please click/tap here for details and pictures STANDARD: Private room with private bathroom and hot shower Please click/tap here for details and pictures PLUS: Hotel Tayka de Sal (dry season) or either of the following salt hotels in order of availability: Palacio de Sal, Luna Salada or Cristal Samaña (rainy season) Please click/tap here for details and pictures

MEALS Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

SPECIAL INFORMATION Your choice of package level will affect the location of your accommodation today. However, regardless of the package, you will see/visit all the same attractions, only in a different order/day

Day 3 - Salar de Uyuni

A full day is dedicated to enjoying the trip’s grand finale: Salar de Uyuni.

Plus: On our Plus package and in the dry season, we will visit the northern part of the salt flats, including the lesser-known village of Coqueza, gateway to the gorgeous Volcan Thunupa. You will optionally have the opportunity/time to take a moderate hike to an ancient site but what really stands out is the unmatched view of the entire extension of the Salar. Later, visit and hike to the top of Isla Incahuasi (easy to moderate hike) to enjoy the 360-degree views all around as well as the giant cacti growing on this bizarre island.

Basic & Standard: We will enter the salt flats through the southwestern end, immediately being mesmerized by the vastness and whiteness of this unique desert. Spend the rest of the day enjoying the deep-perspective effect which works great for fun photographs as well as climbing Incahuasi Island with its giant cacti to appreciate the sheer size of the salt flats thanks to the 360-degree view from here.

Plus, Basic & Standard: In the rainy season, you will enter the salt flats through the southeastern rim (all packages) and pass through the village of Colchani where you will be able to see its colorful market and optionally, a rustic, salt-processing plant. Most of the day will be spent slowly driving along the shore of the salt flats as it is not possible to drive much further.

Immediately, we are in awe by the perfect “mirror” of the sky at our feet. Take your time to find the perfect reflection as well as playing with the deep-perspective effect offered by the endless, flooded plains. Later in the afternoon (all packages), after plenty of time for photographs and good fun has been had, we will exit the salt flats and drive southbound, past the town of Uyuni (and a brief stop in the Train Cemetery). We will arrive in the village of Mallku Villamar for a good night’s rest.

Meals included Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

BASIC: Very basic room, shared bathroom, no hot shower Please click/tap here for details and pictures STANDARD: Private room with private bathroom and lukewarm shower Please click/tap here for details and pictures PLUS: Hotel Mallku Cueva in the village of Villamar (if no availability, a similar-level hotel will be offered) Please click/tap here for details and pictures

Day 4 - Return to San Pedro de Atacama

The last day of our expedition will see us enjoying the last of the Bolivian highlands on the way to the border.

If you opted for a shared transfer from the border to San Pedro, you will have to be up by 4 AM this morning to be able to make the 9 AM bus. If you opted for a private transfer (recommended), departure time will be as usual, after breakfast in order to arrive at the border around noon.

Once at the border, our staff will help you board the next vehicle that will take you to San Pedro de Atacama arriving around noon (shared transfer, drop off is downtown) or about 4 PM (private transfer, drop off at hotel) where our services end.


  • This trip covers around 1000 Km in four days of off road driving at high altitude and cold climate
  • The trip can be easily enjoyed if you are prepared. It is recommended you read the itinerary before booking
  • You may attempt to form a small group of people to reduce costs, but bear in mind that the more people in the vehicle, the less comfortable the trip will be. Consider that you will be driving through rugged terrain and in most parts, it cannot even be considered a road (which is why we use top-notch 4WD vehicles)
  • It is ideal if you are headed from San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni and want to be back on the last day. If you do not wish to go back to San Pedro, consider our three-day tour instead (See our San Pedro to Uyuni 3-Day Uyuni Salt Flats tour)
  • Please note that the itinerary is modified during the rainy months of Dec to April (see itinerary)



  • Camera/drone
  • Effective sun protection (sunscreen, sunglasses, hat)
  • Warm layers as temperatures drop considerably in the evenings and mornings
  • Bathing suit, sandals
  • Comfortable hiking shoes
  • Money in Bolivianos for national park entrance fees and personal spending (drinks, souvenirs, tips, etc) unless you request admission fees to be included in the final price


  • We are a tour operator, not a travel agency. We organize this trip by putting everything from transport to accommodation providers together to make sure it works as flawlessly as possible. Our trusted partners both in Chile and Bolivia have been tried and tested and we put our name confidently up front because we trust the safety and reliability they offer. A travel agency merely books you with a tour operator earning a commission for themselves and not giving a lot of care to your experience
  • We put safety at the top of our priorities. We know Bolivia and Chile inside out and the roads, towns, villages, deserts, etc. that are safe to travel through. By using our services, you can rest assured that we will get you to your destination at the end of every day safely


  • The itinerary may suffer changes without previous notice due to factors outside our direct control such as weather and road conditions. If we are forced to alter the itinerary in any way, it will be based on good judgment and necessary modifications for your own safety and comfort and you will be promptly notified. We never alter or skip attractions in the itinerary without explaining the reasoning behind any possible change and providing adequate proof that such change may be necessary. Therefore, you should not take the above itinerary as “set in stone” and we will not he held liable for any loss or damage that you may feel arising from such changes made for your benefit.
  • Please note that the itinerary differs in the rainy season from the itinerary in the dry season. We will not be held liable/responsible for failure to read this information
  • This region is a remote area that lacks the usual comforts of the modern world. You should not expect high standards of accommodation, hot water is available some of the time (according to respective package) and electricity is available for a few hours or more where possible.
  • Food is handled hygienically and it is our priority and job that you are satisfied with the limited resources available in this region. Vegetarians are welcome, but should not expect special menus as we do what we can to serve appropriate portions of vegetables and fruit in the vegetarian menu
  • During the rainy season (December to March/April) some parts of the salt flats may be inaccessible such as Incahuasi Island and time on the actual salt flats is limited. Most of the regular itinerary is followed as normal

The following are dates in which other people have shown interest in forming a group for this tour. Use the ENQUIRY tab to request a new date or join one of the dates below to form a group and obtain the respective price. The number of interested persons is shown for your reference and you will be updated via email if other people are interested in the same date. If your party consist of four persons, we suggest booking a tour outright to confirm departure.


What's included.

  • Transportation by private vehicle from San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni for 4 days
  • Spanish-speaking driver (digital guide in IOS or Android app included) or English speaking guide (price varies)
  • 3 nights’ accommodation according to selected package
  • 4 lunches, 3 dinners, 3 breakfasts
  • Bottled water


  • National park and other sites’ admission fees: Approx. 30 USD, paid only local currency (Bolivianos/BOB). Please exchange to BOB before you leave San Pedro de Atacama (you may choose to have these included at the time of booking).
  • Soft/fizzy and alcoholic drinks
  • Optional tips/gratuities (highly recommended, but not mandatory)

uyuni tour from chile

  • Ask a Question

uyuni tour from chile

  • Related Tours


Write a review

  • We suggest you also


How to Plan the Salar de Uyuni Tour from San Pedro de Atacama

Salar de Uyuni

If you’re planning on doing the Salar de Uyuni tour from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile and looking for detailed information about the adventure then you’ve come to the right place! This page will discuss everything there is to know about exploring the magical Bolivian salt flats when you’re coming from the Atacama Desert in Chile.

The Bolivian salt flats, Salar de Uyuni, are the largest and highest salt flats on the planet. Covering 3900 square miles at an elevation of nearly 12,000 feet (3650m), you won’t find anything else quite like this elsewhere in the world.

If you are not familiar with salt flats, it’s exactly what it sounds like; a flat plain of salty earth. The landscape is truly fascinating. We loved every minute of our tour and still dream of that sunrise over the salt flats. The tour featured so much more than just the salt flats though, so read on to see what this part of the world has to offer and why you should book that trip to Bolivia starting in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile!

Salar de Uyuni – What You Need to Know

Booking your salar de uyuni tour, salar de uyuni tour basics, salar de uyuni tour highlights.

Note: this article contains affiliate links, which means that should you purchase something or get a quote through them I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps keep the site running with up to date information. I do not represent World Nomads, Booking.com, or GetYourGuide. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy the product mentioned in this article.

Where is Salar de Uyuni?

Salar de Uyuni is in the southwestern corner of Bolivia, high in the Andes Mountains. The closest major city is La Paz, Bolivia, though many places in Chile are far closer.

How to get to Salar de Uyuni

There are multiple options for how to see the salt flats, ranging from doing it yourself using public transportation to a multi-day organized tour. The quickest way will be to fly to the town of Uyuni from La Paz or Santa Cruz and take a day tour from there.

However, for a more fascinating tour of the volcanic landscape of the Andes in southwest Bolivia I highly recommend doing a 4-day / 3-night Salar de Uyuni tour from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile . This post focuses on that option. 

Chris Heckmann and Nimarta Bawa at Volcanic Lake in Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni from San Pedro Tour Cost

It’s possible to see the salt flats on your own, but you will see so much more with an organized tour. The tours are very cheap, as Bolivia is a very poor country. We went with Lithium Aventura (Lithium Adventures). Including transportation, lodging, all food, and the guide, it cost only about $50 USD per person per day, which is pretty standard for the basic tours. 

There are more luxurious tour options, and if you opt to do a private tour and not a combined group tour you’ll naturally pay well more than this. 

The currency in Bolivia is Bolivianos and if you want to purchase anything from the local towns you will need cash. You likely won’t encounter a bank or ATM until you get to the town of Uyuni after you visit the salt flats, so you will need to get some Bolivianos in San Pedro de Atacama. You will also need cash for tipping your guide/driver, though they will be happy to accept USD or EUR. 

Weather and when to do the tour

The weather is tricky up in the salt flats. You are very high in elevation, so nights and mornings can be very cold. But when the sun shines during the day it reflects off the white salt and it can be very hot.

It doesn’t rain much at Salar de Uyuni – only 5 inches per year – and if it does rain your trip could be ruined as the salt flats will flood. It can be beautiful to see this layer of water on the flats, reflecting the nearby mountains, but it can seriously hamper your movement around the flats.  

The rain usually falls in summer (Dec – Feb) so to be safe your best time would be outside of those months, though it will be a bit colder. That being said, I went in January and it only rained and that was on the first day. Luckily it didn’t rain up in the salt flats for me. The best time of year to visit would be Feb-April and Oct-Nov.

Your tour guide/driver and the people working at local hotels and cafes will most likely not speak any English. If no one in your group speaks Spanish, you will miss out on some of the information the guide can provide. Our guide could only speak a few words of English, though we had one person on our tour that spoke Spanish, so that really helped. 

Food on the tour

This part of Bolivia is not really for foodies. Don’t expect great food here in the mountains. The meals provided on the tour are mediocre at best. They are mostly rice and meat based or pasta based. Talk to the tour operator when you book if you’re a vegetarian and see what they can arrange for you. 

I will say, however, that the mangoes I bought on the side of the road in Uyuni were the best mangoes I’ve ever tasted in my life. If you see fresh fruit for sale, it’s gonna be pretty damn good.

Salar de Uyuni elevation

If you have ever struggled with altitude sickness you should speak with your doctor before committing to this trip. Most of the trip is spent high in the mountains, considerably higher than you can go in the United States unless you’re climbing Denali in Alaska.

You will top out at about 16,250 feet (4950m) and not get any lower than about 12,000 feet (3650m). There is not really any time to acclimatize, but San Pedro itself is about 7900 feet (2400m) so if you spend a few days there first it will help. There is not much hiking on the tour, so that helps with avoiding altitude sickness.  

You should expect to see quite a few llamas and thousands of flamingos, but not much else, maybe an elusive fox or two. There is very little vegetation along the tour route, so not ideal grounds for wildlife. You also won’t see a tree the entire trip, just a few species of cactus.

Poverty and litter

Bolivia is a pretty poor country. Nearly 40 percent of the country lives in poverty, and it’s higher in rural regions where you will be on this tour. The extreme poverty makes it very cheap to travel here, but remember how fortunate you are compared to the locals when you are there.

In a small village in the mountains I played soccer with a little boy named Santiago on a dirt pitch without a single patch of grass with a dilapidated old ball. It broke my heart seeing this kid playing in such poor conditions and knowing that he’ll likely never be able to experience playing on a grass pitch. Of all the poverty I saw in Bolivia, this image sticks with me. 

I am always saddened to see the amount of litter everywhere in developing nations, and Bolivia was no exception. Sanitary services are lacking and locals just throw their garbage anywhere. As a tourist, do your part to keep Bolivia beautiful and don’t litter just because the locals do it. 

Tourist Visa

Bolivia offers visa free travel for nearly everyone from developed nations. But not for Americans. If you’re an American going to Bolivia you need to be prepared with $160 USD of cash (in good condition) to pay when you enter the country, whether by air or land. There are some forms and you need to show proof of travel accommodations and proof you will leave the country.

Technically you are also required to show you have been vaccinated for Yellow Fever, but if you do the Salar de Uyuni tour from San Pedro de Atacama this will not be required, as the elevation you will be at is so high that mosquitoes are not present. If you are going to Uyuni a different way, like through the airport in La Paz, be prepared to show your vaccination card. 

Where to stay in San Pedro de Atacama

To do this tour you’ll base yourself in the Chilean resort town of San Pedro de Atacama. It’s a beautiful little town that is catered to tourists so you have a ton of options for booking your hotel or hostel.

We stayed at Hostal Candelaria and highly recommend it for a comfortable and very affordable stay. We had a few nights booked at a $200/night resort outside of town and had such a horrible experience we left after one night and went back to Candelaria.

You can check out all the properties in San Pedro de Atacama on booking.com here .

Salar de Uyuni tour - salt flats

Travel Insurance

For your trip across the desert I recommend purchasing travel insurance so that you’re protected for the unexpected. We use World Nomads and had a good experience the one time we unfortunately had to actually use it. World Nomads provides coverage to travelers in over 100 countries. You can search for a coverage plan using the link below.

uyuni tour from chile

As mentioned before, the best way to see Salar de Uyuni is with an organized tour and this post focuses on the 4 day / 3 night tour from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.

If you are on a very, very tight budget you can see the salt flats on your own , but you will miss out on a lot of amazing places that you can only get to with a 4×4 off-road vehicle. For the vast majority of the drive there are no actual roads. You cruise along sandy trails and drive freely on the salt flats.

The tours are all small groups, as only 6 or 7 people can fit into the SUVs that the tour companies use, so it doesn’t even feel like a group tour. Using a licensed tour company is absolutely the way to go. 

How to book the tour

It is easy to book a tour online by email with one of the operators or using an online tour booking platform like GetYourGuide . You can check out the various options for a Salar de Uyuni tour from San Pedro de Atacama using the banner below.

But even if you don’t plan ahead, you will have no problem booking something in San Pedro. There is always availability to squeeze a few more people in. We literally booked our tour the day before it left.

In the city center there is a street that is lined with tour offices . Posters on the window advertise various tours. Nearly all the operators will offer tours to Salar de Uyuni and they will all offer a pretty similar experience.

We chose Lithium Adventura based on online reviews and the fact that someone at their office spoke English. I can certainly recommend them, but can’t say the others aren’t just as good. They were up front about how our guide/driver would not speak English so we appreciated that.

I also appreciated that they warned me that as an American I would need $160 of cash in USD (see visa requirements above). I had to go to a bank and withdraw cash in USD. You can also go to an exchange kiosk, as these are everywhere around town. 

More interested in hiking in the Andes? Then the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu might be for you!

We paid for the tour in cash directly to the office and we were booked for a 7:20 AM pickup the next day. The process was incredibly easy. My biggest gripe was that my Bolivian visa would cost more than the tour itself!

When we did the tour it was about $150 USD for a 4 day / 3 night tour (currently more like $200-$300 as of 2023). It’s an incredibly affordable trip for what you get. 

PRO TIP: if you’re on a longer jaunt around South America don’t take all your luggage with you on the tour. Make sure to book ahead where you will stay on the day you get back to San Pedro and go there beforehand to drop your bags. In the SUV there is not much room and all luggage is kept atop the vehicle. Pack lightly if you can. 

There are various tour options for Salar de Uyuni from San Pedro de Atacama. The most popular – and the one we did and have dedicated this post to – is the 4 day / 3 night San Pedro to Uyuni and back excursion. The tour includes three nights of lodging in basic accommodations as well as food, which is typically served at the lodges (though really they are more like hostels).

Accommodation types

The type of room you get at the lodges seems to vary based on what’s available at the lodge that particular day. The first night we slept in a dorm style room with four of our tour mates in the middle of nowhere. The other two nights we had private rooms with twin beds.

The rooms were very basic. There was no AC or heat, but the weather was pretty temperate so that didn’t really matter. Electricity is off and on. You are off the grid here so everything is run on generator power. Bathrooms will be shared.

Meals will be served at specific times (dinner is late in the evening) and will be pretty basic rice or pasta based entrees. An appropriate way to describe the food would be mediocre at best.  

Salar de Uyuni tour

Days in the Jeep

You will spend most of your day packed in the SUV riding across dirt and sand so try to get comfortable. The SUVs are reliable, but old. The tour is off road, so breakdowns are relatively common. The drivers are all basically licensed mechanics though, so you’re not gonna get stuck.

If all this sounds a bit much like roughing it to you there are other more luxurious options. Some tour operators will offer upgrades to stay overnight at actual hotels, but you also have the option to book a private tour tailored to your needs. There are some pretty glamorous hotels near the salt flats. Expect these private tours to be anywhere from 5 to 25 times the cost of a group tour however. 

The route between San Pedro and Salar de Uyuni is loaded with spectacular sights. Conical mountains of active volcanoes rise from the red and brown valley. You won’t see a tree anywhere around here. Pink flamingos fly around you as smoke from geothermal pools of boiling water carries off into the distance. Valleys of endless sand and funky rocks stretch on as far as the eye can see. And you still haven’t even reached the salt flats.

After experiencing this exotic landscape of what seems like it should be another planet you reach the flats. Here you freely drive along the endless white plains of salty earth, small mountains covered in giant cacti scattered here and there.  (Note that the route shown in the map below is not an exact representation of the trip, as Google Maps cannot account for all the off-roading that is done)

Salar de Uyuni

After being picked up from your accommodation in San Pedro de Atacama you will ride on a bus to the Bolivian border. You’ll climb straight up about 5000 feet in elevation until you’re as high as the tip of the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States.

At the border you’ll get split into the smaller group that you’ll be with for the rest of the tour. We ended up in a Land Cruiser with 4 other travelers and our driver, Carlos.

You will spend the entire first day in Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve of Flora and Fauna. This is a large national park that costs an extra 150 Bolivianos (about $22 USD, not included in the tour). Known for its lakes full of flamingos and giant volcanoes, you’ll most likely spend your first night here in a very basic lodge. 

Laguna Verde on the Salar de Uyuni tour in Bolivia

Key stops on day 1

Some of the key stops on the first day are: 

  • Laguna Verde (green lake) 
  • Laguna Blanca (white lake)
  • Sol de Mañana (geothermal area with smoking ponds and geysers)
  • Laguna Colorada (red lake known for its flamingos) 
  • Desierto Salvador Dalí (Salvador Dali desert, named after the painter due to its raw and rugged terrain)
  • Termas de Polques (hot springs, just a tiny pool, I didn’t go in)

a flamingo at Pink lake in Bolivia

Driving around this park, you really feel like you’ve left earth and landed on Mars. The scenes of flamingos eating from pink and red lakes with snow-capped volcanoes in the background are simply stunning. You’ll have plenty of time to walk around all these uniquely colorful lakes and take photos.  

The second day is a long day in the Land Cruiser, the focus being on getting to Salar de Uyuni for the night. But you will pass quite a few more lakes and odd rock formations, such as Arbol de Piedra (Tree rock), a rock that resembles a tree. It’s the closest thing you’ll get to seeing an actual tree on this tour. The region between Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve and Salar de Uyuni is barren, with funky rock formations protruding from the desert sand everywhere you look.

Tree Rock in the high desert of southern Bolivia

You might stop in the tiny town of Villa Martin to try some quinoa beer. Quinoa production is one of the main sources of income in this part of Bolivia. There are quinoa farms all over the place around here. The quinoa beer is expensive compared to everything else in Bolivia, but do the locals a favor and try it.

Here in town you’ll also see your first sightings of the Bolivian echinopsis atacamensis . This is a cactus species that looks strikingly similar to the American saguaro cactus found in Arizona. I love cacti so I was super excited to see these things growing in Bolivia. 

Cactus in Bolivia

You will spend the second night of the tour in a hostel literally made out of salt. We stayed at the Hostel de Sal , but if you don’t stay there it will be something similar. Instead of using stone or brick and mortar to build masonry structures, they use salt blocks in this part of the world. Even the tables, beds, and furniture were made of salt. Everything except the roof. I found this building made of salt absolutely fascinating.

Key stops on day 2

The second day on tour isn’t quite as other-worldly as the first day, but you’ll still see some cool things like:

  • Villa Martin
  • Hostel de Sal

Hostel de Sal near Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

You’ll wake early – like 4:30 AM early – to get an early start to the day. The sun rises early and you will watch it from an “island” in the salt flats. Salar de Uyuni – the Bolivian salt flats – is the highlight of the tour. It’s what you came all this way for.

An endless field of white salt with seams in a hexagonal format (hard to describe, refer to the photos), cactus-clad mountains in the background.

Salar de Uyuni tour - salt flats

The “island” actually was an island once when the salt flat was at the bottom of the ocean, but today it’s more of just a little mountain in the middle of the flats. Climb up to the highest point on the island for a beautiful view of the sun rising over the white valley floor. You’ll have a little time to watch the sun illuminate the salt flats before breakfast, which you’ll enjoy at the base of the island. 

If you like this cacti then you’ll love Saguaro National Park in Arizona!

Salar de Uyuni cactus

The rest of the morning you will get time to find an isolated spot of the salt flats and experiment with some perspective pictures. See my examples below. The flats are huge so your driver will know of somewhere he can take you to get away from other people.

Not including sunrise on the island and breakfast, you’ll probably get about an hour on the flats for photos, which is enough time in my opinion. When you’re done at the world’s largest and highest salt flats you will head east towards the town of Uyuni. 

Perspective photos on the Salar de Uyuni Tour in Bolivia

There are a few more spots along the way where you’ll stop for lunch and shopping should you wish to buy something, then you’ll arrive in Uyuni and check out a place called the Train Cemetery just south of town. This place is full of rusted steel shells of old trains.

You’ll get about two hours of free time in Uyuni before it’s time to start on your way back to San Pedro. There is not much to see in Uyuni itself. We ended up just going to a café and sitting out in the sun with a beer.

Just note that if you purchase any fresh produce you cannot take it back to Chile, so you will have to finish it before the next morning. We did not know this at the time and ended up chowing down on four giant mangos for dessert that night. 

Key stops on day 3

You will make better time on the way back to San Pedro as there will not be any stops. You even get to drive on some paved roads. We stayed in a small village called Villamar Mallcu on the way back. The highlights of your third day are:

  • The salt flats at Salar de Uyuni
  • Train Cemetery

You will again wake up at the crack of dawn so the driver can take you back to the Chilean border by about 11 AM, where the bus will be waiting to take you back to San Pedro. What a journey it has been! 

Kissing on the salt flats in Bolivia

The 4 day / 3 night tour from San Pedro de Atacama to Salar de Uyuni is a trip I recommend everyone to take at some point in their life. The entire journey is stunning and you’ll see some of the most spectacular volcanic landscapes the world has to offer.

Even when including the cost of the Bolivian visa for Americans, the trip is still worth it and very affordable for what you get. I hope you have a great time on your adventure through Bolivia!

' src=

Chris Heckmann

The inca trail trek to machu picchu – how to plan and book, how to spend one day in bruges, belgium, you may also like, the inca trail trek to machu picchu –..., 10 comments.

[…] comfort but also contribute positively to the places they visit. Look for those who have received positive traveler reviews for their commitment to […]

' src=

Thank you for the detailed summary of your trip. One question: how rough was the ride on the unpaved roads in the jeep? Were all extremities flying around or was it more of a constant shake? My gf has problems with her spine, so any upfront information would be really helpful to us. Thanks in advance!

Hi Mathias,

I don’t recall it being too bumpy, but it is all dirt roads or just open sand, and it’s pretty tighlty packed in the Jeeps. I don’t believe the roads were in poor condition and think they were quite smoothe. But don’t quote me on that! I don’t think it will be a problem for someone with back problems, but it might be good to inquire with one of the tour operators as they will have the best info on the latest road conditions.

' src=

Nice summary. I know it’s possible to do the same trip but with Uyuni as final destination. Do you know a good company for this trip? I plan to go there next July. Thanks!

Hi Thierry, I recommend Lithium Adventura. There’s a link to their webiste in the post. They offer the one way version as well. So I’d check them out!

Thanks Chris!

Hi Chris, Another question: do you know if it’s possible to do a 4 or 5 day-trip from San Pedro to Uyuni or Tupiza *including* the Sud Lipez?

Thierry, I had to look up Sud Lipez, but I believe you’re referring to the volanic high mountains of southern Bolivia where the pink lakes are and the flamingos and all that stuff, right? The route to Salar de Uyuni goes through that region of Bolivia and tha majority of the tour is actually in that area. Unless you’re referring to somewhere else? I believe 3 nights 4 days is the longest tour, at least that Lithium offers. You might be able to contact them to request a custom tour though!

' src=

Great information folks! Thank you.

Glad you found it useful!

Leave a Comment Cancel Reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

  • Work With Me
  • Netherlands
  • The Bahamas
  • Turks and Caicos
  • United States
  • New Zealand
  • Netherlands Travel
  • Custom Travel Planning
  • Top 10 Lists
  • Dutch Culture
  • Indian Culture

Rainforest Cruises

  • Amazon River
  • Galápagos Islands
  • Indonesian Archipelago
  • Mekong River
  • Irrawaddy River
  • India Cruises
  • Pacific Coast
  • Patagonia Cruises
  • Machu Picchu
  • Iguazu Falls

uyuni tour from chile

  • South America

Atacama Desert & Uyuni

uyuni tour from chile

Discover an unearthly realm of unbridled adventure on this ten-night Atacama to Uyuni Salt Flats tour, a private and privileged pilgrimage of deep immersion along the ancient Incan Qhapaq Nan trail across the altiplano between Chile and Bolivia.

Exclusive, All-Inclusive Excursions

The ultimate in extreme exploration, this Salar De Uyuni tour from San Pedro De Atacama will take you on a remote yet culturally rich route through some of the world’s most dramatic landscapes and unique ecosystems imaginable, from the arid desert delights of Atacama to the spectacular saline scenery of the Uyuni Salt Flats.

You’ll have the exclusive comforts of your own vehicle, chauffeured by your very own private local driver, and escorted by your own encyclopaedic Explora guide to assist, inspire and enrich your journey every step of the way.

With their help, you’ll effectively choose your own path from a multitude of different daily explorations of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty, so each day can be paced and tailored to your own particular interests, or how you’re feeling.

Along the way you’ll explore three different altitude zones, discovering first-hand their unique geographic, cultural and biospheric characteristics. Hike to breathtaking viewpoints with panoramic vistas of the altiplano and salt flats (which you can also cycle over), scale volcanoes, relax in hot springs, stargaze under clear Andean skies, and even spot puma tracks, all whilst unraveling the rich human history of the region.

Little Luxurious Lodges

Explora are renowned for their remarkable, sustainable South American lodges in some of the continent’s most remote and precious locations, and their Explora Atacama and Explora Uyuni lodges, where this expedition starts and ends, are no exception.

Explora Atacama has 50 rooms, indulgent spa facilities and its own observatory, and provides an oasis of calm for your opening days of acclimatization and exploration of the sand dunes, geysers, hot springs, and volcanoes of this desert domain. Explora Uyuni is the latest of their lodges, a minimalist mirage of scandi-style luxury amid the dreamlike salt-scape of the final destination of your tour.

En route to Explora Uyuni, you’ll stay in two beautiful, aptly-named “Mountain Homes” in Chituca – a former shepherding settlement steeped in history and surrounded by hidden villages, necropolises and petroglyphs – and Ramaditas – a remarkable region surrounded by flamingo-filled and vicuña-lined lagoons – both exquisite bases from which to explore their surrounds and recuperate from the days’ excursions.

The Mountain Homes have space for just 12 travelers in 6 rooms, and the Explore Uyuni lodge space for 16 in 8 rooms respectively, all with en-suite bathrooms, as well as a separate dining and lounge areas serving sublime indigenous cuisine from Bolivian Chef Mauricio Lópex (of famed Ancestral restaurant in La Paz), all made with locally sourced ingredients and accompanied by wines from the region.

Established in partnership with local families and designed by award-winning Chilean architect Max Núñez, these Mountain Homes and lodges have been painstakingly planned to avoid interference with, blend into, and highlight the landscapes around them, and have been carefully constructed so as to be reversible and leave no permanent footprint.

Altitude & Altiplano Safety

Your team have been traveling this route, exploring the furthermost reaches of the altiplano, and perfecting their portfolio of excursions for over 15 years, and know the region better than many of the locals you’ll meet along the way.

Such remote adventure is not without its dangers, but rest safe in the knowledge that they have all the necessary equipment and infrastructure to ensure your safety and that of the inhabitants and wildlife of the pristine landscapes you’ll discover.

Your guide has Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification as proof of their knowledge and skills to aid people in isolated areas, and the all-terrain vehicles are endowed with satellite communication and navigation systems, VHF radio, and oxygen – which may come in useful on a journey that for the most part fluctuates between 3,600 and 4,700 m.a.s.l. (although the itinerary has been carefully crafted to slowly adapt you to the altitude, starting from Atacama which lies at 2,400 m.a.s.l.).

From the driest desert on earth to its biggest salt flats, to experience this astonishing journey across the altiplano is sure to be one of the most remarkable adventures of your lifetime. Please note the season for this Atacama Desert and Uyuni tour is from mid-April to mid-December, and may also be done in reverse.

Itinerary & Prices

All itineraries are subject to change due to seasonal weather conditions (and resultant variations in river and tributary water levels) affecting accessibility to locations. Thus navigation routes, times and excursions may need to be modified at the cruise captain’s or your guide's discretion.

itinerary map

San Pedro De Atacama, Chile

We pick you up at the Calama airport and transfer you to the oasis of San Pedro de Atacama, located at 2,407 meters above sea level/ 7,897 feets above sea level. It is a 1-hour drive to the explora Atacama, where your arrival sparks an immersion in the essence of the remote. After your welcome, we introduce you to the region with an opening talk. Next, you and a guide decide together where and what you will be exploring in the next few days.

We do recommend you start off by exploring the oasis, the La Sal and Domeyko mountain ranges, the Atacama salt flat and the unparalleled canyons, landscapes and ecosystems. After that, adventuring yourself over the Altiplano’s 4,000 m.a.s.l/ 13,123 f.a.s.l. is an experience you will not regret. But above all, experiencing the Puritama hot springs with your own senses is a must.

This is the perfect start for the transforming journey ahead of you. Warm up body and mind by unravelling the many charms that astonishingly bloom in the Atacama desert.

uyuni tour from chile

Atacama Desert, Chile

Delve into the world’s driest desert and feel its inextricable aura in every landscape. The plan you and your guide have idealised together begins to unfold at your own pace in this private programme.

The activities range from light to difficulty levels, short to long durations, and multiple exploration methods: hiking, horseback, bike rides, drives and short walks, and even mountain climbing, for the adventurous-spirited. And remember: any weather makes a perfect day for exploring. But if the skies happen to be clear, dive into the fresh desert night sky in an astronomy session in the observatory in search of the Southern Cross, Orion and other constellations.

uyuni tour from chile

Depending on your tailored travel plan, you’ll participate in your chosen activities, discovering the lunar landscapes of Atacama. The desert hides striking geographic features: active geysers and white salt flats, multi-colored lagoons, thermal baths, volcanoes and dunes among many others, all waiting to be explored.

Perhaps you’ll hike along ancient shepherding routes, visit the vestiges of fascinating pre-Columbian civilizations, or climb the sinuous slopes of the Licancabur volcano as you become further acquainted with this strange and wonderful territory.

uyuni tour from chile

Crossing The Border To Bolivia

Time to get back on the move. As sunlight cracks the deep blue sky, we depart from San Pedro de Atacama early in the morning and leave behind the oasis – but all we have lived and learned these first few days remains with us for life.

We begin the trip through the Andes and reach the border at Hito Cajón, 47 km/ 29 miles away from our starting point. We are now in Bolivia. Along with an explora guide, we switch vehicles and carry on our journey through the captivating entrails of the Altiplano.

The exploration continues as we go. We visit the Sol de la Mañana geysers and a myriad of salt flats, wetlands and lagoons. The Colorada lagoon is the perfect spot to sight flamingos in their natural habitat, and also where we savour lunch as we gaze at the colours of the Altiplano vividly mingling.

We then proceed until we reach the mountain home at Ramaditas, where we watch the sun set into the horizon and finally rest for a new day. As we close our eyes, we can feel and listen to the vast silence, the lonely beauty of the territory we have just started to unearth.

uyuni tour from chile

Fresh exploration possibilities come to life with every inch of the Altiplano illuminated by the new morning. Ahead of you: a day full of discoveries.

Choose from hikes, overlands, and mountain climbs to unfold the beauty and spirit within the shimmering lagoons, vast valleys, bewildering salt flats and majestic rocky formations – some of them so grand we call “cathedrals” – surrounding the mountain home.

When night starts to fall, we return to the refuge and spend the evening at the heart of the Altiplano, connecting with nature and with ourselves.

uyuni tour from chile

Ramaditas To Chituca

The wondrous landscapes are never-ending as we approach the Uyuni salt flat. In the morning, we set off to Chituca, where we will spend the next night –we get to walk through ancient mines and valleys on the way.

The Turquiri lagoon, with its great diversity of birds and rock formations, is the perfect setting for a restoring lunch, followed by the time to explore the region in greater depth: you may choose between hiking or alternating drives and short walks.

After the exploration is done, we continue the drive towards Chituca, where we will learn about the culture and lifestyle of local families.

uyuni tour from chile

Exploring Chituca

Another new day in Chituca allures deeper exploration of this abundant region. You may delve into the wonders of the territory in a full-day exploration, or return for lunch at the mountain home.

Trail ancient routes, discover shepherds’ havens, sight the colours of quinoa plantations, decipher petroglyphs and pictoglyphs that depict Andean history, and even climb the mountains to presence the region’s active volcano.

At nightfall, the silence of the Altiplano fills the air as we wonder at the starry shimmering sky, which has served as a map for the people in the region for centuries and at which we will be able to have an exceptional look through astronomical binoculars.

uyuni tour from chile

Chituca To Uyuni

After a fulfilling breakfast, we set off to one of the explorations of your choice. Explore the surroundings, roaming the cactus forest and the ancient agricultural terraces nearby. Or visit the village of San Pedro de Quemes, a former Spanish settlement with bewildering panoramic views of the Altiplano and the salt flat. We then continue our journey towards the Gruta de Las Galaxias, an astonishing cave with rare geological formations where you will discover and experience a fascinating part of Andean history.

Resuming our trip, 10,000 km2/ 3,861 mi2 of pure white majestically emerge out of thin air before us – we arrive at the Uyuni salt flat. This is the salt flat with the greatest area and the highest altitude on Earth, located at 3,665 m.a.s.l./ 12,024 f.a.s.l. We stop for lunch at the salt flat, where your next expedition sets off: an explorative hike at the Pescado Island or an overland journey to it. Once complete, we drive to the Uyuni lodge, settled on the slopes of the Tunupa volcano.

uyuni tour from chile

Exploring Uyuni

Take in the astounding view over the Uyuni salt flat from the comfort of our lodge, operated in partnership with local families. Your guide will help you decide the explorations you would like to go on. You can choose from hikes, overland trips, and bike rides.

Climbing the multi-hued slopes of the Tunupa Volcano up to 5,432 m.a.s.l/ 17,835 f.a.s.l., biking across a section of the salt flat, or cruising the slopes of the volcano and stopping by at villages along the way are a few of the possibilities. What you see here will remain imprinted in your heart, soul and fondest memory for the rest of your life.

uyuni tour from chile

Exploring Uyuni Salt Flats

Witnessing the sunrise, or indeed sunset and moonrise (“killa” in Quechua language), on the salt flat are nothing short of astonishing, as the amazing changes in light cover and transform the vast white ocean beneath your feet, and imbue the sky with reddish tones. If you are lucky enough to be present during a full moon, the sunset can be seen to the west while the moon rises to the east.

Between these remarkable events, learn about the agriculture and way of life of the region by visiting the extensive kinua (an Andean staple) plantations in south area of the volcano, and the ranches, schools and farming areas of the salt flat’s surrounding small villages.

Those who prefer to hike may walk across one of the salt flat’s largest islands, Isla Pescado, in the middle of the Uyuni Salt Flat for a unique 360-degree view of its vastness, or take to an abandoned section of the ancient Incan Qhapaq Ñan trail between two villages, surrounded by Andean wildlife such as llamas, vicuñas, sheep, and even foxes or pumas.

uyuni tour from chile

The last day of the Travesía. After a nourishing breakfast, we drive across the eastern area of the salt flat towards the Uyuni airport, recalling all we have lived for the past days as we gaze off into the rare beauty and enormity of this extraordinary place. A last glance. For now.

uyuni tour from chile


Cruises & lodges.

uyuni tour from chile

Explora Atacama

uyuni tour from chile

Explora Uyuni

Related tours.

uyuni tour from chile

Galapagos, Easter Island & Machu Picchu

uyuni tour from chile

Chile & Argentina Patagonia

Amazing Awasi Hotel Patagonia Chile

Best Of Patagonia & Chile

uyuni tour from chile

Chile & Easter Island

uyuni tour from chile

Patagonia & Atacama Desert

uyuni tour from chile

Torres Del Paine & Chile Wine

uyuni tour from chile

Secrets Of South Bolivia

uyuni tour from chile

Amazon Forest & Inca Sites Of Bolivia

Arriving Torres Del Paine Park

Patagonia Adventure

Hiking Beautiful Torres Del Paine Chile

W Trek Patagonia Chile

uyuni tour from chile

Bolivia Trekking & Cycling Death Road

uyuni tour from chile

Laguna Route Bolivia

Waterfall Lakes District Chile

Chile Desert & Lake District

  • I'd like to be contacted via WhatsApp.
  • I'd prefer not to be contacted by phone or SMS.
  • The rates shown are PER PERSON based on double occupancy

The Travesía can be done in either direction between Atacama and Uyuni, but to help with acclimatization the direction Atacama to Uyuni as featured is recommended. Should your Travesía start from Uyuni, please consider beginning the crossing after spending at least 2 nights above 2,500 m.a.s.l/ 8,202 f.a.s.l., so as to give your body time to adapt to local conditions and prepare you for the journey ahead.

uyuni tour from chile

DEAL FLASH: Get Free Flights On The Nov 27 Thanksgiving Amazon Cruise Aboard Zafiro

JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website.

Travel in Bolivia & Peru | Kanoo Tours

  • Uyuni Salt Flats Tour (Standard Plus) - 3 Days + Transfer to Chile with Al Extremo


Salar de Uyuni - Salt Flats Tours Bolivia - Budget Standard Plus Uyuni

Our standard plus 3 day salt flats tour with transfer to Chile is with maximum 6 people to a vehicle and a Spanish-speaking guide. First night in double or triple room accommodation. Classic and safe salt flats tour! Daily departures. This is the best option if you are travelling on a budget but don't want to miss out on this amazing experience.

NOTE - Not available for tours starting 3rd,4th or 5th March due to Carnival

Trips to the Salar de Uyuni are an unforgettable experience but unfortunately the general standard of facilities and services are not very high in this remote area. We would like to make it clear that things are not as reliable, comfortable and professional as we would like on these tours so for this reason we do not promise more than what you will receive for your money. The accommodations & food will be basic. Due to the harshness of the terrain vehicle breakdowns are common. Still interested?  Good, you should be because if you can put up with a bit of hardship you should have a great time. Take some extra snacks, plenty of warm clothes and a sleeping bag (can be rented) and the accommodations won’t feel so bad. The drivers are used to breakdowns and are pretty adept at fixing their vehicles, they are always willing to help each other out and you are usually not stuck for long - so a bit of patience is often all you need. We believe if you are informed truthfully about the possible negative aspects of the tours you can prepare yourself better and will have a more positive experience.

The following is a typical tour but sometimes some things are omitted from a tour (For example during rainy season), sometimes additional things are included (such as train cemetery visits at the start or end of the trip) so this shouldn’t be seen as a rigid itinerary, although the most popular main sites are always included if safe to do so.. If there is something you really want included your group should stress this to your driver at the start of the tour so he can plan accordingly.

This is our  standard plus 3 day salt flats  tour option including   Spanish-speaking  guide and transfer to Chile . First night in double or triple room accommodation. Classic and safe salt flats tour!

  • Transportation in 4x4 vehicle 
  • Spanish-speaking guide / driver
  • Meals during the tour (take extra snacks)
  • Accommodation - first night in double / triple rooms in a salt hotel (we need to confirm availability), second night in dorm style rooms
  • Maximum 6 in group for 3 day tours
  • Transfer to San Pedro de Atacama at the end of the tour


  • Transport to Uyuni
  • Entrance fees (30 Bs + 150 Bs + 6 Bs - subject to change)
  • Water - you recommend you purchase 2 liters per person , per day to take with you.
  • Breakfast on first day, dinner on last day
  • Sunglasses and sun cream 
  • Additional snacks and beverages
  • Torch - recommended
  • This tour starts in Uyuni and DOES NOT include the cost of transport for getting there.  We can arrange flights, buses and trains for getting to Uyuni  - see them all in our Transport section.
  • We recommend you take a sleeping bag to use in addition to the provided blankets in the accommodations - these can be rented on the morning your tour departs.
  • Low season / high season  - This price is the low season price and some years around July / August prices can rise for "high season". We only know when this will happen and by how much when it actually happens and usually it is with just a couple of days notice. This is because it is the decision of the drivers union in Uyuni and not our or the operators. The price rise is usually around 20$ more but we cannot know for sure until the time. For bookings around this time you should book with the low season price and we always try to get the operators to honour advanced bookings at low season price. If they do not we will need to ask for the price difference or, if you don't wish to pay, you can cancel also.
  • Private tours -  In order to do this tour as a private tour you would have to pay for 6 people regardless of how many of you there are (this way you are paying for the 6 seats of the car and will have a car just for you). In addition to this, when booking please also write down in the Further Details section that you want a private tour.
  • Pickups -  Pickups are not included. If arriving by bus or if staying overnight in Uyuni, then it will be easy for you to walk to the operator's office in the morning - Uyuni is small and you will have to walk only a few blocks. If arriving by plane, it will be also easy to find a taxi from the airport to the office (15-20 minutes drive). We will provide detailed information about the office location when we confirm your booking.
  • Accommodation  - The accommodation for the first night will be in double/triple rooms in a salt hotel (we need to confirm availability). Bathroom and shower (that has an extra cost of about 10 Bs) will be shared. The second night will be in a basic refuge and the 6 people of your group will share the same room. There will be a shared toilet but no shower.
  • Rainy season -  Please note that during the rainy season (usually from January to May) the Incahuasi Island and the salt hotel might not be reachable if the salt flats are covered in water. We cannot know this in advance and the guide will decide on day. In case the salt hotel is not reachable, you will spend the first night in a regular accommodation of the same standard (but not made of salt).
  • Group size is up to 6 customers per car.
  • These tours visit very remote areas that have very limited facilities. If you are ill or there is an accident there are no medical facilities other than Uyuni town and even these are basic. If things go wrong you are faced with the reality of travel in a remote area of a developing country.  The salts flats tours travel to altitude of around 5000 meters so the majority of people will feel some effects from altitude sickness. We recommend that you should be acclimitized to above 3000 meters before going on these tours and that you take headache tablets, altitude sickness ''soroche" tablets and any other medications that you may require.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please read through these common questions & answers - if you cant find what you want to know send us your questions using the Ask a Question button

We do not sell any salt flats tours from Dec 23rd through to Jan 6th because of safety concerns.  Specifically this is due to the high number of incidences of drunk driving that occur on salt flats tours during this time. Some of the companies we work with, for example Red Planet, also completely stop tours during this time for the same reason. We still don't sell tours with any company that we work with that does not stop completely during this period as whilst they are likely to be safer options the fact is there could be drunk drivers from other companies making the area less safe. From experience we think it is best to avoid the dangers and problems that occur this time of year.

Please do not ask us to recommend any companies for tours during this time as we do not recommend anyone for the reasons stated. If you must do a tour (and we understand this is a highlight and it would be bad to miss) we would suggest you do a one day tour only as the 3 day tours are more problematic for the drunk drivers (drivers tend to celebrate in the evening with friends in the local villages near the accommodations). Also keep a close eye on the condition of your driver if you do end up on a tour.

  • Red Planet : English-speaking guide, sunset on the salt flats, salt hotel on the first night with private bathrooms (most of the rooms, not all of them - salt hotel only during dry season, otherwise will be a regular accommodation), accommodation near the hot springs the second night. This is the operator with the best reputation in Uyuni as they offer consistently good tours and are well established. For that reason they are are virtually always booked in advance and charge more than most other operators. Tours leave every day with Red Planet. Sleeping bag is not included in the price.
  • Quechua Connection : English-speaking guide, sunset on the salt flats, regular hotel on the first night with private bathrooms (most of the rooms, not all of them, and it is not a salt hotel), accommodation near the hot springs the second night. This is another good tour operator that offer tours about the same standard as Red Planet and are growing quickly. During dry season they often include some 30 mins biking on the salt flats as well (conditions permitting). Sleeping bag is included in the price.
  • Perla de Bolivia : English-speaking guide, sunset on the salt flats, salt hotel on the first night with private bathrooms (most of the rooms, not all of them - salt hotel only during dry season, otherwise will be a regular accommodation), accommodation near the hot springs the second night. This is another popular operator that is rapidly growing. They include a visit to the Galaxy and the Devil's Caves in their itinerary as well. Sleeping bag is included in the price.
  • Standard Plus : Spanish-speaking guide, no sunset on the salt flats (they head to the accommodation earlier), salt hotel on the first night with shared bathrooms (shower available for 10 bs - salt hotel only during dry season, otherwise will be a regular accommodation), hot springs the third day in the morning. Sleeping bag is not included in the price.

* We state may have because tour itineraries can change due to external factors so these are typically what is included and i in general the differences are as above but we cannot guarantee this is always the case.

We also have a some comparison tables on our Salt Flats Tours category pages that show the differences in a nice and easy format

In our standard tour offerings we do not offer people the option to be able to upgrade hotels because this would involve taking one part of the group to the standard hotels and others to the upgraded hotel in a different area and therefore two different routes and too much additional driving. We can only offer hotel upgrade options if you are doing a private tour for this reason - please contact us for pricing if you are interested.

Salt flats tours in Uyuni usually start "approximately" 10.00 am to 11 am but this can vary. The reasons it can vary, apart from punctuality not being very common in Bolivia, can be for a number of different things. For example there is only one fuel station in Uyuni and it can be hard to get fuel quickly so drivers might have to queue for long periods to get fuel and this can affect preparations.

We usually request you to be at the local office at 9 AM to do your check-in, but if for example if your flight lands at 9 AM then no problem simply take a taxi to the office and be there as soon as you can - we will let the office now about your flight time and this will be taken into consideration. Also buses or flights arriving to Uyuni late (more common in Rainy season) can affect departure times - if someone in your assigned group is on transport that is late then the operator will try to wait as long as is possible to accomodate that so they can get on the tour that day - obviously there are limits to this and they dont want to wait too much as it effects the rest of the groups tour time. Tours starting in San Pedro usually start earlier around 8-8.30 am.

This salt flats tour starts in Uyuni and it does not included the price of getting to Uyuni. We can arrange transport (buses, trains, flights) from La Paz to Uyuni also – please visit out transport section HERE  to see some popular options.

The Salt Flats (salar de Uyuni) tours leave year round including during the rainy season and in fact many people try to visit during the rainy season in order to see the "mirror effect" of the water sitting atop of the salt flats and reflecting the sky which is an incredible sight. This is caused when the water table below the salt flats has risen enough to cause the water to sit on top of the salt. It is fine to visit the area when there is a certain amount of water but when it becomes too deep (after long sustained periods of rainfall in consectutive days) some places can become inaccesible such as Isla Incahuasi and these must then be omitted from the tours but they can usually continue visiting other parts of the salt flats and the area to the south (the colored lakes, geysers, hot springs etc) are usually not affected so tours are not cancelled completely.

The road between La Paz and Uyuni usually becomes a bit problematic with potholes and other damage caused but the constant rain and is worst in Mar/Apr time. The buses are sometimes cancelled due to this and other forms of transport such as train or flights are recommended or alternatively you can travel via Sucre / Potosi to Uyuni which is a better conditioned road that is less affected.

The town of Uyuni and the Salt Flats themselves are around 3700 meters (12139 feet) so 1 and 2 day tours are usually around this altitude only.

For 3 day tours you will visit much higher altitudes with the second nights’ accommodation near the Laguna Colorado area being at around 4300 meters and the Sol de Mañana geothermal field that is visited at around 4900 meters (16076 feet). You may also drive over a pass at  5000 meters (16404 feet), depending on the exact route taken, which will be the highest point.

On 2,3 and 4 day salt flat tours there will be a maximum of 6 travellers in the vehicle (1 in the front passenger seats, 3 in the  center seat row and 2 in the rear seat row) plus the driver/guide.

On 1 day tours there can be up to 7 people in the vehicle (although usually 6) as the group gets out of the vehicle much more often and comfort is not an issue like it is for the long driving distances of the multi day tours.

The planned schedule for this tour on the first night is to stay in a salt hotel and this happens for the majority of the year. During periods when the local conditions are bad (salar too flooded, deep snow in area etc) then a change of route / itinerary might be required and a stay in a salt hotel might not be possible. This would only be known closer to or actually on the departure date

People enjoy taking the interesting perspective style photos on the salt flats and of course there will be some time to stop and do this.  The exact amount of time is impossible to say as it will depend on a variety of factors such as how long you have taken at previous stops, weather conditions, the group dynamic etc and you also need to bear in mind there is a schedule to keep to so the driver will only allow the amount of time he can in order to keep to the schedule safely.

As for items to use in your photos, some drivers do have some fun items but some wont have anything especially for photo props. The best advice is to take something interesting things yourself so you can get unique shots – let your creative side go crazy!

Yes this is possible by prior arrangement, but if you wish to be dropped off back at Colchani after the tour , there will be an extra charge (please ask) as it is not on the standard route as tours return to Uyuni some 30 minutes drive away. Also, as the train cemetery is near Uyuni town then you would miss this visit out as it takes place before arriving to Colchani

Yes , that’s not a problem. You would be in the same vehicle for the tour and then near Laguna Verde the people going to San Pedro are transferred to a different transport vehicle at the border and the 4x4 vehicle used for the tour returns to Uyuni with the remaining passengers. Iif you could inform us of this requirement when booking and give the passengers names so we know who to group together. Of course, the tours have to leave on the same date and each person choose the same tour operator.

Booking Form

How to book.

Fill in the required details and click "add to cart".You can then continue shopping for more items or click on the "cart" link at the top right hand corner of the page to complete your booking.

You must provide details for each passenger that you are booking for and also ensure that you change the qty box to show the correct amount of passengers that you are booking for.

You might also be interested in

Uyuni Salt Flats 1-Day Motorcycle Tour

Uyuni Salt Flats 1-Day Motorcycle Tour

Red Planet Salt Flats Tour Uyuni - 3 Days + Transfer to Chile

Red Planet Salt Flats Tour Uyuni - 3 Days + Transfer to Chile

Salt Flats Tour from San Pedro de Atacama (Chile) to Uyuni - 3 Days

Salt Flats Tour from San Pedro de Atacama (Chile) to Uyuni - 3 Days

Uyuni Salt Flats Tour (Standard Plus) - 3 Days with Al Extremo

Uyuni Salt Flats Tour (Standard Plus) - 3 Days with Al Extremo

Red Planet Salt Flats Tour Uyuni - 1 Day

Red Planet Salt Flats Tour Uyuni - 1 Day

Red Planet Salt Flats Tour Uyuni - 3 Days

Red Planet Salt Flats Tour Uyuni - 3 Days

Uyuni Salt Flats Tour (Standard Plus) - 1 Day with Al Extremo

Uyuni Salt Flats Tour (Standard Plus) - 1 Day with Al Extremo

Ask a question.

How to Get to Salar de Uyuni From Chile

It’s no secret that crossing any border and changing buses can be a logistical nightmare. There have been numerous disaster stories from people who’ve insisted on trying to travel by public bus from Chile to Uyuni for their Salar de Uyuni tour. While you might save a little money, the extra hassle involved can really put a damper on your trip. Instead, the obvious choice is to take the 3 or 4 day San Pedro de Atacama Uyuni tour.

San Pedro de Atacama Uyuni Tours

The 3 day San Pedro de Atacama Uyuni tour is ideal for those who are planning to continue traveling north from Chile as it starts in San Pedro de Atacama and finishes in Uyuni. On the other hand, the 4 day tour starts and finishes in San Pedro de Atacama, making it ideal for those who wish to return to Chile or continue traveling south. Due to the distance, there are no one-day tours San Pedro de Atacama.

Starting in the south from San Pedro de Atacama means that you’ll avoid the large number of tourists who do the tours from Uyuni, as you’ll be visiting each place at different times of the day compared to the majority of visitors. If you want to get that perfectly instagrammable photo of the Bolivian Salt Flats without any other people in your shot, taking the less common route from Chile may be the best option for you. Furthermore, you get to save the best part of the tour until the end as you arrive to the actual salt flat on your final day.

Regardless of which direction you’re coming from, a trip to the Salar de Uyuni Bolivian Salt Flats is sure to be one of the highlights of your time in South America. Find more information on San Pedro de Atacama Uyuni tours here .

Visit the largest salt mine

in the world in 2021

uyuni tour from chile

  • Destinations
  • Travel Guides

A path leading to Laguna Miscanti in Atacama, Chile

Atacama Desert itinerary: San Pedro de Atacama to Salar de Uyuni

Jo Williams

Jo Williams

  • Atacama Desert road trip

Planning a trip to the Atacama Desert? This 6-day tour includes San Pedro de Atacama and the 4WD desert adventure to Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia.

From the driest desert on earth, to the world's largest salt flat; this is a road trip like no other. The route takes you from the tourist outpost of San Pedro de Atacama, past vibrant flamingo-filled lagoons and wild vicunas, to one of the most mesmerising sights on Planet Earth, Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia.

The Atacama Desert lies just south of Peru and to the west of Bolivia and Argentina. Spanning over 1000 kilometres, it is thought to be the driest non-polar land on earth . According to NASA, parts of the Atacama see just 1 mm of rainfall a year, and some riverbeds are thought to have been dry for over 120,000 years.

Just across the border, and the 4000-metre high Altiplano that divides Chile and Bolivia, lies Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia’s unfathomably beautiful salt flats. It’s the largest natural phenomenon of its kind at 10,000 square kilometres, and one of the flattest places on earth. But the stats don’t end there. The area is also home to the world’s largest mountain range, the Andes, extending through seven countries or ‘Andean States’.

There aren’t many roads on this cross-country voyage. Expect to find dirt tracks, salt brick hotels, and a strangely-abundant gathering of wildlife like flamingos, foxes, and wild alpacas, known as vicuña .

Mountain reflections at Piedras rojas in the Atacama desert, Chile

  • Getting to the Atacama Desert

San Pedro de Atacama is the gateway to the desert, located 2,443 metres above sea level. It’s connected with the Calama airport in Chile by a 100-kilometre road, taking around an hour and a half to drive from the airport.

It’s also possible to cross overland through Bolivia into the Atacama desert. Trips usually start in Uyuni, a small Bolivian town accessible by road from Potosi, or by plane or an overnight bus from La Paz.

The best way to see everything is to take a tour from San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni (or vice versa). Tours usually take 3 to 4 days and offer basic accommodation, food and a driver/local guide.

It’s possible to hire a car or take a bus, but it’s much better to get local knowledge from a guide - particularly useful when crossing barren, inhospitable spaces without road signs.

Historic centre of San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

San Pedro de Atacama (2-3 days)

Spend a few days before the tour in San Pedro de Atacama to make the most of the many available activities surrounding the town. Hotel Desertica is one of the best places to stay in San Pedro de Atacama, with luxurious rooms and a stunning pool to escape from the desert heat. Or, for something more affordable, Hostal Puritama is a clean, comfy base in the heart of town.

There are lots of activities for adventurous sorts around San Pedro de Atacama. You can find everything from hiking and mountaineering, to sandboarding, biking, off-roading, and paragliding. There’s also the Puritama hot springs for a more relaxed day out, or take a day trip out of town to float in the salty blue waters of Lagunas Escondidas de Baltinache or Ojos del Salar.

During the evenings, simply looking upwards is one of the best activities in the region. San Pedro de Atacama and the Elqui Valley boast several major international observatories; it’s one of the best places in the world to stargaze with unpolluted views of the Milky Way .

There are also several highlights near San Pedro which are well worth visiting:

Moon & Death Valley

Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) and Valle de La Muerte (Death Valley) are located next to each other, forming a microcosm of life in the Atacama Desert. The amazing geological formations appear otherworldly, eroded by the passage of time. The absence of life, and the lack of water, make this one of the most desolate places on the planet.

The ‘Cordillera de la Sal’, or salt mountain range, runs between the two valleys, giving the horizon an out-of-place snow-capped effect. Visit the salt caves, go sandboarding on monumental dunes, and visit the Pukara de Quito, a pre-Inca fort from the 12th century that sits on a steep hillside.

Laguna Miscanti in the Atacama Desert, Chile.

Los Flamencos National Reserve

This 740 square kilometre national park is home to many more attractions besides the famous Valle de Luna. It’s one of the region’s top destinations for tourists, with high-altitude lakes, ancient ruins and plenty of wildlife. Notable highlights of the reserve are the Aldea de Tulor ruins - dating back to 800 BC, the Laguna Chaxa , the Salar de Atacama, the Catedrales de Tara, and the Monejas de Pacana (the Monks of Pacana).

Also part of the reserve, located around 110 kilometres from San Pedro de Atacama, are the Lagunas Miscanti and Miniques. These high-altitude lakes are an unlikely place to find wildlife, surrounded by miles of uninhabited desert and a thin crust of salt. But you are likely to encounter the Andean fox roaming the shores, as well as great flocks of James’s, Chilean, and Andean flamingos.

Geysers Del Tatio

Head 90 kilometres north of San Pedro de Atacama to El Tatio. At an altitude of 4320 metres, El Tatio is home to an impressive 80 active fumaroles and comes in third on the list of the world’s largest geyser fields.

This ethereal landscape of sulphur and steam makes for a moody way to spend a morning exploring the natural wonders of Chile. Tatio is a Native American word for ‘oven’, but with temperatures dipping well below zero in the desert overnight, make sure to wrap up warm for this geothermal experience.

Flamingos in the pink Laguna Colorada in Uyuni, Bolivia

The Desert Crossing (3-4 days)

From San Pedro cross into Bolivia at the Hito Cajon border. It's best taking a tour, and they'll stop in different places. Accommodation is usually shared and can be quite basic. In Santiago de Agencha, the Jukil Community Lodge is a wonderful example of sustainable tourism, directly giving back to the local communities that live there.

Some highlights before you reach Salar de Uyuni are:

Termas de Polques hot springs

Many visitors will make a trip to the more well known Puritama hot springs in Chile, but cross the border and you will uncover a lesser-known spot to decompress in thermal bliss.

Termas de Polques, also known as the Uyuni Hot Springs, are located on the Salar de Chalviri salt flat in the heart of the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve. You will go right past them on a trip over the Bolivian Altiplano between San Pedro de Atacama and the Uyuni salt flats.

This scenic sauna is the perfect place to acclimatise, and will (probably) be the highest bath you will ever have.

Laguna Verde and Laguna Colorada

If you thought Chile was spectacular, wait until you lay eyes on Bolivia. The 10-kilometre-long Laguna Colorada glistens pink, green and blue, a natural phenomenon caused by algae that thrives in its salty water.

The varied algae display different colours depending on the time of year and attract vast flocks of breeding flamingos. Framed by snow-capped volcanoes, it's one of the most breathtaking sites of Bolivia.

Devoid of all life, Laguna Verde gains its emerald-green-colour from mineral suspensions of arsenic, magnesium, carbonate and calcium. Laguna Verde and its neighbour Laguna Blanca sit at the foot of the volcano Licancabur near the Chilean border.

Inspired by its deadly reputation, the 5,916 metre volcano has hosted several NASA experiments to prepare for future missions to Mars.

Piles of salt on the salt lake at Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia

Uyuni and the Salar De Uyuni (2 days)

The small town of Uyuni lies right on the edge of the salt flats, and is the most common entry and exit point. It has everything you need for a short stay; great restaurants, local shops, and affordable hotels.

Stay at the Casa de Sal - Salt Hotel for a taste of local architecture, built with salt blocks it features beautiful details of Andean décor. Or for something a bit further out of town, stay in the world’s very first salt hotel at the Hotel Palacio de Sal .

Salar De Uyuni

Unquestionably one of the greatest sights on earth, spanning 4,050 square miles of the Bolivian Altiplano, is the world’s largest salt flat.

Salar de Uyuni offers perspective-altering views, mirror-like landscapes, and one of the biggest reserves of Lithium in the world. It’s believed to have been left behind by prehistoric lakes, long since evaporated, now only the thick salty crust remains.

Get creative with toy dinosaurs, hats and even cutlery for some fun photo opportunities on the flats. Then visit the flags of the world, see the ancient cacti at Isla Pescado, explore the rust-ridden train graveyard, and spend time with the small Quechua community at Santiago de Agencha.

Reflections of jeeps at Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia.

Do I need to do a tour of Salar de Uyuni?

In a word, yes - it's best to book a tour . It’s not safe to visit alone, and you will want the knowledge of an experienced local guide. Although some tours offered can be incredibly cheap, do your research and pick one that that doesn't cut corners, even if it's not the cheapest option.

The isolation and out-of-this-world nature make for an incredibly dangerous landscape where you will need to be able to trust your guides implicitly. Travel with a reputable company, making sure to book a tour that benefits the local people .

When to take this trip

May to November is the dry season in the Altiplano, with the peak months of June, July and August getting busy with tours and hotels, so book well ahead. Between December to April is the time that Salar de Uyuni floods. You can get some amazing mirror-like photographs and enjoy out-of-this-world scenery, but some areas of the salt flats are inaccessible at this time of year.

In winter, the weather can get quite cold in San Pedro de Atacama. During June, July and August, the average daytime temperature is 22°C, and by night it drops to around 4°C with lows of -2°C. During the summer (January, February and March), the temperature averages around 27°C during the day, and 16°C at night, with highs of up to 32°C.

Every few years, the desert blooms in a colourful carpet that breathes new life into the barren landscape. This event is becoming increasingly less predictable due to climate change, and its most recent appearance has prompted the Chilean government to declare part of the Atacama a National Park.

  • Introduction
  • San Pedro de Atacama
  • The Desert Crossing

Share this article

Jo Williams

Author - Jo Williams

Jo Williams is a freelance writer with 10 years' experience working in travel and tourism. A Brit who got fed up with the 9 to 5 corporate life, she sold everything to become a full-time wanderer.

Jo has travelled to over 70 countries and worked throughout Europe for a major tour operator. She hopes to inspire you to work less and travel more.

Last Updated 4 September 2023

A colourful, narrow street in Valparaiso, Chile

travelcoachchile voyage sur mesure au chili

  • Chile travel highlights
  • Bolivia: Salar de Uyuni
  • Easter Island
  • Our trip ideas
  • Photo Gallery
  • Traveller reviews
  • Sustainable tourism: our commitments
  • Contact us!


  • Practical information
  • Our commitment to sustainable tourism

Atacama Desert and Uyuni salt flats: the best of Chile and Bolivia

Adding item to wishlist requires an account, already a member.

Username or E-mail

Forget Password?

Don't have an account? Create one.

Why choose travelcoachchile.

  • Off the beaten tracks holidays
  • 24h/24 support
  • Authentic experiences
  • Handpicked local providers

Do you have a question on this tour?

Call us ! +56 9 9269 0909 (CH) ou +33 970 467 200 (FR) [email protected]

Discover new regions or tour ideas on our Blog!

7 moai on the island of easter chile ahu akivi

Read our traveller's testimonials

Read all testimonials

A very friendly travel agency, available and attentive ! 

We appreciated the first contact and the customization at early stage of travel planning. Our best memory? Without a doubt Salar de Surire, a unique momentent s


uyuni personne bolivie salar

  • 10-day trip

uyuni tour from chile

This itinerary is without a doubt one of South America’s most iconic, essential tours !

Explore the Altiplano , from the Atacama Desert to the Uyuni salt flats .  Discover the wonders of the driest deserts in the world on this exclusive tour of Chile and Bolivia. This desert package will take you to breathtaking, unforgettable landscapes through many unique experiences. Adventure and change of scenery are guaranteed!

What to Expect

This itinerary begins in the Atacama Desert, which you can discover with our favorite private guide . After this off-the-beaten-path encounter with the desert, you will start a 4-day private expedition to the Uyuni salt flats in the South Lipez in Bolivia . You will discover the lagoons, geysers, and many other treasures of the Sur Lipez , and the grand finale is an amazing day in the most famous salt flat in the world . We will do our best so that you can experience this stunning location with as few people as possible, to fully enjoy the stillness and majesty of the desert. 

The itinerary allows you to explore the best of Chilean and Bolivian deserts . You will travel at a relatively intense pace that will permit you to make the most of your stay while visiting the highlights of the area. This tour includes a local private guide in Chile, an expert on the Andes region, and a private driver in Bolivia. Comfortable double rooms are provided in charming luxury accommodations .

  • Excursion to the heart of the Chilean Altiplano, breathtaking natural beauty
  • Swimming in the impressive Geysers el Tatio
  • Exploration of the Bolivian Altiplano, colorful lagoons in the salt desert
  • Discovery of the unique Moon Valley
  • 4-day all-inclusive expedition to the Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia

salar uyuni

Day 1 Discovery of the Chilean capital

Upon arrival in Santiago de Chile, a private transfer will take you to your hotel. You can then set off to explore the iconic locales of this historic capital on foot . Do not miss Cerro San Cristobal and its breathtaking view, the Bellavista district and its colorful bars, or the historic center and its monuments rich with history.

Overnight: Maison Italia 1029, Santiago de Chile.

Day 2 On the road to the Atacama Desert

Today you will depart for the Atacama Desert , the driest desert in the world! After your private transfer to Santiago’s airport, you will take a short flight to Calama. From there, your driver will take you to San Pedro de Atacama and your hotel. You can then begin your discoveries of San Pedro and its surroundings . We suggest you take a bicycle and explore the Garganta del Diablo!

Wrap up this first day with an epic night of stargazing with a local astronomy expert.

Overnight: Hotel Desertica, San Pedro de Atacama.

Day 3 Journey to another planet: Moon and Rainbow valleys

Today you will visit extraordinary landscapes in Chile’s most impressive desert. 

In the morning, join your English-speaking guide to explore Moon Valley . The excursion then continues with a short walk of about 1 hour in Death Valley. It is truly like stepping foot onto another planet! In the afternoon, your guide will take you to the Arcoíris Valley, or Rainbow Valley, to discover geological wonders painted in a thousand colors .

Day 4 Explore the best of the Chilean Altiplano

The excursion with your private guide begins with the picturesque village of Toconao. You will then go to the wonderful Lagunas Altiplanicas . You will learn about the formation of volcanoes, lagoons, and the entire geology of the Andes. You will then discover the Aguas Calientes and Talar salt flats. You can take a short hike in the area “Piedras Rojas”. You will then go to Tuyajto Lagoon. After a lunch in the village of Socaire in a traditional restaurant, your guide will take you through the village and introduce you to pre-Columbian culture techniques that are still useful nowadays. The day draws to a close with an unforgettable sunset over the Chaxa Lagoon .

Day 5 The impressive Geysers el Tatio

Rise with the sun so you can observe the fumaroles phenomenon of the Tatio geysers ! After a hearty breakfast, you will fully enjoy the site’s tranquility.

You will then go to the white geyser which will offer you the opportunity to swim in between a river and hot springs , and then head to the mud geysers, a destination which only a well-equipped vehicle can access. You will descend to the bofedal de Putana to learn about the interdependent relationships between local flora and fauna, creating this subtle balance of the local habitat.

Take advantage of the free afternoon to relax and prepare for your departure for Uyuni with some souvenir shopping. Or, you can opt for some relaxation in Puritama springs or enjoy the spa in your hotel .

Day 6 En route to the Bolivian desert

Today you take off for your next destination: a 4-day tour to the Uyuni slat flat! First up, you will visit the highlights of the Bolivian altiplano, such as White Lake and Green Lake , located at the foot of the Licancabur volcano. Then, you will continue to Polques Lake and Termas de Polques, where you can bathe in hot springs amidst this supernatural setting. You can also discover small geysers called Sol de Mañana (at 16,000 feet). After lunch, your day will end with the discovery of the splendid Colorada Lagoon, a nesting center for more than 30,000 flamingos .

Note: the 4-day private excursion itinerary includes accommodation, food, a driver, and overnight stays in very comfortable hotel surrounded by nature. The trips will be made in a 4×4 vehicle. A private English-speaking guide can be reserved for an extra fee.

Overnight: Hotel Mallku Cueva, Mallcu.

Day 7 Discovering the colorful lagoons

Explore the natural park more in depth and get closer to the salt flats of Bolivia. Today, you will visit the stone trees within the Sioli Desert , original rock formations caused by wind erosion.

The trip will continue with the discovery of several superb altiplanic lagoons (Laguna Honda, Laguna Chiarcota, and Laguna Cañapa), including the famous hidden lagoon which is full of surprises. Then, you will pass through the salt desert of Chiguana and the village of San Juan del Rosario.

Overnight: Luna Salada Salt Hotel, Salar de Uyuni.

Day 8 The long awaited Uyuni salt flats

Depart at dawn to witness the sunrise over the Uyuni salt flats and the Cactus Island .

You will then visit the Island of Incahuasi, known as the Cactus Island, a limestone formation located in the center of the salt flat, followed by breakfast. After crossing the Uyuni Salt Flat, you can visit the salt mines, the salt museum, and the train cemetery. You will then make a stop at Colchani. Upon arrival at Uyuni village , you will have free time to explore. Afterwards, you will take the road back to San Pedro. Along the way, you will have dinner and sleep in Villamar, a traditional-style community.

Overnight: Hotel del Desierto, Cerro Siloli.

Day 9 Heading back to Chile

Today you will continue your road trip towards the Hito Cajon border. You will have breakfast at the Chilean border, where a van–shared transportation–will be waiting to take you back to San Pedro de Atacama.

You can then take advantage of the afternoon to recover and relax after your action-packed visit to Uyuni.

Overnight: Hotel Desertica, San Pedro de Atacama

Day 10 Goodbye, South America!

It is time to hit the road to Santiago , the capital, before your return flight home. A transfer will take you to the Calama airport to catch your domestic flight. Upon arrival in Santiago de Chile, you have two options:

  • You can be taken back you to your hotel to continue your visit of the city. You will be able to explore the Bellavista district, for example, and end your stay in style with an aperitif on a panoramic terrace. Take advantage of our recommendations of the best restaurants in the city and enjoy one final pisco sour!
  • Or, if you are short on time , you can stay at the Santiago airport before hopping on your international flight back home. 

Recommended Airport

Santiago international airport

Price Includes

  • 9 nights in superior/deluxe private rooms with bathroom
  • Accommodations include WiFi, restaurant, bar, spa, and sauna (massages are charged separately).
  • 2 local flights per person
  • High quality private excursions in Atacama with an English-speaking guide
  • 4-day all-inclusive excursion in Uyuni (accommodations, meals, and transportation)
  • Private transfer to and from Santiago airport
  • Shared transfer to Calama airport
  • A customized travel guide
  • Full support on site

Price Excludes

  • International flights
  • Extras, such as massages and alcoholic beverages during the Uyuni trip
  • Private English-speaking guide on the Uyuni 4-day tour

Related Tours

ushuaia ile martillo Argentine patagonia

Heading to the end of the world: from Patagonia to Tierra del Fuego

in the heart of Conguillio Park in Chile in Araucania, view of millennia-old araucarias

Skiing in Chile: getaway to Conguillío Park

Hiking in the Atacama Desert

Itinerant hike in the Atacama Desert

2024 Atacama & Uyuni Photo Tour

Astro and landscapes in northern chile & bolivia.

Embark on an Atacama & Uyuni Photo Tour to capture the most breathtaking nightscapes and photogenic locations of these unique regions. From the driest desert on earth in Atacama to the largest salt flats in the world in Uyuni, we will photograph spectacular dark skies, snow-capped volcanoes, lagoons filled with thousands of flamingos, endemic cacti and vegetation, geysers, badlands, and otherworldly geological formations. 

We are running this Atacama & Bolivia photo tour in April 2024 , during the dry season and the best time of year to photograph the Milky Way reflected in the Uyuni salt flats. 

Two people standing under the Milky Way arc in Uyuni Salt flats during the night

The Atacama & Altiplano are some of the most breathtaking and photogenic regions in the entire Andes. Both the altitude and the geographical position of these areas have created special conditions for unique landscapes, flora, wildlife and night skies.

Atacama is the driest non-polar desert on earth, and the most important international observatories such as ALMA and Paranal are located here for good reason. High altitude, almost non-existent humidity, and constant atmospheric conditions are the trifecta for ideal night sky viewing conditions. Pair this with giant volcanoes, geological formations, endemic cacti, and beautiful lagoons…this region is arguably the best for landscape astrophotography in the world.

As we move further north toward higher elevations, there is a complete change in the ecosystem. The Andean Altiplano is the highest plateau in the world after Tibet, and the cycles of heavy rain and drought during the wet and dry seasons have shaped drastic landscapes. From lagoons filled with thousands of flamingos and wildlife to the largest salt flats in the world in Uyuni, the photographic possibilities are endless.

April is an ideal time to visit and photograph both Atacama & the Altiplano. First, it’s the dry season with the highest chances of clear skies, and secondly, this is the only time of year offering the opportunity to capture a once in a lifetime shot: The Southern Hemisphere Milky Way Galaxy reflected at your feet in Uyuni.

Sun setting over the horizon with a forest of giant cacti in the foreground

Atacama & Uyuni Photo Tour Highlights

  • Photo tour from April 3-13, 2024
  • Group size: 10 participants + 2 instructors + local guides
  • Main topics: Astrophotography, landscape, wildlife
  • Main areas: Atacama (Northern Chile) & Altiplano (Bolivia)
  • Accommodation included in top hotels in the area
  • Transportation included during the entire trip
  • All entrance fees to National Parks and natural attractions  included
  • Night photography sessions in Uyuni (with optional camping under the stars)

Download the official Atacama & Altiplano Photo Tour Brochure

Atacama and Uyuni photo tour brochure front page image

2024 Atacama & Altiplano Photo Tour Itinerary

Even though there is a planned itinerary, we will keep a flexible schedule so we can adapt to the weather and enjoy the best possible conditions. 

We are visiting these regions during a statistically ideal time for landscape and astrophotography, but the clouds and wind can show up at any time of year, and we need to be flexible to maximize our chances of success in each location.

Below you can see the details of our Atacama & Bolivia workshop itinerary:

rock formation standing tall in the middle of the night with a starry sky filled by the Milky Way

DAY 1: Atacama Photo Tour

Our Atacama & Uyuni photo tour will start in the city of Calama , where we will pick you up at 10:00 AM before driving to our base camp in the heart of the Atacama desert in the renowned town of San Pedro de Atacama. 

San Pedro is the epicenter of the Chilean Atacama Desert, and it’s a vibrant town with a great location near all the region’s top attractions. Our base camp during our stay in San Pedro will be the “Casa de Don Tomas,” considered one of the best hotels in town. 

After presentations and our tour orientation, we will do a personal gear review to make sure everybody is familiar with their cameras and settings for the day and night sessions. 

Our first photo spot will be at the “ Vallecito ”; a dry valley full of badlands and spectacular geological formations close to San Pedro de Atacama. Here, we will photograph the iconic Atacama “Magic Bus” and vast desert landscapes at sunset.

After the blue hour, we will take our first Milky Way session where we’ll capture the renowned night skies the Atacama Desert is famous for. 

Sunset in Atacama dessert on a cloudy day

DAY 2:  Atacama Astrophotography Tour

On the second day of our Atacama Photo Tour, we will slowly drive to a higher altitude to the Machuca area .

This region is a bridge between the dry Atacama Desert and the high Altiplano, and it offers unique landscape features, wildlife, and vegetation you can’t find anywhere else. 

Some of the highlights that we’ll photograph include the Tatio Geysers , an area full of geothermal activity and small geysers, the viewpoint of Putana Volcano , and some lagoons where we might have a glimpse of the first flamingos of the trip.

flamingo looking into the water

We will also do many photo stops along the way to capture the mountains, volcanoes, and wildlife, like Guanacos .

In the evening, we will drive down to capture the Guatín Canyon . Most tourists overlook this location, but it’s one of the best hidden gems in the Atacama Desert. There, you’ll find a canyon surrounded by walls of centennial cactus that reach up to 30 ft (10 m) in height. Once in location, we will take a short walk to scout the best compositions for the night before photographing the sunset.

At night, we will enjoy a mesmerizing view of the Southern Milky Way rising over these giant cacti, offering some amazing astrophotography opportunities.

Guanacos in a field with snow-capped mountains in the backdrop

DAY 3: Atacama Photo Tour

On the third day of our Atacama photography workshop, we will photograph one of the most special locations in the entire Atacama Desert: “ El Valle del Arcoiris ” (“The Rainbow Valley”).

This valley, located about an hour’s drive from San Pedro, is full of badlands and incredible rock formations. Textures, lines, and multicolor patterns abound in the multiple ravines and giant walls of this valley. 

We will spend the evening here walking and photographing the most photogenic formations. If you have a drone, make sure you bring it here since it also offers breathtaking aerial opportunities. 

However, the best time to enjoy this valley is at night when darkness and a billion stars take over, and you can enjoy unparalleled views of the sky with zero light pollution. We will photograph the Milky Way from different spots where you can capture our galaxy rising over these stunning landscapes.

Milky Way arch covering the night sky

DAY 4: Chilean Atacama Photo Tour

On the 4th day of our Atacama photo adventure, we will venture to one of the most renowned locations near San Pedro de Atacama: “ The Valle de la Luna ” (“Moon Valley)

This valley, located in the lands of the original Atacama people, offers a landscape that mimics that of Mars. Giant sand dunes, dramatic badlands, and a scenic road are the perfect scenery to capture stunning desert images. 

In the evening, we will drive to the Altiplano near the border with Bolivia to capture one of the most special night locations of the trip: “ Monjes de la Pacana ” also known as “Centinelas de Tara.”

This desert will remind you of those surreal desert paintings by Dali, where you could see spectacular rocks in a minimalist arid landscape. Our goal here will be to photograph the night sky. Located at 14,000 ft (4,300 m), we will enjoy conditions like no other to photograph some of the most stunning night skies in all of South America.

The giant rock formations will be the perfect foreground for our night pictures, offering ideal conditions for light painting with a subject to show a sense of scale.

Sand dunes and rock formations under the harsh mid-day light

DAY 5: Atacama Photo Tour

On day 5, we will enjoy a change of scenery and photograph a very different area of the Chilean Altiplano. 

We will start driving slowly up to the high plateau, where our first location will be the Miñique and Miscantis lagoons . These two colorful lagoons are located at the base of their respective volcanoes and are great subjects, both for landscape and bird photography. 

After visiting the lagoons and doing more photo stops along the way, we will visit “Piedras Rojas” also known as “ Salar de Aguas Calientes .”

This is a truly unique landscape where you can see turquoise-colored lagoons surrounded by vibrant red rocks and snow-capped volcanoes in the background. There are endless compositions here, so we’ll take as much time as we need to compose and photograph under different light conditions.

This is a long day considering the driving distance, so the night shoot will depend on the weather conditions and how our group feels. If we decide to do a night session , it’ll be near Piedras Rojas, where the skies are incredibly dark and beautiful.

Milky Way arch covering the night sky over the desert

DAY 6: Bolivia Photo Tour

On the 6th day of our Atacama & Uyuni Photo Tour, we’ll move to a new region and country in the Altiplano: Bolivia.

In the morning, we will cross the border to meet our Bolivian guides.For this leg of the tour, we’ll travel in off-road vehicles with 4WD and photograph all the landmarks of this fascinating side of the Altiplano!

Our first stop will be the Laguna Blanca and Laguna Verde , two beautiful lagoons with the prominent Licancabur Volcano in the background. We will visit Laguna Verde around noon when the lighting is best to see the vibrant green colors for which this lagoon is famous.

After that, our next stop will be the “ Aguas Termales de Polques ,” a series of hot springs located in a remote area of the Altiplano. Here we’ll have lunch and enjoy a soak in the hot springs while we enjoy the landscapes and wildlife of the Altiplano.

In the evening, we will arrive at our final destination in one of the most special places of the trip: Laguna Colorada ! This is one of the most unique lakes in the world, with an intense color that comes from the red sediments and pigmentation of the algae found in the shallow waters.

Once we check into our accommodation and have dinner, we will do a night session where we’ll capture the Milky Way arch expanding across the lagoon.

Turquoise lagoon with a mountain in the background

DAY 7: Bolivia Photo Tour

On the second day of our Bolivia photo tour, we’ll begin with a visit to a new section of Laguna Colorada in the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve .

This area is the perfect place to see the vibrant red colors of the lagoon when the morning sun illuminates the water. Here, we’ll enjoy a magical scene of the red lagoon with thousands of flamingos and snow-capped mountains in the background.

We’ll visit Laguna Colorada at a prime time to see flamingos after the rainy season. All three types of flamingos : Andino, James, and Chileno, can be found in the lagoon. We will take a short walk across the lagoon to photograph the different flamingos interspersed with the natural reserve’s dramatic colors and landscapes.

Lagoon filled with flamingos and a mountain in the backdrop

After our morning shoot, we will continue driving across the Altiplano and photographing different highlights, such as the rock formations around the “ Arbol de Piedra ” (“Stone Tree”) in the Dalí-esque desert. We’ll also photograph the “ Sol de Mañana Geyser ,” a spectacular geothermal area with mud pools and small geysers that looks like an oasis of colors in the middle of the desert.

Our next stop will be at Laguna Hedionda , where we’ll have lunch with a privileged view of this lagoon full of spectacular landscapes and migratory birds and flamingos. Not far from there, we will photograph the last lagoon, Laguna Cañapa , another gem for landscape and wildlife photography. 

Rock formation in the desert

In the evening, we’ll arrive at our final destination in Uyuni , where we will stay at one of the renowned salt hotels for the next couple of days. Our first night session will be at the train cemetery , an abandoned train graveyard on the outskirts of town with old mining trains that have become one of the area’s top landmarks. 

Staying away from the light pollution of town, we’ll do an astrophotography session with the train skeletons.

Train under the night sky filled with the Milky Way

DAY 8: Uyuni Salt Flats Photo Tour

On day 8, we’ll start our Uyuni photo tour by visiting some of the most remote areas in the largest salt flats in the world.

Salar de Uyuni stretches more than 4,000 square miles and was formed by prehistoric lakes that evaporated thousands of years ago. During the rainy season, Uyuni gets flooded with a thin layer of water that transforms the landscape into an otherworldly location with stunning reflections. 

The flooding and accessible areas in the dry lake change from year to year depending on the rain, but the beginning of April is the only time of year when it’s possible to photograph both the flooded salt flats and the interior of Uyuni, which is inaccessible during the rainy season.

Cacti field in Salar de Uyuni

On our first day in Uyuni, and as long as driving conditions allow, we will visit Uyuni’s Coral islands , a series of isolated pieces of land in the middle of this giant playa. Here, you can photograph a surreal landscape where the rocks and giant cacti surround the intense white salt flats.

Our main landmark will be Isla Incahuasi , one of the most spectacular islands where there is a huge density of giant cacti that can reach up to 30 feet and live more than 1,000 years. Once there, we’ll spend most of our time exploring this little island and capturing impressive landscapes from a higher elevation.

If conditions allow, we will have the opportunity to spend a night of optional camping near the island . This is a unique chance not offered by other tour companies that will allow us to photograph the darkest area in the Uyuni salt flats, in a location where light pollution doesn’t exist. The completely flat landscape is the ideal place to capture nightscapes, as the Milky Way is rarely photographed here.

Cacti field in Salar de Uyuni during sunset

DAY 9: Uyuni Salt Flats Photo Tour

We will start day 9 by visiting some of the main landmarks of Uyuni , such as the Dakar Monument, the world flags, and the Salt Museum, which is full of impressive salt sculptures.

We will also scout for locations where we can see the sought-after Uyuni reflections . These reflections make Uyuni stand out from other salt flats, especially during this time of year.

uyuni tour from chile

Here, we will photograph the sunset and get back to town before preparing for a very special night. Our plan is to photograph a once in a lifetime experience when the stars and the Milky Way appear in the sky as well as the reflection of the salt flat at your feet.

We will do a long session here photographing the arch , single images, and shots with light painting using our 4WD cars and subjects to give a sense of scale. Expect a night of astrophotography for the books!

Person standing in the middle of salar de uyuni under the night sky with the milky way Milky Way in Salar de Uyuni

DAY 10: Atacama & Bolivia Photo Tour

On the last day of our Atacama & Bolivia photo adventure, we will drive to La Paz , stopping for different photo opportunities along the way.

Once in La Paz, we will do a farewell group dinner and spend our last night there. Feel free to stay here and spend more time visiting the capital of Bolivia. Otherwise, you should book your flight for the next day. Most international flights depart in the morning.

La Paz, Bolivia at night

PRICE: $6,400 USD

Deposit: $2,000 USD

A $2,000 USD deposit is required to reserve your spot for this workshop. You can also pay in full at any time. The remaining balance is due 120 days before the start of the photo tour. If the remaining balance is not paid in full by the due date, you will lose your spot.

What does the price include?

  • Pick-up at Calama Airport
  • Transportation in private minibus & special 4WD vehicles
  • National Park & attraction fees
  • Border crossing fees
  • Accommodation  in hotels in shared rooms with private bathrooms
  • Expert local guides  in Atacama & Bolivia
  • Photo guide services  from professional landscape & astrophotographers
  • Half board in Atacama & Full board in Bolivia
  • Access to Dan Zafra’s full  Capture the Milky Way Course (valued at $299).
  • Access to the recorded material during the expedition.
  • Access to David Aguilar’s  Moody Landscapes course .


  • Flights to/from  Calama & La Paz airports
  • Private room – Extra $900 (*Subject to availability)
  • Meal in San Pedro de Atacama (Half board is included)
  • Health/travel insurance (We can help you purchase the best travel insurance according to your needs)
  • Bolivian Visitor Visa
  • Telephone, personal expenses, tips, etc., and any other service not mentioned in the “INCLUDED” section

Upcoming Altiplano Photo Tours 

  • 03 April 2024
  • 13 April 2024
  • David Aguilar

uyuni tour from chile

What will I learn during this Atacama Photo Tour?

This trip is focused on  astro , landscape, & wildlife  photography, mainly shooting the Southern Hemisphere Milky Way, mountains, volcanoes, deserts, lakes, flamingos, and salt flats. 

What you learn during the workshop will vary according to your goals and skills. Your instructors are professional photographers with extensive experience who will help you take your photography to the next level.

During the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to learn:

Photography basics

  • Getting comfortable shooting different types of landscapes and wildlife in manual mode.
  • Adjusting to the best camera settings in each situation.
  • Planning your sunset and Milky Way images.
  • Shooting long exposures using ND filters .
  • Enhancing your composition with the best techniques.
  • Basics of wildlife photography .
  • Designing your own shooting workflow to be more efficient in the field.
  • Basics of drone photography .

Advanced photography techniques

  • Creating powerful compositions that tell a story and engage the viewer.
  • Building a connection between your photography and your vision .
  • Becoming a master of light : learn how to enhance it and keep it under control.
  • Advanced landscape techniques like bracketing, focus stacking, or focal length blending.
  • Advanced night photography techniques.
  • Advanced drone photography like aerial panoramas, vertoramas, and bracketing.

Post-processing techniques

Some of the  post-processing techniques  that you can learn with the included tutorials are:

  • Basics of Lightroom and Photoshop .
  • Preparing your images  in Lightroom/Adobe Camera Raw.
  • Stitching of panoramas  using different software like Lightroom or PTGui Pro.
  • Reducing the noise  in your images with Denoise AI.
  • Sharpening your photos  with Sharpen AI.
  • All types of Blendings  (exposure, focal length, focus, etc.).
  • Light shaping and Dodge & Burn  in your landscape & night images.
  • Post-processing of  moody and atmospheric landscapes .
  • Advanced night photography post-processing  techniques.

uyuni tour from chile

We will visit diverse regions, from the desert to wetlands, located at very different altitudes. As a result, we’ll experience very drastic changes in temperatures that requires dressing accordingly:

  • In San Pedro de Atacama, temperatures in April range from a high of 80ºF (27ºC) to a low of 42ºF (5ºC).
  • In Uyuni & the Salt flats, temperatures range from a high of 62ºF /(17º) to a low of 31ºF (0ºC).
  • In both the Chilean & Bolivian Altiplano above 14,000 ft (4,000+ m), temperatures range from highs of 54ºF (12ºC) to lows of 22ºF (-5ºC).

You should come prepared for all kinds of weather and bring clothing both for warm and cold climates. Even though it’s the dry season, strong winds occur throughout the year, and rain is possible. Some of the things that we recommend bringing on this  Atacama & Bolivia photo tour  are:

  • A  system of top layers  to wear (base layer, fleece, windproof layer, shell)
  • A  system of bottom layers  to wear (hiking pants, fleece pants for cold nights, overpants for rain)
  • A good pair of  breathable boots  to keep your feet warm and protect your ankles while hiking
  • Warm and breathable  socks
  • A  wool hat , neck gaiter, and gloves
  • Light  water bottle

Some optional items are:

  • Hiking poles
  • A cap or sun hat
  • Light sneakers or sandals for San Pedro
  • An external power bank

You will find more items and details on the official list of recommendations that we provide upon registration.

Person standing in a desert with interesting rock formations

The currency in Chile is the Chilean Peso (CLP) and in Bolivia the Bolivian Boliviano (BOB).

We highly recommend getting Chilean pesos and Bolivianos in your home country, although, if that is not possible, you can always purchase some at the airport. Credit and debit cards are accepted in most places in San Pedro de Atacama, but in Bolivia there are still many businesses that only take cash.


For Chile , people from most countries, including the Americas, Europe, Eastern Asia, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand, don’t need a tourist visa to visit Chile for trips that are shorter than 90 days.

In Bolivia , people from Europe and most countries don’t need a Visa. U.S. citizens need a Bolivian visitor visa that costs $160 USD and can be paid in USD or local currency upon arrival. This visa can be obtained at a Bolivian Embassy or Consulate in the United States or purchased at any land or air border (More information here and full list of entry requirements for U.S. citizens ) .

Cloudy sky reflected in Salar de Uyuni with an SUV and three people


The standard accommodation on this Atacama & Bolivia Photo Tour is  double occupancy in shared bedrooms with two individual beds and a private bathroom . 

We also offer  limited single occupancy rooms  in all hotels and accommodations on the trip for an extra $900. If you are interested in this, please let us know on the signup form below since the single occupancy rooms are subject to availability.

  • In  San Pedro de Atacama, we’ll stay in “Casa de Don Tomas Hotel”, one of the best hotels in San Pedro de Atacama. 
  • On our way to Uyuni, we will spend a night near Laguna Colorada in some basic lodging. (No hotels in this area)
  • In  Uyuni, we will stay in one of the most popular salt hotels of this area. 

If conditions allow, there might be an optional camping night in Isla Incahuasi in the heart of Salar de Uyuni.



It’s currently a requirement for US citizens to be vaccinated against yellow fever before traveling to Bolivia. Please, make sure to review any travel requirements or restrictions for your country of origin before booking your flights.


Most of the locations are a relatively easy walk from the parking lot, but the trip is very physically intense, so we recommend having a good level of fitness to enjoy the experience. 

We will also spend a considerable amount of time walking and photographing at high altitude, including a night sleeping at 14,000+ ft (4,000+ m). We have designed an itinerary so our bodies can become gradually acclimated to the altitude, and if you are in good health, altitude shouldn’t be an issue on this trip. 

We have led multiple high altitude trips in the Andes in the past, and we have experience preventing, recognizing, and avoiding altitude sickness symptoms. Our guides are certified first aid and CPR responders, and we always carry a Garmin inReach device in case of emergency in remote areas.

Badlands in Atacama


All the expert local guides in both Chile and Argentina are included.

These guides own and work for reputable local companies that have been operating for years in these areas. 

During the tour, we will visit many attractions that require a fee, such as Valle de la Luna, Piedras Rojas, Tatio Geysir, Laguna Colorada, etc. All these fees are included.

What expenses should you consider for this Atacama & Bolivia photo tour?

You should book your inbound flight to Calama at “El Loa Airport” (CJC) and your outbound flight from La Paz at “El Alto International Airport” (LPB).

The best way to get to Calama is by getting a local flight from Santiago de Chile. There are direct flights to Santiago de Chile (SCL) from the main cities in Europe and the U.S., Canada, and Australia, such as LA, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, NY, Toronto, Madrid, Barcelona, London, Paris, Auckland, Sydney, or Melbourne. 

From La Paz, you can find direct flights to three main capitals in South America (Santiago de Chile, Lima, and Bogota), and from there, there are direct flights to the main cities in the Americas and Europe.  

Airline ticket prices will depend on the airport you are flying from, but round-trip flight tickets from the USA cost around $900 – $1,300, and $800 – $1,100 from Europe.

Meals are included as follows:

  • Half-board in San Pedro de Atacama (Always breakfast in the hotel + either lunch or dinner, depending on the shooting conditions)
  • Full-board in Bolivia (All meals included) 

The only meals not included are the meals taken on our own in San Pedro de Atacama.

We recommend preparing to spend about $20-$30 USD on food per day in San Pedro de Atacama.

People enjoying a meal under the sun in Salar de Uyuni

If you are a U.S. citizen, plan on spending $160 USD to process your Visa.

Tips and gratuities for the local guides in Chile & Bolivia are not included.

What makes this Atacama & Altiplano Photo Tour unique?

Unforgettable, frequent questions about our atacama & uyuni photo tour, what level of photography knowledge should i have to attend this photo tour to atacama & altiplano.

Whether you are experienced or just starting out in photography, you are welcome to join us , and I am convinced that you will progress very fast. Together, we will get you back home with a greater and deeper knowledge of many photography topics.

Once you sign up for the workshop, we will discuss your skills and goals for this tour, and I’ll organize a teaching plan so you can make the most of this experience. You’ll also receive access to Dan’s Capture the Milky Way course so you can start preparing your astrophotography before the trip.


Most of the locations are a relatively easy walk from the parking lot, but the trip is very physically intense, so we recommend a good level of fitness to enjoy the experience.


We will also spend a considerable amount of time walking and photographing at high altitude, including a night sleeping at 14,000+ ft (4.000+ m). We have designed an itinerary so our bodies can become gradually acclimated to the altitude, and if you are in good health, altitude shouldn’t be an issue on this trip. 


There is no age limit to join this Atacama & Bolivia photo tour.

We do recommend that participants older than 70 years old do a physical examination with a primary care provider (PCP) to make sure that they are physically prepared for this experience.


Non-photographer companions are welcome to join the tour, and they need to book a spot under the same price and conditions as any other participant. (We don’t allow non-participant companions tagging along with the group). We have had plenty of non-photographer companions over the years and all of them enjoyed an amazing experience. As long as they enjoy nature, beautiful landscapes, and are a bit patient with the schedules of a photo tour, joining the trip can be a great experience regardless of the shooting.


Drones are prohibited in some private areas and natural reserves, but they’re allowed in many other locations, including the Uyuni Salt Flats.

If you have a drone, we recommend bringing it on the trip. 

Our Happy Students!

I’ve had the opportunity to work with and help countless photographers over the last years:

uyuni tour from chile

Join the expedition

Terms and conditions.

This tour is governed by these Terms and Conditions.

The Atacama & Altiplano regions are a nature photographer’s dream.

The variety of wildlife and vegetation, the contrasts in the landscape, and the pristine night skies make it one of the most immersive trips you can take as a photographer.

Capture once in a lifetime experiences, such as the Atacama Desert’s world-renowned night skies, colorful lagoons with thousands of flamingos and snow-capped volcanoes, or the world’s largest salt flats in Uyuni.

This trip will mark a before and after in your travel experience and in your photography. Join us on a photography adventure like no other in Chile & Bolivia!

uyuni tour from chile

Atacama & Bolivia Gallery

Similar photo tours you might be interested in.

uyuni tour from chile

From massive glaciers, towering peaks, turquoise lakes, and pristine Andean forests to plenty of wildlife like pumas, guanacos and condors, Patagonia is a photographer’s paradise.


  • Peru and Machu Picchu
  • Bolivia and Central Andes
  • Atacama and Salar de Uyuni
  • Chile and Easter Island
  • Argentina and Buenos Aires
  • Patagonia and the End of the World
  • Antarctica and Patagonian Cruises

+/- 11 Days, From Santiago to Uyuni

You will get to know the best of the Chilean capital of Santiago and its surroundings. You will also spend a few days in San Pedro de Atacama , where you will discover the majestic desert landscapes. And, to close with a flourish, you will also cross the border to Bolivia to have a unique experience in the surprising salt desert of Bolivia , the Salar de Uyuni!

100% Flexible itinerary suggestions

Arrival in santiago de chile: a city surrounded by the andes.

Arrival in Santiago de Chile: A city surrounded by the Andes

At Santiago airport, private transportation will be made to your hotel . Please note the transport details on your voucher. You will be staying in one of the most charming and well-structured neighborhoods in the metropolis. You will see, Santiago is a modern, cosmopolitan city that is among the most developed in South America. It has several shopping centers and unites the modern with the historical, in its architecture, in the squares, and to its fullest extent! Today is a free day for you to enjoy. Tip: At night, a good choice is to go to the Bella Vista neighborhood, where you will find a variety of restaurants and bars with live music in a very lively atmosphere. To shop, go to Parque Arauco mall or Costanera Center (this is the most modern in the city, located in the tallest building in the entire Southern Hemisphere).

Exploring Santiago with your expert local guide

Exploring Santiago with your expert local guide

After our breakfast at the hotel, our guide will meet you to take you on a fantastic private tour of the main tourist attractions that the city of Santiago has. We will visit the Mint and the Cathedral passing by other historical and important points until we start our climb to the top of Cerro San Cristobal . There, we will visit the chapel of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, which was the place where Pope John Paul II prayed and blessed the city and the Chilean people. It will also be the moment when we will enjoy the most beautiful panoramic view of the metropolis and the Andes. We will make a visit to the Central Market of Santiago where we can find several interesting and typical products from Chile. Tip: We recommend taking the time to have lunch at the Central Market, where you can find a variety of restaurants specializing in peaceful seafood. + Breakfast

Tour and tasting at a especial traditional winery

Tour and tasting at a especial traditional winery

Breakfast at the hotel, part of the day at leisure and in the afternoon, we will pass to the hotel to take you to the beautiful vineyard where you will spend the afternoon. Make the most of your wine tasting experience on this tour to Undurraga Winery from Santiago. Explore one of the oldest vineyards in the country, including its underground cellars dating from the 19th century and its French-style park, designed by renowned landscaper Pierre Dubois. Then, try three of the winery’s reserve wines in the company of a producer and wine specialist. + Breakfast

Flight to Calama and reception in San Pedro de Atacama.

Flight to Calama and reception in San Pedro de Atacama.

After breakfast at the hotel and at the agreed time, we will take you on private transportation to Santiago airport to catch your flight to Calama , there another driver will be there waiting to take you to San Pedro de Atacama on a trip that takes about an hour. Enjoy today you have a free day in San Pedro de Atacama to enjoy the wonders of this unique place. + Breakfast

Moon and Death Valley in the Atacama Desert

Moon and Death Valley in the Atacama Desert

Today, you will have time to visit the Moon Valley and Death Valley in the afternoon, two magical places where you can also enjoy a spectacular sunset over the dunes and the mighty volcanoes in the background. At the end of the tour, return to your hotel. + Breakfast

Atacama Salt Flats, Lagunas Altiplanas and Piedras Rojas with Lunch

Atacama Salt Flats, Lagunas Altiplanas and Piedras Rojas with Lunch

Breakfast at the hotel. At a scheduled time, our guide will meet us at the hotel to start our first tour of San Pedro de Atacama. The first stop is at Salar de Atacama the largest in Chile and the third-largest in the world. We are going on our excursion towards the Lagoons of Miñiques and Miscanti (Lagunas Altiplanas) , which are within the Los Flamingos National Park . The Park has this curious name due to the large number of birds that inhabit the place. When we arrive, we will see the incredible blue that these lagoons are! They are like this, bluish, due to the melting of the volcanoes, which left us this unforgettable view. During the day, we will make a stop for lunch, which is already included. The return to the hotel will be made in the late afternoon, the rest of the day free! Important: San Pedro de Atacama is a privileged place to observe the sky and the different constellations, planets, stars, and their ancestral meanings that were given by the original indigenous cultures that lived in the desert. For this, you can include the Astronomical Tour. Remember that the observation tour will depend a lot on the weather conditions during your stay. + Breakfast + Lunch

Tour Laguna Verde and Geysers Sol de Manana: We are going to Bolivia!

Tour Laguna Verde and Geysers Sol de Manana: We are going to Bolivia!

Today we will start the day very early before the sun rises, because we are going to Bolivia! . We will start our long-awaited Jeep Tour towards the Salar de Uyuni! You will share this adventure in a jeep with a capacity for up to 6 travelers. The driver of the Jeep is a native who speaks Spanish and will be your guide during the tour. We will arrive in an area of intense volcanic activity called Geysers Sol de Manana and see the great spectacle of water and hot steam towers that spring up from the ground and reach heights of up to 50 meters! And this spectacle of nature is much better enjoyed before sunrise. We will continue our tour passing by thermal waters which, if you want, will be well worth taking a nice relaxing bath. We will visit the Dali Desert and finally, we will arrive at the most awaited attraction of the day: the Laguna Verde that is located in front of the Licancabur Volcano. Together, they form one of the most impressive landscapes of our travel itinerary. Finally, we will arrive at Huyllajara, where we will spend the night. Important: At the beginning of the tour there will be a short break at the Bolivian immigration office, where you will receive your entry stamp. + Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner

Laguna Colorada and other incredible Lagoons

Laguna Colorada and other incredible Lagoons

We will also get up very early that day to have an invigorating breakfast and continue our second day of Jeep Tour to Avaroa National Park. This park is hidden by the Andes Mountains. During the trip, we will be able to observe the Ollague Volcano, Laguna Canap, and several other smaller lagoons, all of them inhabited by flamingos and other beautiful birds typical of the region . During the day, we will stop for lunch, which is already included in the itinerary. This stop will be in the middle of the Siloli Desert , considered one of the aridest in the world and characterized by its intriguing rock formations. In the afternoon we will arrive at Laguna Colorada , which has this name due to the reddish and bright color of its waters originating from sediments and the pigmentation of algae. You will be amazed by this beauty of nature! At the end of the day, we will continue to San Juan, where we will spend the night. Important: If you want to take the private Jeep Tour and stay at the superior hotels, just make an additional payment. For more information, consult an Explora specialist! We will be able to answer all your doubts. + Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner

Jeep tour to Uyuni Salt Flats: A place of extreme beauty

Jeep tour to Uyuni Salt Flats: A place of extreme beauty

Today is the day of Jeep Tour through the Salar de Uyuni, the very famous salt desert of Bolivia !. Right after our breakfast, we will start the day with the incredible Jeep adventure through the Salar. We will make our first stop at the Train Cemetery and then continue on to the largest salt desert on the planet! During our trip around the site, we will make several stops, including one to have lunch. Then we will cross the Salar until we reach Incahuasi Island , we will have time to take panoramic pictures and at the end of the tour, we will go to our salt lodge where we will spend the night. You will see, this is going to be an incredible experience and totally different from everything else in the world! + Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner

Return to San Pedro de Atacama

Return to San Pedro de Atacama

We will also get up very early that day to have an invigorating breakfast and proceed with our return Jeep Tour to the city of San Pedro, in chile . We will arrive at the immigration post in the morning, where we will say goodbye to our Jeep driver to board the Chilean transport towards San Pedro de Atacama . The rest of the afternoon will be free . Important: At the Chilean immigration office, the forms to be filled out will be delivered and after the immigration control there will be baggage control and a passport stamp for departure and entry, respectively. Hint: San Pedro de Atacama is a privileged place to observe the sky and the different constellations, planets, stars, and ancestral meanings that were given by the original indigenous cultures. This activity can be contracted in advance with your agent. + Breakfast

Last day of our adventure

Last day of our adventure

Breakfast at the hotel. At the agreed time, your driver will pick you up for the transfer to the airport . This is the end of our services. If you want, you can extend your adventure . Contact an agent Explora and customize your itinerary. + Breakfast

Included services and prices

1. private transvip transfer from the airport (scl) to the accommodation in santiago ▼ ▲.

Private TRANSVIP transfer from the airport (SCL) to the accommodation in Santiago

When disembarking at the Santiago Airport, present a voucher with a reservation code or a ticket from the transvip that is located in front of the landing gate, logo of your private motorist or you will carry a hotel or a hotel.

2. Accommodation in Santiago ▼ ▲

Accommodation in Santiago

  • Panamericano
  • Hotel Almacruz
  • El Bosque San Sebastian
  • Cumbres (Lastarria Santiago)
  • Grand Hyatt
  • Sheraton Santiago
  • Noi Vitacura
  • The Aubrey Santiago
  • NOI Puma Lodge
  • Hotel Plaza San Francisco

1. Local guide in Santiago ▼ ▲

Local guide in Santiago

Our local guide will take you to discover the hidden wonders of the city in a unique and special way for you, according to your preferences

2. Public transport for City tour ▼ ▲

Public transport for City tour

Public transport for City tour by taxis, bus and/or subway

3. Accommodation in Santiago ▼ ▲

1. picnic and visit to undurraga winery ▼ ▲.

PicNic and Visit to Undurraga Winery

Enjoy a perfect panorama for two, in our beautiful XIX park. It includes a bottle of sparkling wine, and one of red wine 375 ml each, selected cheeses, and dried fruits.

1. Private TRANSVIP transfer from accommodation to the airport in Santiago (SCL) ▼ ▲

Private TRANSVIP transfer from accommodation to the airport  in Santiago (SCL)

At a pre-arranged time a private transfer will take you to the airport of Santiago de Chile. Remember that if The driver does not arrive - + 10min according to the indicated time in your voucher, it is better to call and ask - they will ask for the reservation code.

2. Shared transfer from Calama airport to accommodation in San Pedro de Atacama ▼ ▲

3. accommodation in san pedro de atacama ▼ ▲.

Accommodation in San Pedro de Atacama

  • Takha Takha
  • Ckoi Atacama
  • Altiplanico Atacama
  • Cumbres (San Pedro)
  • Terrantai Lodge
  • NOI Casa Atacama
  • Tierra Atacama

1. Regular excursion to the Valley of the Moon (Entrance ticket and local guide included) ▼ ▲

Regular excursion to the Valley of the Moon (Entrance ticket and local guide included)

The most requested tour in San Pedro de Atacama, the fantastic and impressive Valley of the Moon. We will visit the Tres Marías and the Amphitheater.

2. Accommodation in San Pedro de Atacama ▼ ▲

1. regular excursion to piedras rojas + highland lagoons (entry fees and local guide) ▼ ▲.

Regular excursion to Piedras Rojas + Highland Lagoons (entry fees and local guide)

Salar do Atacama, Lagunas Altiplanas and Piedras Rojas with Lunch We will start the tour with a visit to the pre-Hispanic village of Socaire, characterized by its cultivated terraces. Then we go to the Altiplano, where we will visit the Miscanti Lagoon and the Miñiques Lagoon, habitat of aquatic birds and mammals such as color foxes and vicuñas. We will continue to Salar de Talar (also known as Salar de Aguas Calientes) and the viewpoint of Piedras Rojas , from where we will see these reddish volcanic stones that will surprise you with their shape and the exceptional natural environment where they are. The tour continues on the Atacama Salt Flat , the largest in Chile and the third largest in the world. We will take a break for lunch and return to San Pedro do Atacama. Lagunas Altiplanas , a protected place and one of the most visited by our travelers. A view that will conquer you for its two powerful volcanoes and its fascinating lagoons painted with a deep blue, we will be part of a true work of art sculpted by nature. On this very special day we will also discover the enigmatic Laguna Tuyacto and the exotic viewpoint of Piedras Rojas . Main stops: Lagunas Altiplanas, Piedras Rojas and Laguna Tuyacto and Salar do Atacama. Includes: Park Entrance Transportation Local Guide Lunch Climate: Cold, wind and sun Total altitude of the day: 2,500 to 4,150 msnm. Difficulty level: Easy. Age restriction: Minimum 7 years. Small groups

1. Shared transfer from hotel in San Pedro - Hito Cajones ▼ ▲

Shared transfer from hotel in San Pedro - Hito Cajones

Departure from your accommodation in San Pedro de Atacama towards the migratory post of Hito Cajones towards Bolivia.

2. Regular tour in Jeep Geysers Sol de Mañana and Laguna Verde ▼ ▲

Regular tour in Jeep Geysers Sol de Mañana and Laguna Verde

Tour to the Sol de Mañana Geysers in the first part of the day, when they are at the height of their activity. There will be a stop at the thermal baths (which must be paid on the spot, they are 5 Bolivian pesos and not included), take your bathing suit in your backpack and relax a little! The next tour will be Laguna Verde, one of the highlights of the entire tour. Breakfast and snacks included.

3. Accommodation in Laguna Colorada ▼ ▲

Accommodation in Laguna Colorada

  • Refúgio Básico
  • Luna Salada
  • Cristal Samana
  • Tayka Deserto

1. Jeep Tour Siloli Desert, Dali Desert, Laguna Colorada - Full Board ▼ ▲

Jeep Tour Siloli Desert, Dali Desert, Laguna Colorada - Full Board

On this day we will cross amazing places, such as the Siloli and Dali Desert. During the route we will make several stops to contemplate the incredible landscapes of the place. In the middle of the desert, lunch will be offered during the tour. We stop at Laguna Colorada and other smaller lagoons in which we can see massive groups of flamingos, after the tour, we will proceed to the second refuge of our expedition. Entries and meals are included.

2. Accommodation in Uyuni ▼ ▲

Accommodation in Uyuni

1. Jeep tour Salar de Uyuni and Incahuasi Island with full board and tickets ▼ ▲

Jeep tour Salar de Uyuni and Incahuasi Island with full board and tickets

We will leave in a Jeep, with a capacity for 6 people, towards the Salar de Uyuni. We will stop for lunch at a restaurant built in Sal and also on Incahuasi Island. We crossed the desert making several stops to enjoy this spectacular place. In the evening, when arriving at Refúgio de Sal, dinner will be served and soon they will have the rest of the night to rest. We suggest you to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, bathing suit, portable cell phone charger and water bottle.

2. Accomodation in Villamar + Dinner ▼ ▲

Accomodation in Villamar + Dinner

1. Day 4 group tour Salar-Lipez: transfer from basic lodge in Villamar - Hito Cajones Border ▼ ▲

Day 4 group tour Salar-Lipez: transfer from basic lodge in Villamar -  Hito Cajones Border

In the morning, we will return by jeep to the Chilean border where there will be a moving of vehicles, or regular transport will leave you in the center of the city of San Pedro. Or transfer to the hotel is not even, therefore, as short distances and in some cases it is possible to walk. It is necessary to make a payment of a tax, not included, of immigration, being approximately U$ 5.00 at the border.

2. Shared Transport from Bolivia border to San Pedro de Atacama ▼ ▲

Shared Transport from  Bolivia border to San Pedro de Atacama

When arriving at the Chilean border there will be a vehicle exchange, regular transportation will drop you off in the center of San Pedro, transfer to the hotel is not included, but distances are short and in some cases it is possible to reach on foot. It is necessary to pay an immigration fee, not included, of approximately US $ 3.00 at the border.

1. Shared transfer from accommodation in San Pedro de Atacama to airport in Calama ▼ ▲

Shared transfer from accommodation in San Pedro de Atacama to airport  in Calama

At a predetermined time, you will be departed from your hotel to the airport of Calama, which is approximately one hour away from San Pedro do Atacama.

How about a personalized offer based on this itinerary?

Standard category.

  • Personalized and flexible payment for your trip
  • Planning and booking of recommended flights on request (extra costs)
  • Reservations according to the included services of your trip
  • Personalized attention from our local experts
  • Travel insurance on request
  • English-speaking 24/7 emergency number

Notes for the land part

  • Values expressed in USD.
  • Prices given on a double room basis.
  • Extra cost for accomodation in single room on request.
  • Prices for accommodation in superior (4 stars) or luxury (5 stars) on request.
  • Subject to change for Christmas, New Year, congresses, events and local holidays.
  • This is a standard land package, 100% flexible, which can be customized according to your desire.
  • Daily departures, subject to availability.

Flights Notes

  • The reference price does not include flights.
  • We are happy to offer you the flights as an extra item.
  • Recommended flights for this tour:

*Preço médio de voos

  • City of origin - Santiago 
  • Santiago - Calama 
  • Calama - City of destiny 

Related Routes

Santiago and Atacama Desert

Santiago and Atacama Desert

This is an exciting journey through the wonders of Chile! On this travel itinerary, you will pass through its capital, Santiago, and the most spectacular vineyards in the region. Then, you will cross the Andes until you reach San Pedro de Atacama, one of the main destinations in the country, where we will visit the most important attractions in the region.

Atacama and Uyuni Salt Flats

Atacama and Uyuni Salt Flats

This is a 100% travel itinerary dedicated to San Pedro de Atacama, in Chile, and Uyuni Salt Flats, in Bolivia. It will take you to know the city of San Pedro de Atacama, where it will be possible to know the magnificent Atacama Desert and the famous Lagunas Altiplanas. Also, you will cross the border to Bolivia to experience the adventure of the famous and surprising Salar de Uyuni

Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu and Titicaca Lake

Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu and Titicaca Lake

This travel itinerary through Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and Lima is incredible! It allows you to get to know the best of the city of Cusco, its Sacred Valley and the majestic ruins of the lost city of Machu Picchu.This nine-day tour also passes through Puno, a city on the banks of the famous and wonderful Lake Titicaca. And to close with a flourish, we arrived in Lima, the Peruvian capital that, among other attractions, today has one of the most prestigious gastronomies in the world!

La Paz, Salar de Uyuni and Atacama

La Paz, Salar de Uyuni and Atacama

Get ready for a trip in which you will pass through two magical countries in Latin America. In this itinerary, you will get to know Bolivia and its capital La Paz, recognized for being the highest capital in the world and not far from there the famous Titicaca Lake and the mystical Isla del Sol (Sun Island). You will also cross the spectacular Uyuni Salt Flats in a jeep. , the salt desert of Bolivia and come across volcanoes, lagoons and vegetation of many colors! Finally, you will arrive in the Chilean city of San Pedro do Atacama, which stands out for its arid and intriguing desert and the amazing Valle de La Luna.

Santiago, Atacama Desert and Uyuni

Santiago, Atacama Desert and Uyuni

You will get to know the best of the Chilean capital of Santiago and its surroundings. You will also spend a few days in San Pedro de Atacama, where you will discover the majestic desert landscapes. And, to close with a flourish, you will also cross the border to Bolivia to have a unique experience in the surprising salt desert of Bolivia, the Salar de Uyuni!


Tour details

  • What to bring

Polque Hot Springs

San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni Tour

A 3-day tour departing from San Pedro de Atacama and ending in Uyuni (Bolivia)

The Uyuni Salt Flats from San Pedro de Atacama departs from San Pedro de Atacama and ends in Uyuni, making it a perfect choice if you are continuing your trip in Bolivia. Our tour is one of the best rated by travelers because we work with the best guides and use the best accommodation available in the area. During the 3 days, you will travel by 4x4 car through the natural wonders of the altiplano: the Salvador Dalí desert, the Polque hot springs, the Eduardo Avaroa Natural Reserve, the spectacular Altiplanic Lagoons and you will finish the tour in the Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt desert in the world, where you will contemplate one of the most magical sunrises to exist and the captivating immensity of the salt desert.

Keep in mind that this activity is an expedition, you will travel long distances in 4x4 car and visit very isolated areas at an altitude of over 4,500 meters (14,750 ft) with an extreme climate, so we recommend that you acclimatize to the altitude beforehand. If you are looking for extra comfort, we advise you to book the private option in hotels.

🔊 Please note that the tour ends in Uyuni, we offer other tours that return to San Pedro or start in Uyuni.

  • Transfer between San Pedro de Atacama - Hito Cajon Border Crossing Point
  • Private transportation in a 7-seater 4x4 vehicle during the tour
  • 2 nights of lodging (based on the selected option)
  • Sleeping bag (June, July, August and September)
  • 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners
  • On private tour: Spanish speaking guide (English speaking guide available as an extra)

Not included

  • On group tour: guide non included
  • Entrance fee to Eduardo Abaroa National Park (150 BOB)
  • Entrance fee to Hot Springs (6 BOB)
  • Incahuasi Island Park entrance fee (30 BOB)
  • Bolivian Exit Border Fee (15 BOB)
  • Other border taxes required according to nationality

Important information

It is very important to acclimatize to the altitude before starting the tour, as the tour passes through high-altitude areas.

🚨 This tour includes two border crossings to access Bolivia. Access regulations may change, and we ask travelers to make sure they meet the requirements for access to the country both in terms of health and immigration (visas). You can see all the information about the nationalities that need to apply for a visa and the necessary documentation to carry out the procedure by clicking here . Border crossings may be delayed both on the outward and return journeys. 

🕗 During the rainy season (January-March) the ending time may be considerably delayed, so we recommend not to take any transportation or flight to another place for that same day. The itinerary may vary in adverse weather conditions or due to force majeure to ensure the safety of travelers. In case it is not possible to access the Incahuasi Island, the visit will be substituted by a sunset view of the salt flat.

Cancellation policy

Free cancellation! If you have booked the tour with hostel accommodation, in a shared or private room, and you cancel at least 72 hours before the tour starts, you will receive 100% of the amount paid. After this time, or in case of a no-show, the booking will be considered a no-show and no refunds will be given.

If you have booked the private tour with hotel accommodation and you cancel at least 30 days before the tour starts, you will receive 100% of the amount paid. After this time, or in case of a no-show, no refunds will be given.

Tour itinerary

Day 1 san pedro de atacama - green and red lagoons - villa mar.

Lodging (according to selected option)

  • Shared room in Villa Mar Hostel
  • Private room in Hostal Villa Mar
  • Private room in Hotel Mallku Cueva ⭐⭐⭐

San Pedro de Atacama

The Uyuni Salt Flats from San Pedro de Atacama starts at 7:00 A.M. with pick-up from your accommodation. Once the whole group has gathered in the minibus, you will head to the Bolivian border. Here you will meet your 4x4 car driver for the adventure, stamp passports, have breakfast, and he will load all your luggage. The adventure begins!

guide loading luggage in the 4x4

White Lagoon and Green Lagoon

Upon entering Bolivia, you will enter directly into the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve , where you will make most of the day’s stops. The first visit is to White Lagoon , located at the foot of the Licancabur volcano, one of the most beautiful sights we will see during these 3 days. You will continue with a stop at Green Lagoon and cross the Salvador Dali Desert, a large plateau surrounded by imposing mountains that will remind you of the works of the famous painter.

green lagoon under the licancabur volcano

Polque Hot Springs - Geysers

The trail continues to the Polque hot springs , where you will enjoy a bath in natural thermal water while the air around you is much colder. Enjoy this relaxing experience!

To continue enjoying this place, you will have lunch with the whole group a few meters from the hot springs with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. We continue on to the Sol de la Mañana Geyser field, full of fumaroles and small geysers.

girls bathing in the polque hot springs

Finally, you will arrive at the Red Lagoon , the best known and most photographed sight. You will walk along a path parallel to the shore of the lagoon to see it up close and observe the immense colony of flamingos that inhabit it. You will then head to Villa Mar, where you will have dinner with your group and spend the night in a shared or private room, according to your choice during the reservation.

panoramic view of laguna colorada

DAY 2 Villa Mar - Valley of Rocks - Salt Hotel in Colcha K

  • Private room in Hotel de Sal Tambo Loma
  • Private room at Palacio de Sal Hotel (or similar) ⭐⭐⭐

Valley of Rocks and Lost Italia

After breakfast, you will visit two areas known for their rock formations, the Valley of Rocks and Lost Italy , increasingly popular with travelers for the whimsical shapes of its rocks, especially The Camel.

camel valley of rocks

Black Lagoon

Lunch time is approaching, and as we walk around the last lagoon you will visit on the tour, the Black Lagoon or Hidden Lagoon. In this area, it is very common to find llamas in the small green valley that leads to the lagoon. In the meantime, the driver will prepare lunch for you and at 1 o'clock it will be time to have lunch together in your "rolling restaurant".

flamingos in the black lagoon

Anaconda Canyon and Sora Wetland

You will continue the route to the Anaconda Canyon , which shows you the immensity of the Bolivian Altiplano, with its river twisting through the valley floor. To see it in its entirety, you'll have to go to some lookout points, which are not usually much to the liking of travelers with vertigo, so it might be ideal to stay a little further back. On the way to your accommodation, you will pass the bofedal (high altitude wetland) of Sora , where you will see llamas, vicuñas, and even some foxes.

lamas in sora wetland

Return to the accommodation

After two days on the road, we will stop at an idyllic local shop, a favorite of the locals, where you can have a few beers (some made from quinoa!) and if technology permits you can connect to their Wi-Fi. At sunset, you will arrive at the best salt hotel in the area, Tambo Loma Salt Hotel, where you will dine with views of the altiplano and rest in rooms entirely made of salt.

A 3-day tour departing from San Pedro de Atacama and ending in Uyuni (Bolivia)


The Uyuni Salt Flats from San Pedro de Atacama of Howlanders includes extra comfort for the second night. On this day you will stay in one of the best salt hotels in the area, The Tambo Loma Hotel, and you will have a private room with private bathroom, even if you book the shared room option.

Remember that if you want to enjoy the comfort of the private room for both nights, you will have to book the tour with the PRIVATE ROOM option.

If you are looking for superior comfort, the tour has a third option of premium accommodation in hotels. This option is only offered in private service for your group and includes the first night at Hotel Mallku Cueva and the second night at Hotel Palacio de Sal, Luna Salada or Cristal Sañana (subject to availability).

bed of the private room in tomba loma salt hotel

DAY 3 Salt Hotel in Colcha K - Uyuni Salt Flats - Uyuni

Uyuni Salt Flats

It's an early start today! The sunrise doesn't wait, so at 5:00 A.M. you will set off for the Uyuni Salt Flats. Make yourself comfortable, wrap up warm, and wait a few minutes to experience one of the most magical sunrises in the world.

sunrise at uyuni salt flats

Incahuasi Island 🌵

You will continue exploring the salt flat and visit Incahuasi Island . This place is home to a unique ecosystem full of giant cacti and, thanks to its elevation, is one of the best places to enjoy the views and take more pictures of the Salar de Uyuni. Please note that during the rainy season it may not be accessible if the area is too flooded, but you will enjoy the "mirror effect" on the salt flat, nature is very kind to us.

You will have breakfast at the foot of the island overlooking the immensity of the salt flat. You will pick up and head to the next stop: photo session in the Salar de Uyuni.

cactus on the incahuasi island

Uyuni Salt Flats - Colchani

During the rainy season (January - March), you will head to the flooded part of the salt flat to see the surreal mirror effect. In the dry season, you will be placed in the middle of the salt flat to take some amazing pictures, and besides taking you to all the corners and cooking for you during the route, the driver will also help you with the pictures. This man is good for everything!

guide taking a funny photo in the uyuni salt flats

Dakar Monument - Island of the Flags

On the way to Colchani, you will make the last stops inside the salt flat at the Dakar sculpture and the famous island of the flags . Arriving in Colchani, you will have some free time to buy some local handicrafts. If you want to take home some souvenirs, this is the best time to buy them.

dakar monument bolivia

Lunch in Uyuni town and Train Cemetery

It has been two days having lunch in the "rolling restaurant" and today the driver will not cook, but you will have lunch with your group in a restaurant in Uyuni town. You will make the last stop of the tour at the train cemetery , an area where the remains of what was once a symbol of Bolivian development rest to their fate. You will say goodbye to the group and end the tour to the Uyuni Salt Flats from San Pedro de Atacama .

ancient train in the train cemetery

What to bring to San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni Tour

  • Warm clothing (yes, the weather is very cold)
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Swimming costume
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Cash (approximately 250 Bolivianos)
  • Toilet paper
  • 2 litres of water per person

Where does the tour San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni Tour start

The tour starts in San Pedro de Atacama. If you arrive in San Pedro de Atacama from Santiago de Chile, the best option is to fly directly to Calama. At Howlanders you can also book a private transfer between Calama airport and San Pedro . 

If you are arriving from Peru, you will most likely be arriving from Cuzco or Arequipa. In this case we recommend you to take a bus that crosses the Arica-Tacna border and then takes you to San Pedro de Atacama, although it is a somewhat complex combination, since it is necessary to combine several buses.

Questions & Answers

What are the differences between shared and private rooms in hostels.

Shared rooms have from 3 to 6 beds and they are used for other travelers, the bathroom is shared with other rooms. On the first night, you can have a hot shower for the cost of 10 pesos bolivianos. The private room has a private bathroom with hot water during both nights and it is not shared with other travelers.

What are the hostels like?

On our tour, the accommodation in Sal is of a higher quality than the rest of the accommodations in the area, and you will always be assigned a private room. The accommodation at Villa Mar is slightly more basic, as there are no higher quality accommodations in the area. Both accommodations have hot water and heating only in common areas, although it may not reach the level of comfort desired by all travelers, in which case we recommend booking the tour in hotels. Keep in mind that this tour is an expedition to a very unpopulated and economically underdeveloped area.

How are the vehicles in which you travel during the tour?

Can i choose a special diet: vegetarian, gluten free…, do i need a visa to cross the border, it is specially cold during the tour, how much luggage can i bring, when can we see the mirror effect, do i have to bring water or the drinks are included, can i buy snacks, sodas or alcoholic drinks during the tour, can i change money in the border, how can i avoid altitude sickness, does the driver speak english will the driver give us explanations and help us to take photos, is the itinerary modified during the rainy season, san pedro de atacama to uyuni tour tour reviews with howlanders, other tours that might interest you from chile.

San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni 4 day Tour

San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni 4 day Tour

Atacama to Uyuni Round Trip

Atacama to Uyuni Round Trip

4 Day Atacama Desert Tour

4 Day Atacama Desert Tour

3 Day Atacama Desert Tour

3 Day Atacama Desert Tour

Other travelers also booked.

Torres del Paine W Trek tour (Patagonia)

Torres del Paine W Trek tour (Patagonia)

Trekking Base Torres Viewpoint

Trekking Base Torres Viewpoint

Rurrenabaque Bolivia Amazon Tour

Rurrenabaque Bolivia Amazon Tour

Geysers del Tatio tour

Geysers del Tatio tour

Roaming Around the World

Travel Guides, Tips, and Tales

Bolivia Salt Flats Tour to Salar de Uyuni: Review, Travel Guide, & Tips

September 30, 2018 By John Widmer 51 Comments

A top highlight for any trip to South America tends to be a Salar de Uyuni Bolivia Salt Flats tour. After exploring the continent for more than a year of adventures, the standard 3-day Bolivia Salts Flats Tour remains one of our absolute favorite experiences. The landscapes crossed during this off-road journey must be some of the most surreal terrain found anywhere in the world.

When visiting the Bolivia Salt Flats, a dramatic vastness is encountered that is unlike anywhere else in the world. In the middle of Salar de Uyuni, visitors are surrounded by 360-degrees of nothingness. There is flat white ground and blue skies in all directions, while a fierce sun beats down onto this high-altitude salt desert. It all makes for an environment that is so serene yet very intense all at the same time.

Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni is like nowhere else on planet earth .

Jumping Salar de Uyuni Bolivia salt flats

Yet it’s not only the Bolivia salt flats themselves that make this adventure so astonishing. The Salar de Uyuni is just the opening act for several otherworldly landscapes that follow during 3-day Salar de Uyuni tours. While traversing the rugged terrain of Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve in a 4×4, there is jaw-dropping scenery around every corner.

You may have some idea of what to expect with Bolivia’s salt flats themselves. But there are many more surprises to be experienced beyond the vast white plains. Tucked into this corner of Bolivia are also red lakes, Dali-like deserts, volcanic backdrops, and unique Andean wildlife. It’s completely awe-inspiring.

It’s these unreal sights that turned this 3-day Bolivia salt flats tour into the most epic off-road trip we could have ever dreamed up!

Laguna verde and volcano Bolivia tour

But the surprises don’t stop with these mind-blowing sights.

Another pleasant revelation is the price of these Bolivia salt flats tours. This must be one of the best value adventures in all of South America . For a price of roughly $50 per day, it includes the 4×4 tour, unique lodging, and even home-cooked Bolivian meals. It all adds up to an incredible travel bargain to match all this incredible natural beauty.

In this article, we want to attempt to show just how special a Bolivia salt flats tour can be. But words and photos don’t do it justice. The Salar de Uyuni salt flats are one of those places that have to be experienced in person. So this post goes further to dish out all the info, detailing how to plan your own Bolivia Salt Flats tour .

The first part of this post reviews our journey. But if you came to this webpage looking for more logistical info on how to visit the Bolivia salt flats, you can skip to any of the info-packed sections that follow:

  • About the Salar de Uyuni
  • Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
  • How to Visit the Bolivia Salt Flats
  • Uyuni | Tupiza | San Padro de Atacama
  • How to Book the Cheapest Price
  • Why Pay More for Better Quality
  • Additional Costs to Budget For
  • Three Best-Reviewed Tour Companies in Uyuni
  • Review of Salty Desert Aventours
  • Best Time to Go
  • Bolivia Salt Flats Packing List
  • Where To Stay in Uyuni
  • More Travel Tips

Background About the Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia

The Bolivia Salt Flats, known as “Salar de Uyuni,” is the largest salt flats in the world!  These Uyuni salt flats measure a massive 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 sq mi). For perspective, that’s roughly the same size as the entire country of Lebanon (4,036 sq mi) or Jamaica (4,243 sq mi)!

The Salar de Uyuni is so enormous that it can be seen from space and on satellite maps.

Salar de Uyuni satellite map

Source: Google Maps

The huge salt deposit of Salar de Uyuni covers much of Southwestern Bolivia, high in the Altiplano of the Andes Mountains. At an elevation of 3,656 meters (or 2.27 miles high), Salar de Uyuni boasts some serious altitude. Despite being high in the rugged Andes, the Salar de Uyuni is one of the most consistently flat places in the world .

The Salar de Uyuni is a remnant of a giant prehistoric lake that once covered this area some tens of thousands of years ago. Once that ancient saltwater lake dried up, it left the thick salt crust that remains here today.

Yet the Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats still become lake-like throughout the year during seasonal rainfalls that flood the salt flats. It adds a completely different dynamic to the stark landscape. Under calm wind conditions, a thin sheet of water then forms on the Bolivia salt flats which acts as a giant reflective mirror that is a lot of fun for photos!

Today the salt is mined and harvested from the salt flats, not only for consumption but also to be used as a building material. Yet tourism is becoming another major draw for the Salar de Uyuni salt flats. And rightfully so – it’s an incredible place to visit!

Salar Uyuni Bolivia Salt Flats

There are now daily tours that set off to explore not only the Salar de Uyuni but also the high Andes in the surrounding area. We took one of the 3-day Bolivia salt flats tours ourselves to see what it’s all about. Below gives our detailed review of what that experience is like.

The 3-Day Salar de Uyuni Bolivia Salt Flats Tour Review

Our 3-Day Bolivia salt flats tour began in the dusty streets of Uyuni, located down in the southwestern reaches of Bolivia. This is the closest hub to Salar de Uyuni and is the most common place in the country to begin a Bolivia salt flats tour.

Really, we had no idea what was in store for us over the following three days. Before reading the details, be sure to check out our video below to better grasp what this experience is like in motion:

The Bolivia Salt Flats Tour Adventure Begins: Day 1

By mid-morning, our bags were packed and thrown on top of the 4×4 taking us across the rugged terrain over the next three days. We met our travel mates, now rolling six-deep in the Land Rover. It was time to begin this epic adventure! But we wouldn’t be traveling too far.

The first stop was only a few minutes outside of Uyuni. And what a bizarre place it was!

Rolling Out with A Bang: The Strange Uyuni Train Cemetery

Uyuni’s train cemetery is where trains have come to die. In the 1940’s when Bolivia’s mining industry collapsed, old steamers began to pile up just outside of this trading post town, where they still remain today.

Now this train cemetery has become a bizarre attraction in this vast desert in Southern Bolivia. It feels like some sort of post-apocalyptic wasteland as you can climb atop and crawl through these old abandoned train cars. It’s both strange and fascinating!

Train Cemetery Uyuni Bolivia

A Llama & Salt Museum?

Next on the agenda of a 3-day Bolivia salt flats tour from Uyuni is a brief stop in the tiny town of Cochani. It’s here that you can shop for handicrafts or last-minute supplies. Cochani is also where you can pop into the Museo de la Llama y la Sal .

Yes, it’s a museum dedicated to salt and llamas. How could you not go in?

The museum isn’t much. The “exhibits” amount to Bolivian Barbie dolls recreating salt mining scenes , which is worth a good laugh. But there is actually some good information too and it’s presented in multiple languages.

Plus the modest 5 BOB (~$0.70) entrance fee includes use of the toilets. So go check out some salt & llamas before relieving your bladder!

Llama and salt museum Cochani Bolivia

Driving Into the Bolivia Salt Flats of Salar de Uyuni!

Now the journey into the Uyuni salt flats begins!

Excitement grows as the Land Rover starts to plow over the thick white crust. It wasn’t long until we were able to stretch our legs at the Ojos de Agua . That’s the “eyes of the water,” which is a bubbling spring in the middle of the salt flats.

ojos de agua Bolivia salt flats

Next, it’s off to the original Salt Hotel for lunch. The hotel is constructed entirely of salt. Sure, it’s impressive, but it’s the barren surroundings of the salt flats themselves that really wows.

Our chicken, veggie, and pasta lunch was decent, albeit a little bland. Surprisingly, it needed… salt.

We asked our guide for some “sal” and he just pointed to the ground. So we scraped up some salt off the floor and that did the trick. I guess it doesn’t get much fresher than that!

Uyuni Salt hotel dining area

Back in the Land Rover, it’s a long journey out into the wide expanse of the Salar de Uyuni. There’s nothing but blue and white in every direction . It’s disorienting at times and makes you wonder how the drivers are able to navigate this massive stretch of nothingness.

Eventually, we stopped at a point where we literally felt like we were in the middle nowhere. The stark landscape was void of anything as far as the eye could see. The tall Andes peaks that were once looming in the distance had vanished.

This is the point during the Bolivia Salt Flats tour where you have an opportunity to stop and take funny photos using forced perspective.


Then the journey continues across the plains until you reach …an island?

Incahuasi: The “Fish Island” in a Salt Desert

The next stop on this Bolivia Salt Flats tour of Salar de Uyuni was indeed an island!

Incahuasi, or Fish Island, is named as such because of its shape. We were traveling firmly on land the entire time, yet this hill sprouting out from the Uyuni salt flats, still very much felt like a true island in this sea of salt . After nothing but white ground, it’s a strange sight to see emerge from nowhere.

The “island” is formed from petrified coral. After all, this area had been the top of an ancient volcano sitting in a prehistoric lake. Today huge cactuses have taken over the rocky terrain. As we hiked all around the island admiring the cacti, our lungs were soon reminded about the high altitude amidst the otherwise flat expanse of nothingness.

Incahuasi: The “Fish Island” during Bolivia Salt Flat Tour in Salar de Uyuni

Sunset on the Bolivia Salt Flats of Salar de Uyuni

The final stop before nightfall on this Bolivia Salt Flats tour, it’s off to see the sunset. If you happen to be traveling through the Salar de Uyuni during the wet season, you may be in for a particularly incredible display. If the winds are calm, the thin sheet of w ater covering the Bolivia Salt Flats can act as a giant mirror . This can produce a sunset above and below!

Bolivia salt flat sunset

As darkness takes over the night sky and the air chills, the driver turns on the high beams. It was then he managed to navigate to yet another one-of-a-kind experience during a 3-day Bolivia salt flat tour: sleeping in a salt hotel in the middle of Salar de Uyuni!

What It’s Like To Sleep in a Salt Hotel  in the Bolivia Salt Flats

Aside from some doors and wooden beams, the entire hotel is made from salt! The walls are salt. The chairs and table in the dining hall are salt. Everything is salt!

It is a different grade of salt that is used for construction than what you’re accustomed to shaking from a salt shaker. The building is a very solid structure. It’s not crumbling at all, and rather more like hardened cement.

The salt hotel rooms are completely barren, but the beds are comfortable enough. It certainly wasn’t our best night sleep, but we were able to doze off just fine. And this salt hotel has gone down as one of the most unique and interesting places we’ve ever slept!

Salt hotel bed during Bolivia salt flat tour of Salar de Uyuni

Day 2 of Bolivia Salt Flats Tour: Off-Roading Into the Andes

The second day of this grand adventure leaves the salt flats entirely and travels high into the Andes of Southern Bolivia. For most people, the Salar de Uyuni itself is the highlight of a 3-day Bolivia salt flats tour.

The salts flats themselves are indeed spectacular. Yet we would argue that some of the surreal landscapes that followed were equally as impressive . There is much more to a Bolivia salt flats tour than the salt flats themselves.

We soon learned this first hand, as the high Andes peaks began to come into view as the morning drive commenced. This is where we visited a local town seemingly in the middle of nowhere, then stretched our legs at some train tracks leading into Chile.

Bolivia train tracks into Chile

As the journey continued, we began to understand how Day #2 of this Bolivia salt flats tour would flow. We would drive around gawking at the scenery and then come to sudden stops to get out and explore the amazing landscapes. It was a pattern that repeated itself time and time again.

Our next chance to explore was around Mars-like rock formations that littered the ground.

rock formations and mountain during 3-day Salar de Uyuni Salt Flat tour

Wildlife Spotted during a 3-Day Bolivia Salt Flats Tour

Throughout the drive across southern Bolivia, herds of llamas would come and go, as would the occasional alpaca.

Llamas during Bolivia salt flat tour

But llamas aren’t the only animals you can find here.

We were a bit shocked to see flamingos – yes, flamingos – way up here among snow-covered mountaintops. The last time we saw flamingos was while roaming around the Galapagos , in a characteristically tropical environment.

Had these tropical birds lost their way? Apparently, there is a rare breed of Andean flamingos that flock to these lakes in Southern Bolivia!

Andes flamingos in Southern Bolivia

After lunch with our flamingo friends, we began to see more wildlife than we hadn’t expected. We almost couldn’t believe our eyes when we quickly passed what looked like an ostrich on the side of the road. Were we having flashbacks to our game drives during the prior year’s big African safari ?

Turns out this wasn’t an ostrich, but close. We had spotted a rhea , which is another big flightless bird related to the ostrich and emu, but rheas are native to South America.

We also came across a charming Andean fox, who approached our Land Rover. Given the fox’s strange behavior, we fear that other drivers may be feeding him. Not good!

Andean fox in Bolivia

Here sure was a handsome fox though.

Yet perhaps the cutest animal we spotted during the entire 3-day Bolivia salt flats tour was a little viscancha that looks like a giant rabbit with a longer tail. Apparently, it is a type of chinchilla.

A viscancha is one wildlife that we saw during the Salar de Uyuni Bolivia Salt Flat tour

After visiting one of the most barren landscapes in the world, it was a bit surprising to see this land thriving with so much wildlife.

Bolivia May Hold the Most Surreal Landscapes in the World

The Bolivia salt flats tour continued into Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve as the mountains surrounding us seemed to grow higher and higher. This is when things really began to take a turn for the otherworldly, as Bolivia served us up a 3-course afternoon of surrealism .

The appetizer course began with a green-ish lake , appropriately named “Laguna Verde” or “Green Lagoon.” Arsenic and other minerals give the lake its green appearance, which changes colors based upon winds and sediment levels. And while the lake is pretty, you can’t help but also admire the looming volcanoes that act as a backdrop.

Laguna Verde during 3-day Bolivia Salt Flat Tour

The main course was a stone forest that appeared to be something right out of a Dali painting.

The Arbol de Piedra or “Stone Tree” makes for some great photo ops. Years of erosion from sand and wind have created its peculiar shape that stands 7 meters (23 feet) tall.

Arbol de Piedra is Stone Tree you see during the 3-day Salir de Uyuni Bolivia salt flat tour

For dessert, Bolivia treated us to a red lake !

Laguna Colorada has reddish hues due to algae pigmentations mixing with natural sediments. It makes for an incredible sight if you’re lucky enough to catch the lake when the red colors are showing heavily. We were fortunate to arrive to Laguna Colorada on what was apparently a great day. The lake was not only in full display, but even more flamingos were wading in the waters and flying above!

Laguna Colorada is a red lake within Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve Bolivia

Winding Down the Adventure of the Uyuni Salt Flats Tour

The second day of this Bolivia salt flats tour ended in a tiny little village in the middle of nowhere that seems to cater to the few carloads of people that turn up here each night. And by that, I mean every building was either a hostel or a beer store. Even in the middle of nowhere, there was certainly no shortage of places to find booze.

We almost couldn’t believe it when we even found a billiard with a super friendly owner who was rocking out to 60’s music. It was irresistible to wander onto his gravel floor to kick back a few cervezas while the moon rose and dinner was prepared.

billards in Southern Bolivia salt flat tour

Day 3: Intrigue Off-Roading Across Southern Bolivia

The last day of the 3-day Bolivia salt flats tour is long on driving but still packs a few surprises.

A Mini-Yellowstone in Southern Bolivia

It was a pre-dawn start to the day in the freezing early morning hours. With the skies still pitch black, we arrived at a geyser field. Vents in the ground sprayed steam and hot water into the air. It’s a mystical sight under the moonlight, although it left us yearning for what it looks like during the day.

steam vents and geysers during 3-day Bolivia salt flat tour

Not far from all the geyser action is a hot pool. Temperatures at this high altitude are below the freezing mark.

Disrobing in such a frigid environment is unnerving. But taking off those warm outer layers is inevitable if you want to take a dip in the natural hot waters.

It was worth it to be able to have a nice soak after a few salty and dusty days on the road.

Hot springs during 3-day Bolivia salt flat tour

Some Final Surreal Scenes on the Way Back to Uyuni

Upon drying off, we set off on the long drive back to Uyuni as the final portion of the 3-day Bolivia salt flats tour. But not before stopping at what is known as the Salvador Dali Desert .

It’s named as such since the valley resembles works from the famous surreal artist.

Salvador Dali Desert during Bolivia Salt Flat tour

Surreal indeed!

Then it’s a 6-hour drive from the southern reaches of Bolivia back up to Uyuni. The day winds down by stopping at a few peculiar towns while passing many llamas & alpacas.

Alota Canyon Bolivia (Cañon de Alota)

A final unexpected stunner of this salt flats tour was the steep edges of the Alota Canyon. Standing atop the vertigo-inducing cliffs was a perfect sendoff from this astounding three-day adventure.

Ultimately, this 3-day Bolivia salt flats tour was the best off-road  trip  ever.

How to Visit the Salar de Uyuni Bolivia Salt Flats

There are lots of logistics involved when planning a trip to Bolivia’s Salt Flats. There are multiple places to start such a tour and different tour lengths. There are also different comfort levels, prices, and dozens of different companies to consider when choosing a tour of Salar de Uyuni. This remainder of this post will help to break that all down so you know what to budget for, how to get a good price, and a review of some of the more trustworthy tour companies.

Yet there are so many other tips that travelers need to be prepared with. You should know some key items to pack for this adventure into the remote landscapes of Bolivia. Clothing packed for this trip may greatly depend on the season that you visit the Uyuni Salt Flats, so this is covered too among loads of important travel tips for this unique adventure.

Where To Start a Salar de Uyuni Bolivia Salt Flats Tour?

Most people tend to visit Bolivia’s Salt Flats as part of a tour. And these tours depart from three different locations. Bolivia salt flats tours usually span 1, 3, or 4 days, depending on where you start your tour and what you prefer.

Where to start a Bolivia salt flats tour is the most often asked Uyuni-related question we see come up in travel forums. We’re always surprised to see this topic constantly being debated in travel groups and message boards with every traveler claiming their starting point is the best place to start.

Everyone who went from Tupiza will claim that’s the best way to go. Those who departed from San Pedro de Atacama will profess that’s the best place to begin a salt flats tour.

Really, they’re all wrong.

The truth is that  the best location to start a Bolivia salt flats tour is entirely dependent on where you’re coming from and where you’re traveling to .

Understand, there are three main locations in which you can arrange and begin a Salar de Uyuni salt flats tour:

  • Tupiza, Bolivia
  • San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Map of locations to take a Bolivia Salt Flat tour: Uyuni, Tupiza, and San Pedro de Atacama

Source map: Google Maps

1) Depart from Uyuni if Coming from the North

From almost everywhere in Bolivia to the salt flats, it’s best to begin in Uyuni . If you are coming from Sucre, Potosi, Ororu, or nearly anywhere else in Bolivia, it is best to catch a bus (or train from Ororu) to Uyuni and begin the Bolivia salt flats tour there. It only makes practical sense to do so. Otherwise, you’ll spend additional time and money backtracking.

When departing from Uyuni, it is possible to make a roundtrip tour, as described in this post or continue onward into Chile. Taking the roundtrip tour is best for those returning back to La Paz or anywhere north. Yet it is also practical for those who may be continuing south into Argentina. Yet anyone on a southbound track into Chile will certainly want to take the one-way option that ends in San Pedro de Atacama.

It is easily possible to continue south by transferring to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, instead of returning to Uyuni. While this does incur an addest cost, it will save you from a lengthy drive back to Uyuni and travel expenses to Chile from there. Plus it’s a fun way to cross a rural border.

Or Consider Departing from La Paz to Uyuni

If coming from La Paz, Bolivia : You may want to consider a Bolivia Salt Flats tour originating from La Paz. Those who are comfortable with independent travel can get from La Paz to Uyuni by bus, or even plane, on their own. Yet a more seamless approach is to book a Bolivia salt flats tour directly from La Paz. This is a particularly attractive option for those needing to return to La Paz after touring the Bolivia salt flats.

  • For example, this 4-day Tour from La Paz is a good and economical option that includes an English-speaking guide: Check prices and availability .

2) Depart from Tupiza if Coming from Argentina 🇦🇷

If coming from Argentina to the Bolivia salt flats , it’s best to begin in Tupiza , Bolivia. Tupiza is within easy reach of the Bolivia-Argentina border. From Tupiza you can find 4-day Bolivia salt flat tours that end in Uyuni. This is a great route if you are heading on a northbound trajectory from Argentina into Bolivia.

The tour from Tupiza to Uyuni has an extra day that includes some additional sites near Tupiza. It then continues on to include most of the natural attractions mentioned throughout this post, culminating in the salt flats, which are visited on the fourth and final day. Expect to pay a per-person cost of roughly $200 for this 4-day salt flats tour from Tupiza.

For anyone searching for a Bolivia salt flats tour that goes in the reserve route, from Uyuni to Tupiza, this is only possible for a more costly custom tour. For those traveling from Uyuni onward to Argentina, a Uyuni-to-Tupiza route across the salt flats would seem to be a logical track. Unfortunately, this is not a standard tour offering. So a Uyuni to Tupiza route is only available for very high prices, as a private tour. Prices for Uyuni to Tupiza depends on the number of people and the agency. Expect anywhere from about $350-$750 USD per person.

3) Depart from San Pedro de Atacama if Coming from Chile 🇨🇱

If coming from Chile to the Bolivia salt flats, it’s best to begin in San Pedro de Atacama , Chile. You can organize a 3-day Bolivia salt flats tour in San Pedro de Atacama which ends in Uyuni. This is a great route for anyone traveling northbound in Chile into Bolivia.

Salar de Uyuni salt flats tours departing from San Pedro de Atacama are typically one-way tours, which ultimately end in Uyuni. During this San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni route, the salt flats are toured on the final day.

When coming from San Pedro de Atacama, prices do tend to be much higher than tours from Uyuni. However, the costs and travel time involved in traveling from Chile to Uyuni on your own would far outweigh any cost savings incurred from booking the cheaper tour there once you arrive.

One-Day Bolivia Salt Flats Tours Are Only from Uyuni

Of those three starting points, the Bolivia salt flats themselves are closest to the town of Uyuni. As such, Uyuni is the only place possible to embark on a one-day tour of the actual Salar de Uyuni. A one-day Uyuni salt flats tour follows closely to our first-day itinerary but then returns to the town of Uyuni rather than staying in a salt hotel and continuing southbound through the Andes.

Although it is possible to tour the salt flats from Uyuni in a single day, we instead recommend the 3-day Bolivia salt flats tour . We think it is so worth it to experience the incredible landscapes all throughout the Andes of Southern Bolivia, making for what we now believe to be one of the best off-road adventures in the world!

How Much Does the Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats Tour Cost?

The price of a three-day Salar de Uyuni Bolivia salt flats tour can be  as little as 600 BOB (~$87 USD) for a really good deal or well into the several hundreds of dollars for a premium tour booked in advance. Most 3-day salt flats tours from Uyuni are priced between $100-$200 USD.  ( Note: These Bolivia Salt Flat tour prices are up-to-date as of July 2019 .)

Prices for Salar de Uyuni tours do tend to vary based on factors such as the exact tour company, the quality of the guide (and language), your starting location, and whether booking in advance or showing up in Uyuni to get a last-minute rate.

How To Book the Cheapest Bolivia Salt Flats Tour

The cheapest Bolivia salt flats tours are Spanish-speaking drivers only and can be found last-minute in Uyuni. That’s what we were after and we secured our Bolivia salt flats tour in Uyuni for 700 BOB .

To book the cheapest Salar de Uyuni salt flats tour, just show up to Uyuni. Bolivia salt flats tours are almost always available in Uyuni departing every day. You may want to book your tour the day before, but it is even possible to take an overnight bus into Uyuni and depart the very same day. In fact, we saw many people who came directly from the bus station and joined a tour the same day, with no advanced reservations.

Why Consider Paying More for a Guide and Booking in Advance

Having an English-speaking guide will cost nearly double the amount of touring the Bolivia Salt Flats with a Spanish-speaking driver. Yet that can often be worth the cost so you can actually learn about all these amazing places that you’re visiting. If you don’t speak any Spanish at all, you should definitely consider this. But even if you do speak some Spanish, we found that the Spanish-speaking drivers tend not to offer much info, even in Spanish.

Another factor that will help drive costs up is booking in advance through an agency or simply showing up in Uyuni to book at a last-minute rate directly with the tour company. If you have time, have flexible travel plans, and are on a budget, booking last minute in Uyuni can be great way to get a cheap price on the Bolivia Salt Flats tour.

Yet if you have a fixed itinerary and not much time , it is advisable to secure a Bolivia salt flats tour in advance. This 3-day tour is the cheapest we’ve seen among the major reliable online tour booking sites. It also has options to choose between a Spanish-speaking driver or an English-speaking guide:

  • Check pricing and availability of this tour on Viator

Total Costs of Bolivia Salt Flats Tour

In addition to the tour cost itself, there is another 200 BOB worth of entrance fees and other expenses to budget for (detailed in the section below). Once factoring in extra costs like bottled waters, pay toilets and perhaps a few beers, you can realistically plan to budget for a grand total of about 1,000 BOB for a cheap 3-day Bolivia salt flats tour if booked in Uyuni at last-minute with a Spanish-speaking driver.

Example costs and budget for a Bolivia Salt Flats tour (3-day) :

700 BOB (Bolivia salt flats tour price at a last-minute rate in Uyuni) + 200 BOB (various entrance fees) + 100 BOB (incidentals like toilets, showers, water, snacks) = 1,000 BOB

At a price that amounts to less than $50 USD per person, per day, we find this to be amazing value for what is one of the best road trips on the planet.

🇨🇱 Note for San Pedro de Atacama Chile : a Bolivia salt flats tour beginning in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, will be higher as you’ll be paying in Chilean agencies in Chilean pesos. Also if you are traveling from Uyuni to San Pedro de Atacama, this will also incur an additional transfer fee to get to Chile.

Tours from Tupiza are also slightly higher in price compared to salt flats tours from Uyuni. But tours starting in Tupiza do include an extra day.

What’s Included in the Bolivia Salt Flats Tours Price?

Transport, driver/guide, accommodation, and all meals should be included in the price of the tour with most Bolivia salt flats tour companies. But be sure to verify this with the tour companies before departure.

Admissions fees typically are NOT included and you must budget extra for them. You can expect to pay nearly 200 BOB (~$29) for entrance fees in total. Here is the budget breakdown on how much that costs:

  • Museum of salt and llamas entrance fee: 5 BOB
  • Fish Island entrance fee: 30 BOB
  • Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve entrance fee: 150 BOB
  • Hot Springs entrance: 6 BOB

Here are some additional expenses you may encounter with most Bolivia salt flats tour companies during a Salar de Uyuni tour:

  • Use of toilets: free at hotels, 5-10 BOB elsewhere
  • Hot shower at hotel: 15 BOB
  • Snacks and drinks: prices vary; a 1-liter beers cost 30 BOB each
  • Souvenirs: Prices vary
  • Godzilla for perspective photos: 15 BOB
  • Tips for the driver: at your discretion

Salty Desert Aventours Land Rover on Salar de Uyuni salt flat tour

Choosing a Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats Tour Company

You can find horror stories online about deadly accidents during Bolivia salt flats tours and careless drivers. While traveling through Bolivia, we spoke to other travelers who told us firsthand accounts of their driver getting drunk and leaving them without dinner, only to reemerge midday the next day. This actually happens and your safety is at risk. As such, it is important to use a trusted Bolivia salt flats tour company. Don’t necessarily go with the guy who offers you the best deal here.

Whoever you book with, be certain to vet them out. Read their latest TripAdvisor reviews   to check for any accidents reported. Ensure the vehicle is in good condition. Ask (and insist) that the vehicle has seat belts for everyone. Before booking a Salar de Uyuni tour, ask the salt flats tour company review the itinerary to confirm the exact locations that will be visited.

3 Best Rated Bolivia Salt Flats Tour Companies with Prices

To save you some researching, we examined the best salt flats tours from Uyuni, rated on TripAdvisor. Then we spent a day walking around Uyuni to get price quotes and itineraries from each of the three top-rated Uyuni tour operators. The route and itinerary reviewed by each of the Bolivia salt flat tour companies went to all the same highlights, with only some very minor differences.

Here are the Bolivia Salt Flats tour prices that we found in April 2017, per person:

  • Salty Desert Aventours price : 700 BOB (~$101 USD)
  • Andes Salt Express price : 800 BOB (~$116 USD)
  • Quechua Connection price : 1,250 BOB (~$181 USD)

Update 2019: Reports from other travelers going to the Bolivia Salts Flats in 2019 have indicated prices are the same.

Quechua Connection has a significantly higher price, so we asked them what makes it worth it. They claim that they use newer vehicles, provide better meals, a guaranteed-English speaking guide, 20-minutes of mountain biking around the salt flats, private hotels, and “little extras.” For us, it didn’t seem worth the added expense. But Quechua Connection does receive rave reviews, so you may want to consider the splurge if you’re looking for a more premium experience and an English-speaking guide.

Based on the low price and a track record of good reviews, we chose to go with Salty Desert Aventours and booked it the same morning that we departed.

Salty Desert Aventours Offroad Salt Flat Tour of Salar de Uyuni

Review of Salty Desert Aventours Bolivia Salt Flats Tour

So how was it?

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the 3-day salt flats tour with Salty Desert Aventours. But it was not without its shortcomings.

+ On the positive side:

  • We visited all the locations that were promised, which were incredible.
  • Our driver was safe and handled the vehicle well – very important!
  • Aside from some small cracks in the windshield, the Land Rover was in good condition  and had working seat belts for all passengers.
  • Our driver was timely , yet we never felt rushed.
  • The meals were basic but good, and we never went hungry. There was even wine provided with dinner one night.
  • The rustic accommodation was very basic. But it was adequate and as we expected. The Salt Hotel was a fun novelty.
  • At 700 BOB (~$100 USD) for the entire 3-day tour, it was fantastic value !

– Yet there was some room for improvement. The biggest way our tour could have been better was our driver. He was just that: a “driver,” and not much of a “guide.” He was your classic C-student. He did just enough to pass (drove safe, was timely) but never went above & beyond like some of the other great guides we had been spoiled with during other tours throughout South America. (Our guides during our Death Road tour and the Machu Picchu Inca Jungle Trek were excellent!)

The Bolivia salt flats tour driver only spoke Spanish, which we knew in advance, and that was fine (particularly for the price paid). But he didn’t speak much at all. Typically when we would arrive somewhere, he would tell us the name of the place and how much time we would spend there. And that was it. We didn’t learn anything. And some places, we would just wander around on our own, not really knowing where to go.

Meanwhile, we overheard other guides, even from this very same company – Salty Desert Aventours, who filled their passengers with interesting facts and were energetic. They helped to take fun photos of their passengers and always had smiles on their faces. Our driver not only lacked information but he also completely lacked even the tiniest ounce of enthusiasm. But mostly we were disappointed that we didn’t learn much during this otherwise incredible adventure.

That said, with horror stories of skipping sites, a dire lack of safety, and even drunken drivers – we never had any concerns at all with our driver on those fronts. He met all of those expectations.

Things could have been much worse, but they also could have been better. If you really want a great guide, you need to pay more than the meager 700 BOB that we spent on this Bolivia salt flats tour.

We got a great deal, which got us a good driver who wasn’t really a “guide.” Ultimately, we’re okay with that.

So overall  we still wholeheartedly recommend Salty Desert Aventours, and particularly so for the price of 700 BOB. If you want an enthusiastic English-speaking guide, simply expect to pay more, whether booking through Salty Desert Aventours or elsewhere. For us, we felt it was worth the cost savings to have a good & safe driver who didn’t provide any guide services. You’ll have to decide whether it is worth paying more for a great guide.

Driving over flooded Bolivia salt flats in the salar de uyuni during a tour

Tips for the Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats Tour

From packing to showering to safety tips, here is some critical advice to know before you go!

When Is the Best Time to Go to Bolivia Salt Flats?

An experience at the Bolivia salt flats can be quite different based on the season: wet season vs dry season. Here’s the weather you can expect at the Boliva salt flats throughout the year:

  • January to March is the wet season in Bolivia salt flats and the best bet to see the mirror effect on the salt flats. However, the Salar de Uyuni may be too flooded during this time to be able to visit Isla Incahuasi (AKA Fish Island).
  • March and early April may have a thin layer of water left on the salt flats, yet tends to be dry enough to get to the Fish Island.
  • End of April and May brings the potential for snow, which is rare but has been known to alter travel plans and even close the border between Bolivia and Chile.
  • June through September are the coldest months and also the driest. Expect below-freezing temperatures at night. Pack warmly!
  • October through December begins to warm-up. November to December tends to be warmest (although still quite chilly at night, given the high altitude). November is also when the rains begin, which comes to an apex in January.

What To Pack on the Salar de Uyuni Bolivia Salt Flats Tour

If you are taking a roundtrip tour, returning to Uyuni, you can store your bags with the tour operator or your hotel/hostel. If so, only pack the essentials.

👕 Clothes for 3 days – Temperatures change vastly, as it is very hot during the day and freezing at night. Have clothing for both extremes.

👙 Bathing suit:  You’ll need something to wear into the hot springs.

💧 Bottled water:  Some drinking water is included when served with meals. Otherwise, you need to bring your own. There are opportunities to purchase bottled water along the way, but you’ll pay about double the price for it in these remote locations compared to in Uyuni. So we recommend picking up a few bottles before the tour departs. Plan for a minimum of a 1.5-liter bottle of water each day.

😎 Sun protection:  It is easy to get fried in the high altitude under the beaming sun. While you can find it in Uyini, it’s best to stock up on  sunscreen and lip balm before your adventure. Don’t forget to pack a good hat and sunglasses .

📷 Camera : There are plenty of Instagramable moments to capture throughout the journey into the Boliva salt flats, so don’t forget your camera or phone, and keep it charged.

🔋 Backup battery : We found it tough to keep our devices charged during the 3-day tour due to a lack of electricity and power outlets. But we use this powerful yet small backup battery which recharges our phone and camera many times over.

🔦 Flashlight (torch) : You need a flashlight in the mornings to be able to see. Electricity isn’t running during this time, so you’ll need to pack up in the dark with the aid of a flashlight. It’s also nice to have for any wandering around outside at night for stargazing and during the predawn visit to the geyser field. We like this strong little travel flashlight .

♨️ Towel : You’ll need a towel to dry off from any showers and after a dip in the hot springs. We love this lightweight, quick-drying, travel towel .

🚽 Toilet paper : Some of the toilets are BYO-TP. Be prepared.

🚼 Baby wipes : In the realistic instance that you’re not able to shower, baby wipes can be an invaluable luxury to help freshen up after a dusty day on the road.

🏜️ Lotion : As you might imagine, it’s very dry out in the Bolivia salt flats.

🚻 Toiletries : You know what you need, so just don’t forget to pack it. Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, medicine, tampons, etc.

🃏 Deck of cards : You may have some downtime at the end of each day. We had fun playing card games with our travel mates, so you may want to bring a deck too. These non-tear cards are perfect for travel.

🦎 Props for funny photos : Think about packing a small prop or two. Godzilla is a popular option and can be purchased along the way. Or just use whatever happens to be lying around. Wine bottles and Pringles canisters work well.

💵 Cash money : You’ll need a minimum of 200 BOB for entrance fees alone, but we suggest bringing at least 400 BOB (or more) for toilets, showers, beers, snacks, tips, or any unexpected expenses that may arise. You won’t find any ATMs outside of Uyuni.

Important Bolivia Salt Flats Tour packing tip:

When packing, keep a small bag in the car with you that includes things you’ll be using throughout the day like your camera, drinking water, and sunscreen. It is difficult to access bags that are thrown on top of the vehicle. So it’s important to bring two bags:

  • your main pack that goes atop the 4×4, and
  • a small day pack to bring inside the vehicle

For more packing tips and a complete pack list of what we used throughout our entire South America trip, check out our Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist .

Land Rover during Bolivia Salt Flat tour

Where to Stay in Uyuni Before & After the Tour

There are plenty of places in Uyuni to plunk down for a night, either before or after the Salt Flats tour while awaiting transportation connections. Solo travelers will find no shortage of hostels. And there are also some decent budget hotels for added comfort and privacy.

We stayed at and recommend Hotel Salcay ,   as what we think to be the best value option in Uyuni. It’s only about $20 USD per night, which includes a good breakfast with made-to-order eggs. Rooms were fairly basic but clean & comfy. The bathroom had a consistently great hot shower. The wifi worked well too. Check recent reviews and search your dates here.

More Bolivia Salt Flats Travel Tips:

Here is some additional advice on things to know before you take a Bolivia salt flats tour:

📱 Charge : Fully charge your camera/phone and bring a backup battery. There was electricity at the hostels we stayed in but it was on for only limited hours and all the outlets became full with everybody wanting to charge their devices at the same time. To be able to capture the awesome scenery during the tour, be sure to have a full charge and a bring a portable charger, like this one , to keep your battery life at 100%.

💻 Disconnect : Expect to go on a digital detox during the Bolivia salt flats tour. We never encountered wifi nor had data on our phone throughout the entire three days. Be prepared to log off.

🚿 Showering : There are showers at the hotels but they are not reliable and may be cold. Mentally prepare yourself for the possibility of not showering for 3 days. That way if you come across a good shower, it will be a pleasant surprise. We got lucky with a great hot shower during our second night, but not the first night.

🚙 Choose tour company wisely : While this has already been mentioned, we can’t reiterate the importance of thoroughly vetting out the salt flat tour companies that you may be considering going with. Doing so will not only ensure you see these amazing sights but will also keep you safe on this tour route that has become notorious for bad operators.

⛰️ Acclimate : After leaving the salt flats you climb to elevations of about 4,500 meters. We had been at high altitude for the past several weeks, so we only felt a shortness of breath while walking around. But we saw a few others suffering severely from altitude sickness. We actually saw one girl collapse and the guides had to scramble to find oxygen tanks. It was scary! So be sure to give yourself a few days to acclimatize to the high elevation. Take it easy. Drink the coca tea – it really helps. If you are particularly prone to altitude sickness, consider taking this natural medication . It’s a bit pricey but the many favorable reviews note that it’s well worth it. Consider grabbing it to avoid that throbbing headache so you can instead enjoy your trip.

⚠️ Travel insurance : This is one of those activities in which you definitely need to have travel insurance. There have been horrific accidents on the Bolivia salt flats involving vehicles overturning. There are regular accidents, injuries, and even deaths. Most recently (June 2019), two British backpackers and their driver were killed when their vehicle overturned on the Bolivia Salt Flats.

Whatever travel insurance you have, be absolutely certain that your policy includes emergency medical evacuation in case any serious mishaps arise. We use World Nomads which does carry this evac coverage and much more. You’ll want a travel insurance policy for any trip to South America that will further protect you from theft, lost luggage, sickness, trip cancelation, natural disasters, and much more. And if you’re reading this from South America and your trip has already started, World Nomads is one of the few travel insurance agencies that will allow you to begin a policy after your trip has begun. So it’s not too late.  Enter your travel dates here to get a quick quote .

The Bolivia Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats Tour

We hope this post and travel video have given you a glimpse of what this awesome trip is like!

Hopefully, this Bolivia Salt Flats travel guide and tips have proven helpful to plan your own Salar de Uyuni tour.

It makes for an adventure of a lifetime! Feel free to chime in below in the comments to let us know if you have any questions and we’ll try to answer as best as we can. And if you’ve recently been on a Bolivia salt flats tour, stop back by here and let us know how your experience was.

And we’d love to continue helping fellow travelers find the correct and most up-to-date info about touring the Bolivia salt flats, so we continue to update this post as info changes. If you’ve found prices or logistical info to has changed, please drop a comment to let us know so we can keep this page up-t0-date.

Buen viaje amigos!

Publishing note: This post was originally written in June 2017 and updated in July 2019 to reflect the most recent info.

Related Posts

Isla del Sol Bolivia: Tips You Need To Know & Why To Stay A Night

December 31, 2019 at 10:09 PM

Hi, thanks for your review about the tour agencies. I checked Salty Desert Adventours for the price in 2020, the Spanish/English tour is 920BOB / 1270BOB (both end in SPA). I want to know if the agency requested you to report at the office two hours before the tour starts? (They ask me to do so.) Thanks.

uyuni tour from chile

January 9, 2020 at 4:38 PM

Thanks for the update on the prices they quoted you, including the transfer to San Pedro de Atacama. They had asked us to come a little early, but not two hours. They might be requesting you to come two hours early because there may be some paperwork or logistics to review since you’ll be crossing the border into Chile, and/or to finalize payment (which we had done the day prior to departing). Hope you have a great trip!

uyuni tour from chile

May 2, 2019 at 7:35 AM

Hi John, I loved the way you expressed the round trip Bolivia and a great place to explore more activities. Thank you very much for sharing an informative article.

uyuni tour from chile

November 18, 2018 at 11:23 AM

Hi, Jen again, so what about this for August, on my plan but you said below zero. would it still be great?

December 1, 2018 at 6:29 PM

Yes it will be really cold in August and below freezing at night. Personally, I think it would still be great. The Bolivia Salt Flats have been a top highlight in all of our South America travels, so we’d say that it’s absolutely worth braving the frigid temps to do. Just be sure to pack some warm clothes with you, of course!

uyuni tour from chile

July 7, 2018 at 12:36 AM

“Salar de Uyuni” is such a beautiful place to discover. It looks like a heaven on the earth where you can plan spend your time with lots of activities also.

July 12, 2018 at 11:45 AM

The salt flats in Salar de Uyuni are truly one of the most unique landscapes we’ve ever laid eyes on. Really incredible.

uyuni tour from chile

May 20, 2018 at 11:38 AM

Thank you for this fabulous advice!! Our RTW family of four is in Sucre at present and heads there next week. So we are soaking up the details and suggestions. I know what goes into putting a post like this together, so thanks a million!!

May 25, 2018 at 1:01 PM

So glad it’s been helpful. And what an awesome adventure to pursue, as a family! Hope you all have a great adventure in the salt flats!

uyuni tour from chile

March 30, 2018 at 5:12 AM

Interesting place to visit.

uyuni tour from chile

April 4, 2018 at 10:02 AM

Absolutely! Having the opportunity to soak in the otherworldly landscape and colorful scenery was incredible. It’s been one of our favorite travel experiences to date.

uyuni tour from chile

March 12, 2018 at 5:23 PM

Great site you’ve gott here.. It’s hard to find high quality writing likje yours these days. I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

March 22, 2018 at 4:18 AM

Thank you so much for the kind compliment!

uyuni tour from chile

January 14, 2018 at 5:49 PM

If you depart from San Pedro De Atacama, is your last day in the Salt Flats shortened compared to if you depart from Uyuni? I know most tours drop you off around 2pm at your final destination. I want to get as much time in the flats as possible.

January 15, 2018 at 8:46 PM

It shouldn’t be shortened, just a reversed route. You’ll still likely hit all the same sites we’ve mentioned in this post (but confirm that with the agency you book with though). 2pm does seem a little early though. 3pm would seem more in line. But it really should work out to be about the same time on the salt flats as in the other direction. When departing from Uyuni, you don’t leave until the late morning and one of the first things you do once you reach the salt flats is eat lunch. Most all the time in the salt flats in spent in the afternoon. So coming from San Pedro de Atacama and finishing with the salt flats, you’ll spend most of your time in the salts flats, finishing with lunch before driving back to Colchani, the train cemetery, and ultimately Uyuni. Hope that helps!

uyuni tour from chile

January 2, 2018 at 4:24 PM

A very informative and passionate guide from you guys, many thanks for your efforts in creating this valuable source.

This guide has been extremely useful in planning my backpacking trip to Peru & Bolivia this coming May and look forward in experiencing the breathtaking places you enjoyed.

I also plan to cross to Chile afterwards and wondered if some tours give you this option of being dropped off at the Chilean border on the third day? My destination will hopefully be San Pedro De Atacama.

Keep up the good work and thanks again 🙂

January 5, 2018 at 8:05 PM

So glad this has helped! The Salar de Uyuni was definitely one of our favorite travel experiences in all of South America and we hope you find the same. You should be fine to cross the Chilean border on the third day instead of returning to Uyuni, just so long as there aren’t any bad weather that closes the pass (rare, but it happens). Many people do continue from the Uyuni salt flats tour onto San Pedro de Atacama. The third day you’re basically so far south that you’re already straddling the Chilean border. Just be aware that you may need to budget some extra fees than what I’ve mentioned in this guide, although it shouldn’t be much more. Hope you have an awesome trip!

uyuni tour from chile

December 9, 2017 at 1:51 PM

What an extensive article on the flats! By far, the best I’ve read. We are heading to the Salar from Sucre. We’ve experiened mild altitude sicknesses already in Sucre, with symptoms including mild headaches and shortness of breath. Coca tea helps indeed! I was wondering whether acclimating at a lower altitude – if you happen to know, helps, or whether we should consider acclimating in Uyuni before embarking on a three-day tour. Maybe not a relevant question to you, bur any piece of advice is highly appreciated.

December 11, 2017 at 12:20 AM

Oh thanks – glad this post is proving helpful! 🙂 As for the altitude, it’s probably good that you’re currently at 2,800-meters in Sucre which should help to acclimate. Altitude can affect everyone differently, so it’s really tough to say. We’ve gotten horribly sick before at 4,000-meters yet when we were on this trip nearing 5,000-meters, we were completely fine. I’d say see how you’re feeling once you get to Uyuni and if you are experiencing more than mild symptoms there, it could be best to wait a few days if you have the time. Otherwise, you should be just fine. Enjoy the coca tea and the spectacular trip that awaits you in Salar de Uyuni! 🙂

uyuni tour from chile

November 5, 2017 at 6:34 PM

Thanks for such a detailed account. I was wondering if you could help me with some practical information:

It looks like I’ll be taking the night bus from La Paz to Uyuni on the 12th of November and was thinking of jumping on a tour pretty much as soon as I arrive in Uyuni. Therefore, what time do the tours usually start in the morning? I think I’ll be arriving in Uyuni at about 6.00

I have to leave Bolivia by the 16th November and was hoping to go into Chile on that date. Do/can these tours finish in SPA? If so, how many days would I need in total for the trip? the standard three? Or only two as I wouldn’t be returning to Uyuni?

Any help you provide will be much appreciated!

November 6, 2017 at 1:56 AM

The tours leave around 9am or so, so arriving from the overnight bus should leave you plenty of time to secure a tour in the morning and take off that same day. The standard tour is 3 days to SPA Chile. It follows the same (or similar) route as we did, except on the morning of Day 3 you’ll get transferred into SPA instead of the long drive back to Uyuni. So you’ll need three days total, including the day you arrive into Uyuni in the early morning. But it may be a good idea to give yourself an extra day to play with just in case. Hope that helps and you have a great trip!

November 6, 2017 at 8:34 AM

That’s great!

Thanks John

uyuni tour from chile

September 29, 2017 at 3:30 PM

What time of year did you go or would you recommend?

October 25, 2017 at 1:02 AM

We visited in April (the 9th-11th, to be exact) and it seemed to be a great time to go. There’s were still some lingering water pools for reflections yet the flats were mostly dry making for good driving conditions. It got quite hot in the day and pretty cold at night. Earlier months like Jan-March, you may encounter rain but it also gives you a better chance to see the reflections that form. After April can be a nice time to go but expect nights to be particularly frigid, given it’s winter there.

uyuni tour from chile

August 31, 2017 at 7:25 PM

Hey Guys, Thanks for such a great and informative post. We are looking to do the same sort of salt flats tour you did in September this year. I wanted to know if you had to pay in cash for your tour or whether they had credit card payment available? Also, do you by any chance have an email address for the tour company you went with? Their website is terrible and I want to find out if there’s any chance they run a tour from San Pedro to Uyuni as we’re coming from that direction. Thanks a million!

uyuni tour from chile

August 30, 2017 at 11:47 PM

Thanks for the info – it has assisted greatly in deciding how to plan and what to consider. Very informative! I will re-post once following my trip. You need to spend more time in Australia!!

August 31, 2017 at 8:23 AM

Glad it helped and we hope you have a great trip across the Salt Flats. Reflecting back, it remains one of our favorite adventures of the year! Be sure to stop back by and let us know how your trip goes. And, yes, we most definitely need to spend more time in Australia – haha! We’ve only spent a few days roaming around Sydney, Melbourne and a short stint down the Great Ocean Road. That small taste of Australia has only made us hungry for more!

uyuni tour from chile

July 26, 2017 at 7:11 PM

What a wonderful all round adventure. I have heard of this place and is on my list. I love the detailed way you have explained the trip. I also liked your creativity while clicking the steam from the geyser and capturing your shadow there 🙂

July 27, 2017 at 12:57 PM

Thanks! Yeah, those geysers were difficult to capture under the night sky, so that seemed to work well! 🙂

uyuni tour from chile

July 26, 2017 at 6:08 AM

OMG! I have never seen so much salt at one sight. Sat roads, salt lakes, salt hotels, alt museum- as if the whole world’s salt is present at salar de uyuni. All these years, I had dead sea and the salt desert of Rann in India on my list.But after reading your post here, I m adding salar-de-uyuni to my list and it definitely is on top of the other two. Love the picture of llama and the red lake. Lovely pictures in deed!

July 27, 2017 at 12:59 PM

Right? So much salt! We’re so glad to inspire this surreal to be added to your list! Now we’re thinking about adding those other salty places to our lists, haha! 😉

uyuni tour from chile

July 25, 2017 at 3:21 PM

This is the best post on the Salt Flats in Bolivia I’ve ever seen. I loved seeing more than just the normal photos. No to mention, that one where the dinosaur is grabbing John is the best Salt Flat photo EVER! I love the flamingoes too! I would love to see them in their natural habitat!

July 27, 2017 at 1:12 PM

Oh, thanks! We tried to be thorough and detailed here. Glad you like the Godzilla photos – haha! 🙂 Yeah, it was unreal to see those flamingos up here in the mountains – so cool!

uyuni tour from chile

July 24, 2017 at 11:42 PM

What an exhaustive guide! I wish I were booking this trip right now. Truly a beautiful and surreal region. I hope that all the visitors haven’t interfered with keeping this pristine.

July 27, 2017 at 1:17 PM

It is such a surreal place! Still can’t believe places like this exist on earth. There actually weren’t too many visitors during our trip there, perhaps a dozen LandRovers throughout the three days we were there. Often, we were the only vehicle around so it still remained very pristine and we can only hope that it continues to remain that way.

uyuni tour from chile

July 24, 2017 at 10:57 PM

Surreal for sure! Love everything about this, thanks for bringing it to my attention — I totally want to do this!

We hope you are able to get out to this surreal part of the world one day!

uyuni tour from chile

July 23, 2017 at 11:56 AM

Wow, I didn’t know Bolivia had all of this beauty to offer! The salt flats were stunning, but that red lake was truly a cherry on top! How gorgeous

July 27, 2017 at 1:26 PM

Right? There is so much beauty packed into Bolivia. We had always known about the salt flats themselves but were blown away with the red lake and other landscapes that surround it!

uyuni tour from chile

July 23, 2017 at 11:02 AM

The Salt Flats have been on my list for a while and your article just solidified that! I loved seeing all your pics and reading about the different things to do. I haven’t planned any of our journey yet so it is nice to have this as a resource!

July 27, 2017 at 1:27 PM

We really hope you make it there to experience these crazy landscapes yourself! So much to see! 🙂

uyuni tour from chile

July 23, 2017 at 7:00 AM

Salar de Uyuni is on my bucket list! Had never seen the viscancha before. Looks so cute. Unfortunate that I live so far away. The geyser reminded me of a similar experience of Iceland in winter.

July 27, 2017 at 1:28 PM

We had never heard of the viscancha before either. They sure our cute though! Heather wanted to bring one with her, lol.

uyuni tour from chile

July 22, 2017 at 4:30 PM

I’ve seen pictures of the Salar de Uyuni before but had no idea it was that huge. The wildlife was also a surprise, especially the flamingos.

July 27, 2017 at 1:38 PM

It is sooooo big. We hadn’t grasped the enormity of it either until we were out there and saw nothing but white in every direction. And yeah, those flamingos… what a surprise! Flamingos in the Andes mountains, who knew!

uyuni tour from chile

July 22, 2017 at 4:00 PM

Wow this is such an extensive guide. I did this tour 4 months ago and it was absolutely stunning. The scenery as you pointed out is some of the most incredible I have ever seen!

July 27, 2017 at 1:39 PM

Oh cool! So you know how stunning this is! 🙂 Definitely some of the most incredible landscapes we’ve seen too!

uyuni tour from chile

June 28, 2017 at 9:37 PM

So much good information. Thanks.

June 30, 2017 at 2:03 PM

Thanks! Hope all that info may help to have your own awesome adventure around the Salt Flats!

uyuni tour from chile

June 27, 2017 at 7:08 PM

This looks like an fantastic trip! Ive seen photos of Salar de Uyuni before but you really put words to the photos and your passion and enthusiasm is contagious! The red lake looks amazing, too. I was in neighbouring Ecuador not so long ago and also found myself astounded at the beauty of the landscapes.

July 8, 2017 at 3:11 PM

Thanks Mark! Yeah, this entire area was absolutely unreal. Really it’s been one of the most visually spectacular and surreal places we’ve traveled to. The beauty all throughout the Andes is pretty incredible, definitely including Ecuador!

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Don't subscribe All new comments Replies to my comments Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.


  1. La Paz: Uyuni Salt Flats & San Pedro de Atacama 3-Day Tour in Chile

    uyuni tour from chile

  2. Uyuni Salt Flats to San Pedro de Atacama 3-Day Tour 2024

    uyuni tour from chile

  3. Round Trip Uyuni Salt Flats from San Pedro de Atacama

    uyuni tour from chile

  4. A Guide to: Salar de Uyuni 3 Day Tour

    uyuni tour from chile

  5. Salar de Uyuni (3 días) Compartido

    uyuni tour from chile

  6. How to get to the Salar de Uyuni from Chile

    uyuni tour from chile


  1. Tupiza

  2. Salar de Uyuni

  3. Salar de uyuni, Bolívia 🇧🇴

  4. Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia 🇧🇴 and The World Largest Salt Lake #shorts #bolivia

  5. Travessia Uyuni Atacama

  6. Sucre à Salar de Uyuni de ônibus



    Day 3 - Salar de Uyuni. A full day is dedicated to enjoying the trip's grand finale: Salar de Uyuni. Dry season (May to November) Plus: On our Plus package and in the dry season, we will visit the northern part of the salt flats, including the lesser-known village of Coqueza, gateway to the gorgeous Volcan Thunupa. You will optionally have the opportunity/time to take a moderate hike to an ...

  2. San Pedro de Atacama (Chile) to salar de Uyuni

    Salar Tour 3D/2N San Pedro de Atacama (Chile) to Uyuni (Bolivia) visiting the Uyuni salt flats and lagoons. Day 1 COLORED LAGOONS AND DESERTS (San Pedro de Atacama - Ojo de Perdiz) Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve (L, D) We will pick you up from your hotel in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile and we will take you to the Bolivian border, Hito Cajones.

  3. San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni Salt Flats 4-Day Tour

    SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA TO UYUNI - 4 DAY SALAR DE UYUNI TOUR FROM SAN PEDRO TO SAN PEDRO. Experience an unforgettable 3-day journey through Bolivia's remote southwest aboard our 4WD. Discover pristine lagoons and volcanic landscapes not seen anywhere else on earth. This off road expedition reveals a diverse array of natural wonders across the ...

  4. How to Plan the Salar de Uyuni Tour from San Pedro de Atacama

    The quickest way will be to fly to the town of Uyuni from La Paz or Santa Cruz and take a day tour from there. However, for a more fascinating tour of the volcanic landscape of the Andes in southwest Bolivia I highly recommend doing a 4-day / 3-night Salar de Uyuni tour from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. This post focuses on that option.

  5. Uyuni, the Atacama Desert & Potosi

    This 3-day Uyuni desert and Atacama Deserts tour combines the desert playgrounds of Bolivia and Chile. From San Pedro de Atacama, explore the Red and Green Lagoon in the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve. Once in Bolivia's Uyuni Desert, visit the Uyuni Salt Flats, and stay in the Salt Hotel (made entirely of salt).

  6. Salar de Uyuni Tour: Visit the Bolivian Salt Flats

    The most popular and recommended way to discover Salar de Uyuni is by taking a 3 or 4 day tour in a 4×4 jeep. Three day tours depart from either Uyuni or San Pedro de Atacama and finish in Uyuni. The three day tour starting in San Pedro de Atacama and ending in Uyuni is ideal for those looking to continue traveling north after their visit to ...


    This 3 -day salt flats tour starts in San Pedro de Atacama in Chile and finishes in Uyuni, Bolivia. With up to 6 passengers per vehicle and a Spanish-speaking guide. A popular way to get to Bolivia from Chile taking in the amazing Uyuni salt flats, colored lakes (Laguna Verde and Laguna Colorada), natural thermal hot springs, high altitude ...

  8. Atacama Desert And Uyuni Tour: Explora Travesía (11 Day)

    An epic Atacama to Uyuni Salt Falts tour by private 4x4 vehicle through breathtaking terrain. Each traveler or couple has their own vehicle, local driver, guide, satellite communication systems and oxygen equipment. Stay in Explora Atacama and two exclusive Mountain Homes and Explora Uyuni designed by award-winning Chilean architect Max Núñez.

  9. Uyuni Salt flats to San Pedro de Atacama

    Uyuni salt flats tour 3D/2N Uyuni - San Pedro de Atacama (Chile). This tour starts in Uyuni (Bolivia) and ends on the 3rd day in San Pedro de Atacama (Chile). REFERENCE PROGRAM. Day 1 UNDERSTANDING SALAR DE UYUNI (L, D) Today we will have an unforgettable trip across 12 000 km2 of fantastic salt landscape. Get your camera ready!

  10. Uyuni Salt Flats 4-Day Tour from San Pedro de Atacama 2024

    San Pedro de Atacama, North Chile. Uyuni Salt flat fron San Pedro de Atacama, (In Hostels) 1. from $3,171.00. Price varies by group size. San Pedro de Atacama, North Chile. Astronomical Tour "Under the Atacama Night". 128. from $45.00.

  11. Uyuni Salt Flats Tour (Standard Plus)

    Our standard plus 3 day salt flats tour with transfer to Chile is with maximum 6 people to a vehicle and a Spanish-speaking guide. First night in double or triple room accommodation. Classic and safe salt flats tour! Daily departures. This is the best option if you are travelling on a budget but don't want to miss out on this amazing experience. NOTE - Not available for tours starting 3rd,4th ...

  12. San Pedro de Atacama Uyuni Tours

    The 3 day San Pedro de Atacama Uyuni tour is ideal for those who are planning to continue traveling north from Chile as it starts in San Pedro de Atacama and finishes in Uyuni. On the other hand, the 4 day tour starts and finishes in San Pedro de Atacama, making it ideal for those who wish to return to Chile or continue traveling south. Due to ...

  13. Uyuni Salt Flats & San Pedro de Atacama Tour

    REQUEST A QUOTE. Uyuni Salt Flats & San Pedro de Atacama. 7 DAYS Starting from $4,690 per person. Explore the otherworldly natural wonders of Bolivia and Chile on this 7-Day Uyuni Salt Flats & San Pedro de Atacama Expedition. You'll start in the dizzying capital, La Paz, before heading to Uyuni, your departure point for exploring the world ...

  14. Atacama Desert itinerary: San Pedro de Atacama to Salar de Uyuni

    This 6-day tour includes San Pedro de Atacama and the 4WD desert adventure to Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. From the driest desert on earth, to the world's largest salt flat; this is a road trip like no other. The route takes you from the tourist outpost of San Pedro de Atacama, past vibrant flamingo-filled lagoons and wild vicunas, to one of the ...

  15. Complete Guide to the Salar de Uyuni

    Once there, it is easy to organize a 4×4 tour with a driver. Another possibility is to arrive at the Salar de Uyuni from Chile, more precisely through the Calama airport. There are many direct flights from Santiago, the capital of Chile, to Calama. Count on spending $60 (sometimes more) for this flight.

  16. Atacama Desert and Uyuni salt flats: the best of Chile and Bolivia

    This itinerary is without a doubt one of South America's most iconic, essential tours!. Explore the Altiplano, from the Atacama Desert to the Uyuni salt flats.. Discover the wonders of the driest deserts in the world on this exclusive tour of Chile and Bolivia. This desert package will take you to breathtaking, unforgettable landscapes through many unique experiences.

  17. 2024 Atacama & Uyuni Photo Tour

    Atacama & Uyuni Photo Tour Highlights. Photo tour from April 3-13, 2024. Group size: 10 participants + 2 instructors + local guides. Main topics: Astrophotography, landscape, wildlife. Main areas: Atacama (Northern Chile) & Altiplano (Bolivia) Accommodation included in top hotels in the area.

  18. Salar de Uyuni Tour

    Options for Salar de Uyuni Tours. A 3 day tour of the Uyuni salt flats is the most popular way to explore the biggest salt flats in the world. A journey across the Uyuni Salt desert is an amazing way to cross from Bolivia to Chile. Most tours leave from the town Uyuni, a small isolated tourist town located in Potosi, Bolivia, this is how we did it.

  19. San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni 4 day Tour 2023

    Departing and returning to San Pedro de Atacama, the Uyuni Salt Flats tour from San Pedro de Atacama in 4 days is a classic among travelers. We work with the best drivers and accommodations available for you to enjoy this expedition. ... 🚨 This tour includes two border crossings to access Bolivia and return to Chile. Access regulations may ...

  20. Trip Santiago, Atacama Desert and Uyuni

    Atacama and Uyuni Salt Flats. This is a 100% travel itinerary dedicated to San Pedro de Atacama, in Chile, and Uyuni Salt Flats, in Bolivia. It will take you to know the city of San Pedro de Atacama, where it will be possible to know the magnificent Atacama Desert and the famous Lagunas Altiplanas.

  21. Uyuni, Atacama & Salta

    The Magic Triangle of the Andes Tour takes you through majestic deserts of South America, past diverse landscapes in Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. Start in Bolivia's largest city, La Paz, and travel to the Uyuni Salt Flats and capture spectacular photos of the endless white landscape. Continue to the Atacama desert; most famous for its ...

  22. San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni Tour [3 DAY]

    The Uyuni Salt Flats from San Pedro de Atacama departs from San Pedro de Atacama and ends in Uyuni, making it a perfect choice if you are continuing your trip in Bolivia. Our tour is one of the best rated by travelers because we work with the best guides and use the best accommodation available in the area. During the 3 days, you will travel by 4x4 car through the natural wonders of the ...

  23. Bolivia Salt Flats Tours of Uyuni: Review, Travel Tips & Best Tours

    Bolivia Salt Flats tour of Salar de Uyuni: review, best tour companies, how to get there, costs, 3-day itinerary, when to go, packing list, safety, tips & more! ... this will also incur an additional transfer fee to get to Chile. Tours from Tupiza are also slightly higher in price compared to salt flats tours from Uyuni. But tours starting in ...