Salar de Uyuni, or the Bolivian Salt Flats as they’re more commonly known in English are top of many people’s bucket lists, and with good reason. We’d read a few tips online which suggested to leave the booking of the tour until we’d arrived in Uyuni. Although this seemed a little risky, it worked out the best it possibly could have.
We learned a lot booking this tour, and on the tour itself, so I thought I’d start this blog off by sharing my newfound wisdom.
Book when you get there
Although tour agencies will recommend booking tours 3-6 months in advance to guarantee a space, we found this not to be the case. The truth is, they want bookings in advance to guarantee sales, and ensure they have enough people and guides to go ahead with each tour. Tours leave daily from Uyuni, so it’s easy to find an agency with enough spaces. These can usually for a better price than what you’ll find online, too.
Stock up on snacks the night before
There is a supermarket of sorts in Uyuni, and it’s advised to stock up on extra snacks, water for the next three days, and toilet paper. You’ll also need spare BOB (Bolivian currency) for entrance fees into the national parks, as this isn’t included in any agency prices.
Decipher a meeting time and place for the next morning
I know, way to point out the obvious! To ensure you’re not rushing the next morning, make sure you’ve agreed on a meeting time and place for the tour the following morning. Ours was an early start, and we got there early which worked in our favour. When we arrived we were able to meet the other two travellers who’d be joining us in our 4×4 for the following 3 days, and our wonderful tour guide.
Most importantly – book a tour which lets you visit the hot springs at night
Some of the agencies we looked at included a visit to the hot springs in the early morning. Not only is this when they’re most crowded but denies you the most spectacular part of the entire trip. One of the main reasons we booked Red Planet was because they visited the hot springs on the second night of the tour.
Visiting at night in a part of the world with practically no light pollution quite literally allows you to see the stars and planets above you. Whilst sat in 40-degree naturally heated water, with -10-degree temperatures around you, glass of shop-bought wine in hand, stars and planets above you and mud on your face from the 5000m above sea level volcano you’d visited not hours before, is something I will never experience again. This was an absolute highlight for our entire group and is still one of my fondest travelling memories to this day.
Most of all, enjoy it. Our three days seemed to fly by, but I can genuinely say they were three of the best days of our entire 6 months in South America. The salt flats themselves are out of this world. The entire landscape in this part of the world is spectacular. Red Planet Expedition were consistently professional, offered above standard food for the three days, and offered experiences far from the ordinary.
Have you been to the Salt Flats? If so, let me know about your experiences in the comments below.