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Tailor-made tours

Uyuni Salt Flats

Bolivia

3 days

Summary

Looking for nowhere else on earth? Magnificent desolation awaits you in the remote southwestern corner of far-flung Bolivia. Literally breathtaking, on and beyond the Uyuni Salt Flats is an altogether weird, wonderful and otherworldly experience. In years to come, this adventure will prove to be most unforgettable.

There are no asphalted roads or tall buildings out here. Only immense ethereal landscapes stretch out into the uttermost where horizons cease to exist. Everywhere you look, dimensions are meaningless when salt flats and the sky meld into one. Wind carved rock formations defy gravity. Life at extremes evolves into extremes of alien life. There are extravagant colours by day, white is iridescent, blue is cobalt, red is blood, green is emerald, and pink is deceptively bright and warm. At this altitude, the cold depths of space easily reach down. By evening, the colours fade, and silhouettes appear. The sun sets a galaxy rises, and a billion stars shine. The night looms large over this unearthly scene. As the moon emerges, ghostly shallows suddenly reach out across the emptiness from nowhere. How can so much space have so much blissful silence?

Like any indescribable beauty, there is a harsh reality but a rich reward. This trip passes through isolated freeze-dry terrains over bumpy roads at 4000+ metres above sea level. It can also get icy cold and you will probably altitude sickness. Between such immensity and infinity, there is also an unsettling sense of insignificance, and yet curiously a deep connection to it. Besides the stunning photography, if you want something new, intriguing and challenging, then this trip to Uyuni Salt Flats is it!

Highlights

  • Overland through the world’s largest salt flat.
  • Visit the Colchani Salt Mine and see how locals traditionally extract the salt.
  • Drive to Isla Incahuasi with enormous cacti growing on the island and stunning 360 degree views of the salt plains.
  • Visit Laguna Colorada with a population of pink flamingos and the Geysers Sol de Mañana around the rim of Laguna Chalviri with natural hot springs.
  • Alternative to cross the border into Chile and continue to San Pedro de Atacama. The Atacama Desert is the driest desert in the world.

ITINERARY

Day 1 Uyuni/Colchani

Upon arrival into Uyuni Airport, you will be picked up from the airport by your driver and guide for the spectacular Uyuni Salt Flats and Incahuasi Island. You will cross the expanse of the salt plains to reach Isla Incahuasi, an ‘island’ of volcanic rock and enormous cactus with stunning views over the surrounding salt plains. Continue north to see the pre-Columbian Aique Pucara fort and the nearby chullpares and then west to Tahua, a village in the foothills of Tunupa Volcano. Enjoy the sunset and stay overnight at the Salt Hotel.

Please note that during the wet season (November to March) the salt plains can be flooded, making it impossible for vehicles to reach Incahuasi. In this case, you will visit the train cemetery outside of Uyuni before continuing to Colchani to see how the locals extract salt by hand. You will travel as far onto the salt plains as possible – an incredible experience in the wet season as the entire salt flat is covered with water and perfectly reflects the sky. Please note that all itineraries in the Uyuni Salt Plains are subject to changes pending local conditions.

Day 2 Colchani/Villamar

Morning trip crossing the salt flats heading south, leaving these magnificent white plains behind in Chuvica, to enter the highlands and small branches of the range. You will pass the remote villages of San Juan and San Agustín before reaching the high valley of Alota. From here you will continue south, across a barren landscape studded with great stone formations created by wind erosion, to finally reach Villamar.

Day 3 Villamar/San Pedro de Atacama

After breakfast, cross the Siloli desert where you will be able to appreciate an unusual rock formation known as the Stone Tree. Along the way, you will be able to observe llamas, vicuñas and a species of rodent called vizcacha. Enter the National Reserve of Andean Fauna Eduardo Avaroa and visit Laguna Colorada (Red Lagoon), populated by three species of flamingos. The lagoon gets its deep red colour from the fine sediment accumulation on the surface, as well as the pigmentation of a particular type of seaweed. Box lunch will be served en route. Your trip continues towards Sol de Mañana (Morning Sun), where you will see clouds of sulphuric gasses and geysers. Afterwards, visit Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon), whose waters are emerald green, especially when the wind is blowing in a specific direction. Its colour is due to the high magnesium content in the water. Near the lagoon is Licancabur Volcano, towering 5,916m above sea level. Continue the journey towards Hito Cajon (border between Chile and Bolivia).

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