Embark on a journey of a lifetime into the Uyuni Salt Flats on Day 1 where you will sleep overnight in a salt hotel. On Day 2, see rock formations and desert landscapes with lakes and native flamingos. On your last day in the desert visit the Dali Pampas to see the landscapes that inspired this famous artist and see the Green Lagoon before crossing the Chilean border and ending your trip in Atacama.
Day by Day Itinerary:
Day 1: Uyuni - Colchani - Incahuasi Island - Pia Pia Island - Ajencha (L/D)
Your tour will begin at 10:30 am, at Perla de Bolivia's office. The first stop will be Uyuni's 'train graveyard', to see the first locomotives in Bolivia. You’ll then visit the small settlement of Colchani (salt miners’ workshops next to the salt flats). Here, you’ll see handicrafts made of salt, and textile art made of llama and alpaca fiber. The tour will continue onto the Great Salt Flats of Uyuni, which are at an altitude of 3650m. Take photos as you cruise along the vast white expanse of salt, see Los Ojos de Agua Salada (‘salt water eyes’) and then visit a hotel made completely of salt! This amazing place currently serves as a museum.
Following this jam-packed morning, after lunch, you’ll carry on to “Isla Incahuasi” (Fish Island), where you will have time to take a hike to the top of the island to see giant cacti, and rock formations made of petrified coral. Make sure you and your group pose for some fun perspective- and proportion-distorted photos, taken against the backdrop of the striking white surface of the salt flats.
Then, we’ll head to Pia Pia island, to see the beautiful sunset over the salt flats. Finish off at the village of Ajencha, and enjoy the unique experience of spending the night in a hotel made almost entirely of salt, called "Santiago Jukil".
Accommodation: Salt hostel "Santiago Jukil" in Agencia - double rooms. The rainy season ( from January to April): Hotel in Culpina or other location (No access to the Salt Hostel during these months)
Day 2: Chiguana Desert - Lagoons - Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve - Red Lagoon Sol de Mañana Geyser (B/L/D)
Start the morning off at 7:00 am with breakfast, before going to visit the Chiguana Desert, located on the south side of the Uyuni salt flats. It is surrounded by volcanoes, such as the Ollague Volcano (5840m), one that is still active, and that can be seen from the lookout.
Next, we’ll continue along a rocky road - Pasito Tuntun - to the beautiful Andean lagoons, inhabited by 3 species of Andean flamingos. Marvel at three lagoons on the way: ‘Cañapa’ where you’ll spot the first pink flamingos, ‘Hedionda’ where lunch will be served, and ‘Chiarcota’ where you’ll see a wider variety of birds and altiplanic fauna.
We’ll then enter the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve, and visit the Desert of Siloli, at 4550m (the highest and driest desert in the world). Make sure you take a photo next to the 'Rock tree', a lava rock formation. Before arriving to your final destination of the day, we will stop at the viewpoint by the Red Lagoon, where you can spot more pink flamingos in their natural habitat, and admire this intense, red-colored lake. Stay the night at a shared family lodging.
Day 3: - Dali Desert - Green Lagoon – Uyuni (B/L)
Have an early breakfast at 5am. Later start with a visit to Sol de Mañana Geyser, at 5,000m. You’ll walk alongside fumaroles, and steaming craters filled with boiling pots of mud at 150-200 Cº. Continue to the open air hot springs, and take a bath in 35ºC water.
The first place to visit is the Dali Desert, where Salvador Dali found inspiration for his work from the scattered boulders in the middle of the desert. You’ll then see the Green Lagoon - toxic copper water at the foot of the big Licancabur volcano, which sits at 6000m, a few kilometers from the Bolivia-Chile border.
Finally, you’ll head back to Uyuni, passing beautiful scenery along the way, and eating a picnic lunch next to the roadside. You’ll go by the Valley of the Rocks, the Alota settlement, and the San Cristobal Village.
We’ll get back to Uyuni by 6:30 pm.
For those that wish to finish at San Pedro de Atacama in Chile instead of coming back to Uyuni: Guides will assist with your border crossing at 10:30 am, and you should arrive in San Pedro at 12:00 pm on the third day of the tour. The drop off is at San Pedro de Atacama’s main square.
During the rainy season (from November to April), it is not possible to access Incahuasi Island and possibly other tour attractions. However, even if it does not rain on the day of your tour, there is still a possibility of not being able to visit tour attractions due to hazardous road conditions from previous rainfall. We also may sleep in a different location from the salt hotel due to hindered road access.
This itinerary is subject to change without prior notice according to weather conditions, strikes,
roadblocks,or force majeure events which are beyond our control. We will always do our best to follow the itinerary as close as possible.
IMPORTANT INFO: During the rainy season from January to April, the Salt Flats fill up with water so it is not possible to cross them in the same way as during dry season. As a consequence, the itinerary is modified during that period. The main changes are usually as follows:
Instead of stopping at the Inca Wasy (Fish Island), we stop at a place where the water reflects the sky and where it seems that the sky and the ground merge into one.
On day 1, we might sleep at another location.
The salt hotel, Green Lagoon, and other attractions may also be inaccessible due to climatic conditions. Even if it does not rain on the day of your tour, previous rainfall can make these attractions inaccessible.
Important: During the rainy season (from November to April), it is not possible to access Incahuasi Island. However, there is the possibility of visiting the island if on the day of your tour it does not rain. We also may sleep in a different location than the salt hotel due to hindered road access.
ALTITUDE: This trip takes place at a very high altitude. The salt flats are around 3,500 meters above sea level and the geysers around 5.000. Most guests will be able to feel the effects. We recommend acclimating yourself to above 3,000 meters before the trip and bringing along medication for headaches and tablets for altitude sickness in case you feel unwell. And remember, the real key is to drink lots of water!
ACCOMMODATION / FACILITIES ON TOUR: The reality of visiting a remote area and immersing yourself in nature is that you will be far from modern facilities and the services will sometimes be slow and quite basic. Due to the harsh terrain, vehicle breakdowns are not uncommon, but the drivers are very used to fixing them and wait times are rarely excessive. The accommodations will be very basic, with cots and shared rooms, and the electricity and running water in the National Park are not as dependable as they are back at home. Toilet facilities may have a small local cost and showering is only available the first day. Make sure to bring snacks, some water, toilet paper, and plenty of warm clothes. That said, with some patience, preparation, and an appetite for adventure, this trip will certainly be a positive and unforgettable experience.
SUGGESTED PACKING LIST: Sun hat, sunglasses (to protect your eyes from the bright glare off the salt panes), sunblock, coat, gloves, wool hat, trekking shoes, warm socks, swimsuit and towel for hot springs at Sol de Manana Geysers, extra bottles of water (we recommend bringing a 5 Liter bottled water so you can have enough water for the whole trip), snacks, personal medication. Flashlight/torch, camera, extra batteries and memory card, charger (electricity available in most hotels), hand sanitizer, personal first aid kit. You will be sleeping up to 4,300 meters above sea level and depending on the season, temperatures can drop well below zero (reaching less than -15 degrees Celsius in the winter months of June and July) and the wind chill can be harsh, so bring plenty of warm clothes like a scarf and wool hat for the chilly evenings.
DRIVER AND GUIDE: Please note that there is one guide per group. When exploring, your guide will be with the entire group. However, if groups are split into multiple vehicles you may be in a vehicle without the guide during transport.