How To Organise Salar De Uyuni Tour

On a South American adventure doing the Salar de Uyuni tour is an undoubted highlight! This involves a 3 day jeep tour round the wilderness salt plains in Bolivia. It’s near the Chile border and the landscape is just sensational – wildlife, salt plains, deserts and mountains – one to make sure you get it on your list! Here’s some tips including how to prepare for it. [I:]

First of all, here’s an easy tip – DON’T BOOK ANYTHING IN ADVANCE!! Yes, there is absolutely no need to book this tour online or by any other means before you arrive in Bolivia. Get yourself to Uyuni, Potosi or La Paz and get things booked from there.

You can start the Salar de Uyuni tour in either Bolivia or Chile, but this report focuses on doing it from the Bolivia side, here’s a guide on booking the excellent tour!

Booking the Salar de Uyuni tour:

– In your hostel check with reception if they can organise it for you – a 3 day tour is the most recommended unless your time is short

– Get a price for it, then shop around for the cheapest option (prices really do vary a lot, but I paid around $80 US for my 3 day tour back in 2010 – all inclusive).

– Don’t be fussy with your dates – go when it suits the company – you can book it one day to start the next day or even on the morning of a tour.

– Double check the price includes a hostel pick up and your 3 days of food.

– Find out exactly when and where the start and finish point of the actual tour will be so that you can book a hostel or bus for the next part of your journey.

– Check if there are any extra costs, such as tips, entrance fees for national parks etc. You’ll probably have to pay extra to visit Laguna Colorada.

– Make sure they give you a receipt for the tour – you usually pay the full amount at the start.

How do you prepare for the Salar de Uyuni tour:

– if you plan to head directly to Chile then check the passport situation before hand – you’ll find you probably have to get your passport stamped in Uyuni before the tour – don’t forget.

– Take a lot of water with you – around 4 litres should be fine. It’s a desert you are visiting and although they provide drinks at mealtimes, they don’t provide water.

– Bring some beer or wine with you – a great way to interact with your travel mates at night and no alcohol is provided on the tour.

– Bring sun screen and insect spray. You’ll need them.

– If you need to contact friends or family, e-mail them before you head on the tour and tell them you’ll be offline for about 3 days. There is no internet available on the tour, and you wouldn’t want it anyway!

– You might be able to leave your bags with a hostel in Uyuni if you’re heading back there (check beforehand).

– Bring your passport just in case you decide to spontaneously head across the border to Chile.

– Charge your batteries in advance on your iPods, cameras etc. – don’t expect your accomodation to have sockets.

Well that sums it up for you – the salar de Uyuni is quite simply a brilliant tour and one that will linger with you forever in the memory. You will love it. Get out there and see it – the incredible salt plains of south western Bolivia.

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