Uyuni Salar Tour – Day 1

Once in Bolivia it is a must to visit the Uyuni Salar (salt desert). Not only because this is a cool thing to do, but because the landscape is truly special, colourful and diverse. As our friend, Mauricio said, in Brazil you travel for days for a change of landscape, while in Uyuni you travel for an hour and you arrive in a totally different world.

The tour started with visiting the Train cemetery. It is a long-long railway with old, rusty, retired trains which were the first ones carrying silver from Bolivia to Chile in the 19th century. The railway still runs between the two countries, but is out of use.

Trains till the horizon
The instruction was: "Mariann, look happy!" :)

Then we entered the never-ending 'Salar', the salt desert. White ground everywhere, no signs of life. Legends say that under the ground there is water, and after a heavy rain the salar becomes a salty lake. This is the second biggest salt lake of the world. Guess where is the biggest ’Salt Lake’ (City)! I know that its a cliché, but if salt, then crazy picture-time.

The dry salt lake

Waving flags and whiteness
Sliding on the salt dunes
The story of the overenthusiastic Hungarian and the annoyed writer

A desert, however, would not be a proper desert without oasis. And the salar also has oasis, one is called the Fish Island. We were again wondering, how a human being decided to cross this never-ending white world, and how he ended up finding this small oasis. What is more, how he decided to build small huts on the rocks with huge cactuses in the neighborhood, and how he brought his lamas here. And the water is brought in huge tanks from the mainland.

Little oasis with little huts
The first team picture about the staff of the little jeep
An oasis is not a proper oasis without a square
What a team work!

And if it was not enough of salt on the first day, we spent the night in a salt hostel. A hostel built of salt bricks, and salt scattered on the ground. Tables and beds built of salt blocks, too, so no way we can move them. Such a surrealistic residence, but this and the glasses of vine managed to keep the cold outside for the night.

Salt lamp, wall and tables

Tips in Uyuni:

  • The bus ride from Potosi to Uyuni took approx. 5.5 hours. I traveled with Diana Tours (30BOB), but there are also buses by Trans Emperador.
  • In Uyuni I was sleeping at the Piedra Blanca Hostel. There was hot water, heated rooms and breakfast included. I would not spend more than 1 night in Uyuni, so the place was good for the purposes. It is located on the center square, with nice restaurants around. 
  • In Uyuni we tried the „La Loco” Restaurant. Very friendly, good music, there is a big fireplace in the middle, and you can try big llama stakes.

Tips for the 3-day Uyuni Salar tour:

  • The tour agencies usually offer the same trips, so no matter where you pay and how much, you will be squeezed into the same jeep from different agencies. The „more expensive = better quality” does not apply here. However try to book your trip from Uyuni, you can get a better price locally.
  • If you subscribe for a 3-day tour, you can start it in Uyuni and you can be dropped in San Pedro de Atacama (Chile) at the end. Before the tour, make sure to visit the migration office in Uyuni, which gives you the exit stamp in your passport. (US citizens: you have to pay a small exit fee!)
  • If you do not have sleeping bags, rent one. It is compulsory if you do not want to get frozen in the Salar at night. It can get -15 degrees at night.
  • Prepare for not taking bath during the length of the whole trip. There is not much water in the Salar, and hot water does not exist at all. Due to the cold you will not be sweating, but if you are absolutely in need of some bath, take the opportunity to dip into the natural thermal bath on the 3rd day.

About Tiny Girl With Big Bag

Hobby writer and autodidact photographer whose passion is to travel and get to know new people and cultures. She has been on 4 continents and 30 countries, and the outcome is this travel blog where she shares travel stories, thoughts, tips and photography always through a subjective eye.

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