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Uyuni to San Pedro de Atacama Budget Salt Flats Tour

This 3-day, 2-night tour takes you through the highlights of the Uyuni Salt Flats and the surrounding desert! Hike on an island of giant cacti, watch geysers spout at sunrise, and stargaze from relaxing natural hot springs. This is a one-way tour that starts in Uyuni and ends in San Pedro.

USD $195.00USD $338.00

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A Safe, Reliable, and All-Inclusive Tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats on a Budget

On this no-frills tour, experts in navigating the desert’s rough terrain will take you to all the highlights of the Uyuni Salt Flats region. A local guide will explain the history of the flats, local Bolivian culture, and fascinating geology of the area. You’ll see the otherworldly salt desert, island of giant cacti, train graveyard, volcanos, colorful lagoons, rock formations, geysers, and unique wildlife.

The tour includes two nights accommodation in comfortable but basic hostels. You have the option to choose private, rather than shared, rooms for a higher price. All the lodging and meals during the 3 days of the tour are included in the price. You can also choose between a guaranteed English or Spanish-speaking guide for the trip.

Highlights

  • Visit the incredible Uyuni Salt Flats
  • Trek up Isla Incahuasi, an island in the middle of the flats with 360 views
  • Explore the eerie train cemetery in the desert and climb on top and around the massive trains
  • Watch flamingos wading in high-altitude lagoons, such as Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde
  • Stargaze while relaxing in natural hot springs, and discover stunning geysers at sunrise
  • Sleep in a hostel made from blocks of salt

Prices

  • Regular lodging and Spanish-speaking guide (first night in a private double or triple room; second night in a shared dorm-style room): $195 USD per person
  • Private lodging and English-speaking guide (private double or triple room both nights): $340 USD per person
  • Private Lodging and Spanish-speaking guide (private double or triple room both nights): $231 USD per person

Itinerary

Day 1: Road trip to the Uyuni Salt Flats

The tour begins with pick up at your hostel/hotel in Uyuni between 10:30-11:00 am. The first stop is at a Train Cemetery, where you will see the remnants of old trains that were abandoned just outside of Uyuni. After taking some Instagram-worthy photos, the group will head to Colchani and see how salt is processed before consumption or export.

Next, you’ll visit the Uyuni Salt Flats for the first time on the trip, and see the “Ojos de Sal” (Salt Eyes), where water bubbles up into the salt flats. In this area, you will also see the Salt Mounds, piles of salt that have been prepared for transport, plus the original Salt Hotel (which no longer accepts guests).

The last sight in this area is Isla Incahuasi (Fish Island), which is home to giant cacti and a fantastic 360 view of the salt flats! After ample time to take salt flats photos, the group will head to the village of Atulcha and spend the night in a hostel made of salt.

Accommodation: Kachi Wasi (English tour) or Samarikuna (Spanish tour)
Meals: Lunch and dinner

Day 2: Spot wildlife at high-altitude lagoons and stargaze from hot springs

After a very early wake up and breakfast, the group will hop in the jeep and head south. The first stop is the Sora Canyon, where you’ll see llamas grazing in their natural habitat. Next is Chuguana, where you will be able to see extinct volcanos, plus Volcan Ollague, which is semi-active.

As the group continues through the desert, you will pass high altitude lagoons that are home to 3 species of flamingo. At the Siloli Desert, you will see the “tree of rock” (a unique geological formation), before continuing on to Laguna Colorada — a red lagoon full of flamingos!

Here, the group will enter the Eduardo Avaroa National Park. In the late afternoon, you will visit the Morning Sun geysers. The day ends in Polques, where you will have time to relax in natural hot springs under a fantastically starry sky.

Accommodation: A community-run hostel
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 3 : Enjoy scenic views of the desert before the transfer to San Pedro

The day’s adventure starts at 5:00 am with a visit to the Morning Sun geysers for some incredible sunrise views. (If the group did not visit the hot springs on Day 2, you will have some time after breakfast to enjoy them).

The next stop is the Dali Desert, home to Laguna Verde, which (when conditions are correct) has fascinating green water with Volcan Licancabur as a backdrop. From here, you will board a separate transfer bus to San Pedro, arriving around midday (12:00 pm).

Meals: Breakfast and lunch

What’s Included

  • Transportation in a 4×4 vehicle
    • This includes pick up in Uyuni at your hostel, the airport, or the bus station, and drop off at your hostel in San Pedro.
  • English or Spanish-speaking guide
  • Driver (sometimes the guide is also the driver, depending on group size/availability)
  • Meals during the tour (we recommend bringing extra snacks – the meals are quite basic)
  • Accommodation
    • The basic package includes the first night in double or triple rooms, the second night in dorm-style rooms
    • If you book the private lodging option, you will have a private double or triple room both nights. This room will be at the same hostel as the shared rooms. The private rooms are not more comfortable than the shared rooms; they are just not shared.

What’s Not Included

  • Sleeping bags (can be rented the morning of the tour for 50 bolivianos per person)
  • Entrance fees (approximately 200 bolivianos total for the 3 days

Important Information About the Tour

  • Group size is up to 6 passengers per car
  • The local operator reserves the right to modify the itinerary to avoid weather-related problems
    • It is extremely likely the itinerary will be altered during the months of January and February, as the rains flood the salt flats. This gives the salt flats their famous “mirror” effect, but prevents access to several sights, including (often) Isla Incahuasi.
  • On this trip, you will frequently be above 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) – at points, you will be at over 4,600 meters (15,000 feet). There is no low altitude version of the itinerary
  • If you are looking for a different type of Uyuni salt flats tour, you can see a full list of Uyuni tours here
  • Please note that the second hostel doesn’t provide showers so you will only be able to take a hot shower on your first night.

What to Bring

  • 7 liters of water per person – This may sound like a lot, but remember you’re in the driest place on Earth, may suffer from altitude sickness, and you may not have many opportunities to buy water during the trip.
  • Swimsuit and towel
  • Closed-toed shoes or boots
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Toilet paper – none will be provided in the bathrooms
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Warm clothing
  • Bolivian pesos — We recommend to bring at least 350 Bolivian pesos for entrances to hot springs, national parks, and any extra personal expenses.

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What Happens After I Book?

After you book your experience, you will receive a confirmation email from us confirming that your payment went through. You will then be connected directly to the tour operator, in case you have any further questions. We are also happy to answer any questions about the tour, or travel in general in your country of destination.

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