Salar de Uyuni is definitely must see place during your trip to South America. Uyuni Salar is immense, beautiful and unique on our Planet. Check out my Salar de Uyuni Guide to see how to organize your trip.
I travelled to South America alone, and my trip to Uyuni was also SOLO TRIP. See how to prepare and what to remember before your next SOLO TRAVELLER JOURNEY with my travel guide.
Curiosities about Salar de Uyuni
The world’s largest salt flat located in Bolivia.
The beautiful Uyuni salt flat covers 10.582 Km2 (4.085 square miles).
The Uyuni Salar is part of the Department of Potosi in the south-west Bolivia. It is situated at 3.650 meters above sea level. Can you believe it?
About 40.000 years ago, Uyuni salt flats were part of a huge Lake Minchin.
When the lake dried, it left behind two modern lakes: Poopó and Uru Uru and also two big salt deserts: Salar de Coipasa and the larger Salar de Uyuni.
The last one is considered to contain approximately 10 Billion tonnes of Salt and only 25.000 tonnes is extracted annually.
Satellite photo of Salar de Uyuni
How to get to Uyuni with my guide?
How to organize your trip while travelling from Chile?
During my backpacking trip in the north of Chile I really wated to explore Salar de Uyuni. So I decided to a bus from Calama City close to San Pedro de Atacama Desert in Chile to Uyuni Village in Bolivia.
If you decide to do it by your own, please consider to have enough time to cross the borders. Organize your trip better, and avoid being in a rush as travelling in Bolivia requires time and patience.
The bus leaves from Calama Bus Terminal at 6 AM only on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. It should take only 7 hours but in real life it takes more than that.
With my personal experience, travelling by this bus took almost 14 hours. The cost of a one-way ticket is around 10.000CLP (15USD).
Check out also possibility of flying to Bolivia from Chile. After traveling a lot in South America and across the Globe, I published complete EBOOK of FINDING CHEAP FLIGHTS. Check out your flight using my incredible secrets of finding cheap flights.
On the Chilean – Bolivian border…
Organize your trip better and have more spear take for the borders.
Before your trip, please consider to have more time on the border with Bolivia, as the passport checking here takes longer than usual.
Also, from Calama to the border with Bolivia you will travel by Chilean comfortable bus. But once arriving at the border with Bolivia all the passengers switch the bus into Bolivian model.
Crossing Chilean – Bolivian border in Ollagüe
In case that you are taking a bus from Calama to Uyuni Village, you will pass the border in Ollagüe.
When you arrive to Chilean Customs house on the border then you will see that it is literally in the middle of the mountains with amazing landscapes.
There are 2 Volcanoes over 5,000 metres that you will see: the Ollagüe and Aucalquincha.
In the customs house, the Chilean officers will check every detail of your equipment as well as the documents, passports, visas etc. Be patient as they are doing their job the best they can!
Hito Cajon, the border between Bolivia and Chile
This border is located on 4100 metes above sea level. There are only 50 kilometres from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile.
This is the main border where tourist travel towards the Salar de Uyuni.
This is a very charming place with real Bolivian spirit full of tradition.
If you are backpacking and planing to visit Salar Uyuni then you will definitely stay for one night in this village.
There are a lot of interesting things to see and do around.
Book your accommodation here.
FISH ISLAND, (Isla el Pescado)
This Island is located at the 3,656 metres above sea-level.
The Island is called Fish Island (Isla el Pescado) but of course, you won´t find any fish up there, only fish like a shape of the island, provided its name.
After a few hours spent in the jeep travelling through the Uyuni Salar, you will arrive to this real paradise full of giant cactus rising from the rocks with up to 15 metres high.
As I am more that 180cm high, the cactus were much higher than me. Also, very surprising, we could meet many llamas living there.
The tour that you take from the Uyuni Village always provide packed lunch on the Island.
Handicrafts and salt factory in Colchani
This is one of the spots that you will definitely visit during your trip to Uyuni Salar.
The place is located only 20 kilometres from the Uyuni Salar and it is considered as the entrance to the Salar.
It is a small population of people who live there preparing the artisanal salt.
It is a unique place where you can see real precarious nature of salt processing starting from the collection, transportation, heating, iodine addition and packaging.
The price for a bag of salt is very cheap and it is a good gift from Bolivia for your friends or families.
Abandoned train station
´´Cementerio de trenes´´ is located only 3 kilometres outside of the village. It is the antique train cemetery and an another obligatory (and included in the organised tours) touristic spot while visiting Salar de Uyuni.
The village of Uyuni used to be an important transportation centre for trains from the end of the 19th century.
The train lines there were constructed by British engineers between 1888 and 1892.
During this time the trains were used for carrying minerals collected from the Andes mountains and delivered to the Pacific Ocean ports.
In 1940, due to the deficiency of the minerals in the Andes Mountains and a collapse of the mining industry, the trains were abandoned until today.
This place is a real mysterious as the 20th-century trains look amazing at the desert place.
My personal experience
I spent two days enjoying this marvellous part of the World. I absolutely loved exploring Salar de Uyuni with taking amazing photos, gaining experiences and memories for all my life.
As I arrived in Uyuni Village by my own, I still had to take a full day trip to Uyuni Salar which was great, very well organised and totally recommended.
I bought the tour with lunch in Uyuni Village. There is also 4 days tour available in San Pedro de Atacama. They required more time and are more expensive, but at the end, the experience is the same.
The prices are changing constantly either booking in advance or on the same day of the excursion.
Also, it depends if you are going to take a tour from Chile or Bolivia. Always check prices in various agencies and negotiate, then you will be more satisfy from your experience.
I hope that my guide to Salar de Uyuni will help you to organize your trip, border crossing and timing. From my experience in travelling throughout Bolivia, you need more time, flexibility and good communication skills.
All this will help you to better organize your trip and have the best time ever and never ending memories.
If you have any suggestions and recommendations to my Guide, how to organize your trip to Salar de Uyuni, please leave a comment below.
Do you need good camara?
What do you need for good photos when you travel to Uyuni in Bolivia? Definitely you need good Camara. I am using and recomending CANON. It is very handy camara and for sure takes great photos. Most of my travelling across the Globe, I was using this Camara.
Travelling SOLO and want to have great photos?
If you travel ALONE and don´t like asking other people for help while taking photos, then you definitely need good TRIPOD. This is the one I have been using for my solo travelling. Check this out, TRIPOD HUAWEI in a good price.
Check out my SOLO TRAVEL GUIDE and be better prepared for your next solo trip.
Travelling in South America? See also my other travel guides, here.Follow me