Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia


Visited: 2018

Salar De Uyuni, located in Bolivia’s high plateau (altiplano), is the largest and highest salt flats in the world.  It is one of those locations in this planet that can be fascinatingly described as surreal and other-worldly.

To reach this astounding destination requires some effort and conscientious planning.  Due to its high altitude location, acclimation is of chief importance. Here are some tips on how to ensure your journey to this side of the globe is a success.

a. Acclimation: Salar De Uyuni is almost 12,000 feet above sea level. It is not uncommon for tourists to suffer altitude sickness in this region of the world. It is imperative that careful and methodical planning be devoted to acclimation. Landing in La Paz (city: 12,000 feet, airport: 14,000 feet) and staying in the city for 2-3 days before embarking on the Salar tour affords the traveler an opportunity to get accustomed with the soaring altitude while having access to hospitals in the event symptoms become unbearable. Aside from acclimation in high altitude, travelers can also take Diamox (prescription) and Cholorophyll tablets.

b. Choose between 1-day Salar Salt Flat Tours or 3-day Salar de Uyuni to San Pedro De Atacama, Chile tours. I did the latter but if I were to do it again, I would have chosen the former. The 1-day Salar Salt Flat tours offer opportunities to spend more time to enjoy the Salt Flats during various periods of the day. Tour companies in Uyuni ordinarily organize trips during sunset, sunrise, and mid-day.  These tours avoid the lung-busting, hypothermia-inducing, 15,000 feet passage on to Chile. If you chose to continue on to Chile, it is possible to take the public bus to San Pedro De Atacama a few days a week.

c. Bring extra cash. No ATMs are available if you’re taking the 3-day tour to Chile. You essentially pay for everything, from showers, WiFi, entrance to two national parks, restrooms along the way, and tips.

d. Bring portable chargers and batteries. Electrical sockets are few and far between so take portable power banks and extra batteries as you’ll be certainly snapping photos every minute in this tour.

E. Bring cold weather clothes. It is beyond freezing in the altiplano so snow pants, hand-warmers, beanies, down jackets, etc. will come in handy.

Salar De Uyuni is a sight to behold but the salt flats are not the only stars in this show. The 3-day tour to Chile has so many showstoppers, including stunning volcanoes, steaming geysers, pristine lakes, and gorgeous fauna. Be prepared to see countless flamingoes.

Have you ever been to Uyuni?

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