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Uyuni Salt Flats & Lagoons

Overview

Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni is one of the most extreme landscapes in the world, a vast desert of salt where the silence is captivating and the stillness almost eerie. Remote and stark yet hauntingly and savagely beautiful, the dazzling white extends to the horizon, dotted with coloured mineral lagoons and geysers. The landscape and the experience of crossing the salt flats are unforgettable. 

Trip Code: BOTSUSF4

Travel Style: Tailor-Made Journey

Location: Bolivia

Flights: Ask us to help book your flights to/from South America.

WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS ITINERARY

  • Discover first hand the incredible and savage beauty of the Uyuni Salt flats.

  • Bare witness to incredible visual spectacles where by day there is an endless sea of white and by night there is unrivaled star-gazing. 

  • This itinerary is easily combined with adventures to the Peruvian Amazon.

ITINERARY INSPIRATION

Uyuni, founded in 1889 by Bolivian president Aniceto Arce, is still an important military base. It lies in south-western Bolivia, 3,670 metres above sea level and situated on the edge of the Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world. The Salar de Uyuni covers over 10,000 square kilometres of the Bolivian Altiplano and is fringed by the mountains of the Andes. Beneath it lies the world’s largest lithium reserve estimated to be about 100 million tons and accounting for around 70% of the world’s lithium reserves. The salt in the salt flats is over 120 metres deep. The area is remote, arid and cold, stark, yet stunning, boasting extraordinary beauty and a silence that is captivating.

Our tour starts with a visit to the cemetery of old trains on the outskirts of Uyuni. Uyuni was an important transportation hub and in the late 19th century, rail lines were built by British engineers and the trains carried minerals to the Pacific Ocean ports. After the collapse of the mining industry in the 1940’s, many trains were abandoned outside Uyuni with the resulting Train Cemetery. The salt winds have led to the corrosion of the metal.

We then set off across the Great Salt Flats to Colchani village, where we observe the methods of salt extraction and salt processing. We continue to Incahuasi Island (better known as Fish Island) - an oasis with a unique and isolated ecosystem that features algae and fossils. The area is covered with giant columnar cacti up to 10 metres high, some over 100 years old. Against the backdrop of the salt flats extending to the horizon, this landscape makes for spectacular photos.

After a picnic lunch, we travel north to visit the pre-Colombian Pucara de Ayque fort and the nearby chullpares on the foothills of Thunupa volcano.

Dinner is included at the hotel tonight.

Uyuni Salt Flats

This morning after breakfast we begin our overland journey to Soniquera. En route we visit Kañapa Lagoon, a saltwater lagoon surrounded by Caquena, Tapaquillcha and Kañapa volcanoes. We also visit Hedionda Lagoon with its strong smell of sulphur, Chiarkota Lagoon (a freshwater lagoon where diverse fauna can be seen) and Honda Lagoon. Situated in the middle of a low concentration salt flat field, its light blue waters contrast with the earthy colours of the highlands. We have a picnic lunch and travel through the Siloli Desert, one of the driest deserts in the world, with its bizarre rock formations caused by wind erosion.

Dinner is included at the hotel tonight.

Colchani - Siloli Desert

We make an early departure this morning to explore the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve (REA). Covering an area of over 700,000 hectares, the reserve features salt pans, volcanoes, snow-capped peaks, thermal springs and geothermal geysers and is home to unique species of fauna that have adapted to the extreme conditions of the region. We visit Laguna Colorado (4,278 metres), declared a RAMSAR site due to the 30,000 Andean flamingos that nest here. Laguna Colorado is characterised by the red colour of its water and it is the most important flamingo site in the region. You may also see vicuñas, llamas and vizcachas. We have a picnic lunch and continue on to the Sol de Mañana geysers with their active fumaroles and volcanic craters. The crater bottoms display boiling lava and the fumaroles emit spouts of mixed water and superheated steam that reach heights of 80 to 100 metres. We visit “Laguna Verde”, a beautiful green lagoon at the foothills of the Licancabur volcano (5,865 metres), where flamingos are often seen, before continuing north to Uyuni.

Uyuni, founded in 1889 by Bolivian president Aniceto Arce, is still an important military base. It lies in south-western Bolivia, 3,670 metres above sea level and situated on the edge of the Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world. The Salar de Uyuni covers over 10,000 square kilometres of the Bolivian Altiplano and is fringed by the mountains of the Andes. Beneath it lies the world’s largest lithium reserve estimated to be about 100 million tons and accounting for around 70% of the world’s lithium reserves. The salt in the salt flats is over 120 metres deep. The area is remote, arid and cold, stark, yet stunning, boasting extraordinary beauty and a silence that is captivating.

Dinner is included at the hotel.

Siloli Desert - Coloured Lagoons (REA) - Uyuni

This morning you will be transferred to Uyuni airport for your onward flight.

Depart Uyuni

This is a suggested itinerary. All Tailor-Made journeys can be customised to suit. Add in additional highlights, spend more time in areas of particular interest to you, or extend your journey to visit other regions of Latin America or Antarctica.

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ITINERARY ADD-ONS

  • Why not amend your itinerary to stay and experience the incredible wonders of the Peruvian Amazon? Discover the incredible biodiversity of the flooded rainforest, spot the pink river dolphins of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, or simply enjoy the most exquisite Peruvian cuisine options on a luxury vessel. Find out more here Find out more.

  • While you are in South America, why not experience the amazing wonders of two of South America’s most vibrant cities? A 9 Day Rio to Buenos Aires journey will be the perfect way to indulge in a mix of Latin American cultural experience and sights. From the awe-inspiring Christ the Redeemer, to the roaring cascades of Iguazu falls and the European avenues of Buenos Aires, this is a spectacular way to experience this unique and dynamic corner of our world. Find out more

  • Why not add on a tour to the Galapagos at the end of your South American journey, spending 4 days exploring the beautiful archipelago that abounds with fascinating wildlife? Amidst spectacular volcanic scenery you will see a myriad of birds and animals from lava lizards to blue-footed boobies, Galapagos penguins, frigatebirds and giant tortoises. Find out more

WHY TAILOR-MADE?

  • Personalise your itinerary
  • Access to great flight deals
  • Choose your accomodation
  • Tailored travel insurance options
  • Choose your preferred dates
  • Cater to your travel needs

Pricing & date

Travel Style Departing Duration PRICE FROM
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Important Information

  • Private airport transfers
    All services, lodging and meals as mentioned in itinerary
    Sightseeing with local English-speaking guide
    All entrance fees
    Other meals where stated

    Exclusions

    International flights
    Visa and reciprocity fees (if applicable) 
    Travel insurance
    Beverages
    Personal Expenses
    Gratuities for tour guides/drivers
    Any items not mentioned as included. 

  • 2 (high altitude)
  • Available upon request. Contact us for more details.

  • All entrance fees are subject to change without prior notice.

    This is a Tailor-Made itinerary which can be customised to create your own unique journey. Contact us to discuss your travel plans.

  • Season and availability.

Accommodation

We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

Being environmentally accountable is a crucial part of our organisation. Chimu is currently striving towards using less paper, taking several initiatives to do so and tracking our progress along the way. Our goal: A paperless organisation. For this reason, all information given to you will be sent electronically. We encourage those who choose to travel with us to support our aspirations and actions and ask that you reconsider printing out documentation. To view these documents, you can download them to your iPad or portable computer before and during your trip.

Chimu is passionate and dedicated to sustainability measures and understands the crucial part sustainability plays within the tourism industry.

We use local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprint. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting. Our guides are all highly qualified (most with university degrees) or equip with many years of experience and are paid above the standard wage. Whether it be our knowledgeable local guides, locally produced meals or the transport on tour, we do not use imported goods when local products are available. We aim to minimise our impact on the environment and give as much back as possible to the communities we work in.

While visiting the many national parks, heritage sites, museums and landmarks our travellers are encouraged to explore remain culturally aware and sensitive. We further encourage you to buy appropriate souvenirs and discourage the buying of anything wrongfully made or taken from the environment i.e. shells and endangered species products. Information on how you can be environmentally conscious, and travel responsibly will be made available in our Travellers Guides and provided during your travels by guides and staff.

For more information on our sustainability policies, including how we are striving towards being a paperless organisation, click HERE