(MUST READ) How to Choose the Best Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats Tour

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Imagine: 

The sky reflecting on a massive salt flat where you can’t even tell where it ends or where it beings. 

Volcanos touching the sky and serving as a backdrop for hundreds of flamingos chilling around in a red lagoon. 

These are only a few of the things you’ll see and experience when venturing into one of the Uyuni salt flat tours below.

Bolivia is not only a country filled with culture, unique landscapes, and lots of cute llamas. 

The country also has finger-licking good food and many things to do that will surprise you.

Uyuni Salt Flats Tour

As much as Bolivia deserves a complete article about its beauty, on this one, we’ll help you decide which Bolivia tours you should consider based on the length and budget of your trip. 

And on what you want to see too, of course.

Remember that the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flats, meaning you need the help of a tour company to visit it.

Frank is a great driver, and Bruna has a decent sense of direction, but honestly, we wouldn’t dare to try to drive to each one of the main attractions by ourselves.

Not because it is dangerous (we honestly don’t believe it’s unsafe), but because it’s massive and it has no mobile connection.

Without further ado, let’s talk about the best salt flats tours and how each one of them is, so you can choose the one that fits your travel plans the best.

Wanna know the best salt flats tour? Read on! 

Why should you go on Salar de Uyuni salt flats tours?

First things first. As said, the Salar de Uyuni is in a massive area where tourists often take the opportunity to visit other natural landscapes and ruins. 

Unless you’re an adventurous soul, speak Spanish, and have enough time to drive around, so getting lost is not a problem, we would advise you to go on a Bolivia salt flats tour.

The Bolivian salt flats are about 12.5 mi (20 km) from Uyuni Town, and they are massive. Don’t underestimate their area.

Where do these tours leave from?

Most Uyuni Salt Flats tours leave from Uyuni town and these are the cheapest ones because of its distance. 

However, some companies also leave from San Pedro de Atacama (Chile) and La Paz (Bolivia).

If you’re traveling on a budget and would like to start your tour in Uyuni Town, you can take a bus from La Paz. 

Check buses on TicketsBolivia if you are coming to Bolivia from another country. Alternatively, you can take a 4-hour bus from La Paz to Oruro and then a 7-hour train to Uyuni.

The most recommendable option, however, is the comfortable Expreso del Sur that runs on Tuesdays and Fridays at 2.30 PM.

But the easiest way to get to Uyuni Town would be by taking a direct 1-hour flight from La Paz. 

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivian salt flats tour
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivian salt flats

Who should take an organized tour?

Organized day tours are perfect for that kind of traveler who:

  • Has no time to research specific places to visit for him/herself.
  • Has no knowledge of a region/place and want to learn some history and culture from a local.
  • Has no time to see the whole region, so s/he has to be practical and focus only on the main sites.
  • Would like to visit more places than just the salt flats, such as the Train Graveyard.
  • Enjoys meeting like-minded people from many countries around the world.
  • Prefers to have things taken care of: tours and itineraries are defined and aligned with the most important things to see and learn about that place + transportation to all sites.

What type of tours to the Bolivian Salt Flats are available?

  • Day tour that includes a visit to the Train Graveyard, the salt flats, and the Tunupa Volcano.
  • Night tour with wine to stargaze at the Bolivian salt flats.
  • Three-day tour from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, stopping by many sites, including the Salar de Uyuni, Laguna Colorada, and Anaconda Canyon.
  • Three-day tour from Uyuni Town, stopping by many sites, including the Salar de Uyuni, Fish Island, and geysers.
  • Day tour from La Paz, which includes a visit to the Train Graveyard, the salt flats, Fish Island, and the Tunupa Volcano.
Sunrise at the Bolivian salt flats
Sunrise at the Bolivian salt flats

Get travel insurance for your trip to Bolivia

For every trip you book, you should purchase travel insurance. It’s essential to avoid unnecessary hassle and even financial losses that might occur along the way.

That’s especially important for adventure trips you do, including a visit to the Bolivian salt flats.

I use WorldNomads and never have had any issue while submitting a claim.

Click here to get a quote quickly.

How long does the average Uyuni salt flats tour last?

On average, tours last three days, but the first two we mentioned above are a day trip and a 4-hour tour, respectively. It depends on where you start, of course, but most tours begin the drive around 7-8 AM.

What is included in the Bolivian salt flats tours?

While every tour below goes to the Salar Uyuni, the majority includes the following:

  • Professional bilingual driver and guide.
  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off.
  • Snacks and water.
  • Accommodation in multiple-day tours.
Red Lagoon at Salar de Uyuni
Red Lagoon

Things to consider when choosing your Salar de Uyuni tour

  • Decide what you want to see. Only the Bolivian Salt Flats on a day trip or some other landscapes in the region?
  • Consider whether or not you want to stay for a night. Accommodation and most meals are included in the tours.
  • Choose wisely the time you’re traveling to Salar de Uyuni. On the rainy season, between Dec-Mar, you’ll see the breathtaking reflections on the salt flats, while in the dry season, you’ll see an infinite white field. Still going during the South American summer? Book your tour in advance as they might book out.

Our favorite tours at the Salar de Uyuni

Sky's reflection on Bolivia salt flats tours
Sky’s reflection on Bolivia salt flats

Salar de Uyuni and Lunch

This tour is a day trip to the Salar de Uyuni, which includes visiting the Train Cemetery and the tiny (and intriguing) town of Colchani, watching wildlife at the foot of the Tunupa Volcano, having lunch at the salt flats, and finally having a glass of wine at sunset. 

We particularly like the idea of having a glass of wine in this unique setting. 

It’s the perfect tour for those who don’t have much time or money but want to experience the world-famous Bolivian salt flats and main sites in the area. 

This tour includes:

  • English guide and driver
  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off service
  • Lunch + complimentary drinks
  • Snacks
  • Wine for the sunset

Although the tour company offers snacks and lunch, bring some yourself in case you get hungry. Also, don’t forget to bring enough water. 

Check reviews and current prices

Sunrise reflection on Salar de Uyuni
Sunrise reflection on Salar de Uyuni

Uyuni Salt Flats: Private Night Tour from Uyuni

This night tour starts at 8 PM and the guide takes you to the Salar de Uyuni for an evening stroll and stargaze. 

The tour takes about four hours, meaning you have some time to walk around and enjoy the moment. 

Also, consider taking this tour if you’re traveling with your significant other as the tour company, Joker Expedition, serves wine under the stars. 

While this tour is ideal for couples, it’s also perfect for photography lovers as you can take mesmerizing shots of the Milky Way. 

If you travel during the South American summer, you might even photograph the Milky Way’s reflection on the salt flats.

For us, the South American summer is the best time to visit Bolivia salt flats because of these reflections, but that’s personal. 

This tour includes:

  • English guide and driver
  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off service
  • Bottle of water + wine
  • National park fees
  • Boots for walking on water in the rainy season

Be sure to pack layers, hat, and accessories as it gets chilly during the night. Also, bring your tripod to score perfectly exposed and crisp photos.

Check reviews and current prices

Car at salt flats in Bolivia
How to choose the best Uyuni salt flats tour

Private Day Trip from La Paz to Uyuni Tour by Flight

This day trip tour from La Paz is completely planned and taken care of for you. 

From leaving the hotel in La Paz to flying to Uyuni, visiting the salt flats & region, and flying back to the capital. 

The tour company, Joker Expedition, also takes you to the Train Cemetery, Tunupa Volcano, Salvador Dali Desert, and Incahuasi Island, also known as Fish Island.

Because you’re leaving from the capital, the value of the tour is naturally higher than the others in this list. Hence, this tour is perfect for those people who are short on time and want to experience the Bolivian salt flats and region without hassle.

This tour includes:

  • English guide and driver
  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off service in La Paz
  • Round-trip tickets from La Paz
  • Breakfast + lunch + snacks 
  • Bottle of water + glass of champagne + coffee/tea
  • National park fees

This salt flats tour is unique indeed, but it also is exhausting because you’ll travel a lot. 

So be sure to start taking vitamins a few weeks before your vacation to South America so that you’ll feel fit and energized. 

Check reviews and current prices

Llama standing on a rock at the Bolivian salt flats
The landscape is so pretty even the llama can’t stop looking at it. Jk

From Atacama: Uyuni Salt Flats Multi-Day Tour

Skyline Traveller takes you on an incredible 3-4-day journey through the world’s largest salt flats, Salar de Uyuni. 

After departing at 7 AM from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, you will head over to the Bolivian salt flats, but first, you’ll stop at the mineral salt lakes, Laguna Blanca and Laguna Verde, at the foot of the Licancabur Volcano. 

The tour takes you to many other exciting sites in these three or four days, including Laguna Colorada, geysers, and hot springs as well as to the salt flats during sunrise.

The main difference between the three- and four-day tours is that on the first one your tour finishes in Uyuni Town and from there you’re free to go wherever you want. 

While on the latter, they take you to either Villamar or Alota, small villages nearby, to spend the night, and in the morning they take you back to San Pedro de Atacama.

This salt flats tour is ideal for those traveling around South America and would like to make a stop in the Bolivian Salar de Uyuni before heading to destinations other than San Pedro de Atacama.

However, we honestly don’t think the additional day justifies the difference in price so that the 3-day tour is the best option.

This tour includes:

  • English guide
  • Transfer by minibus from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile (the way back will depend on the length of the tour)
  • Accommodation in shared rooms
  • Sleeping bag during winter
  • Breakfast + lunch + dinner

As always, dress accordingly as it can get chilly during the night. Also, bring towels and a swimsuit for the hot springs.

Check reviews and current prices

Flags at Salar de Uyuni
Flags at Salar de Uyuni

3-Day Salt Flats and Colored Lagoons Tour from Uyuni

Unlike the previous two salt flat tours, this one leaves from Uyuni to spend three days visiting the Fish Island, Galaxy Cave, lagoons in the region, geysers, and hot springs, among others.

They provide sleeping bags ($10) and transfers ($6) under a small fee. 

This tour is ideal for those in Uyuni Town who would like to experience the surreal landscapes of the Bolivian salt flats for a reasonable price.

This tour includes:

  • English guide
  • Accommodation in shared rooms
  • A few meals are included
  • Snacks + water

Bring warm clothing (also for sleeping) as well as a swimsuit, snacks, and water. 

Check reviews and current prices

Further reading for your trip to the Salar de Uyuni, the Bolivian Salt Flats

We have an article about the Bolivian Salt Flats that you won’t want to miss! 

If you were wondering what Fish Island or Laguna Colorada is, or any other place we mentioned above, hear over to this article to learn in detail about this unique place in South America.

Also, be sure to check out some other places to visit in Bolivia as well as our favorite reasons to visit the country.

Have you taken a Uyuni salt flats tour?

Please share your tips below in the comments. If you haven’t taken the Bolivian salt flats tour yet and have some questions, drop them below, and we’ll try our very best to answer them!

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