After visiting the city of La Paz, we flew into Uyuni. The flight took about one hour.
There are a couple airlines companies that have service to Uyuni, from La Paz. There are also overnight buses also, which takes about 10-12 hours, so for us, it was a pretty simple choice to fly.
Uyuni is a very small town, located in southwest Bolivia. Even though there are, hotels, bars, restaurants, and stores, it feels like there is almost nothing to do in the city itself. The salt flats themselves, are the most popular attraction, to this area. Also known as Salar de Uyuni, it is the world’s largest salt flat, a desert with an elevation of 11,995 ft (almost 4,000 meters) above sea level.
How can you visit Salar de Uyuni?
To visit Salar de Uyuni, you can easily book a day trip. There are tourism agencies in the city and they provide day tours. You can choose a private tour or a group tour, with more people. You can also choose a longer and more expensive tour, which takes 3 days, from Salar de Uyuni to the Atacama Desert, which lies between Bolivia and Chile.
Tip: We highly suggest you to book your tour online before visiting the salt flats.
What will you see in Salar de Uyuni?
On this tour you will have the chance to see the city, visit a train cemetery of old rusted steam engines and train cars, a village and a salt company, eat lunch in the only one hotel in the middle of the desert. This hotel no longer operates anymore, for ecological reasons. It is open only for picnicking and visiting. You will also have the opportunity to see the DAKAR monument, flags, cactuses, lakes, a volcano and watch a beautiful sunset at the end of the tour.
Tip: Bring toilet paper, extra water and hand sanitizer. The bathrooms are precarious. Also do not forget extra sun-block.
During the night we did a Stargazing Tour:
We left at 9:00 p.m and they drove us a long distance into the middle of the desert. Since there isn’t too much ambient light from cities, you can see so many more stars, than we are used to. We saw the milky way and a shooting star. It was a fantastic and unforgettable moment.
Where to stay in Uyuni?
There are decent hotels in the city. We stayed in the Hotel Luna Salada a hotel made of salt in the desert.
Best time to visit the salt flats in Bolivia:
You can visit Salar de Uyuni all year long. The scenery changes between the rainy and dry season.
During the rainy season: From December to April, the lakes overflow and you can see the famous “ mirrors” the amazing reflection of the sky, but a lot of places are not accessible.
During the dry season: From May to November you can drive all across the desert, with a mesmerizing white landscape and volcanic views. The weather is nice and cool during the day and very cold at night.
Tips: Make sure to take a day off to get yourself acclimated to the altitude and dryness of the area. Drink lots of water. Take remedies for nausea and headaches.
Visiting Uyuni and Bolivia in general, was an incredible experience. We were lucky enough to cross a salt desert, suffer lack of oxygen and a little dehydration, but we survived.
We both had altitude sickness and we thought we were going to die. We were already feeling bad in La Paz, and the situation got worse in Uyuni. One night we had to ask for the oxygen machine in the room, and another day, we had to use the oxygen machine in the hotel reception. Our skin and noses became dry. We were always thirsty, and we felt like our heads was going to explode.
We surely learned to live life at the moment, appreciate what we have, and enjoy the little things…