Why It’s Worth Planning a Trip to Salar de Uyuni
So much has been written about Salar de Uyuni that all the information can feel overwhelming. Which tour do I choose? Are the cars well maintained? And do they have bad reviews about safety? There’s a lot to consider, so why not see what it’s like. Here’s our drive across southern Bolivia in photos.
Tupiza to Quetena
Our first day is an 8-hour drive through the Bolivian altiplano. After a brief orientation we head southwest, stopping to take in Awanapampa, Cerrillos and Polulos. The air is thin at 15,000 feet but the landscape is spectacular. Our room for the night is in a communal building; basic but full of friendly travelers.
Quetena to Huayllajara
In the morning we enter the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve, one of Bolivia’s 20 protected areas. It’s a slow and easy drive over dirt roads between soft sand and mountains. The day is quite the adventure filled with colorful lagoons, hot springs and geysers. Our accommodation in Huayllajara is similar to Quetana but few of us sleep at the altitude.
Huayllajara to Puerto Chuvica
The third day is a long descent towards Salar de Uyuni. Heading northwest we pass more red desert, mountains and lagoons. Our last night is in a simple salt hotel just outside Uyuni.
It’s the big day and we’re up early to get to Incahuasi Island before dawn. After sunrise it’s a quick meal and then onto the salt flats. We take too many photos, buy a few souvenirs Colchani before the tour ends in the town of Uyuni.
About our 4-day tour
To get the most out of a short stay in Bolivia, I chose a four-day tour from Tupiza to Uyuni with La Torre Tours. Tupiza isn’t the easiest place to get to, but I picked this route so we could end our journey in the salt flats of Uyuni. In the interest of time we flew from La Paz to Uyuni Town and then drove with La Torre Tours to Tupiza. (There are other ways to get to Tupiza — like by train from La Paz or bus from San Pedro de Atacama.) The experience was well worth the effort. Bolivia’s endless expanse of lagoons, desert and salt were utterly otherworldly.
Passing through La Paz?
La Paz may not be one of Latin America’s top tourist destinations but it is home to one of the continent’s best restaurants. Named after the Quecha word for flavor, Gustu was founded in 2012 by Danish restaurateur and Noma co-founder Claus Meyer. Book a table in advance and indulge in the tasting menu for Bolivian cuisine at its finest.