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« Bolivia Itinerary

Day 3 – Uyuni, Colchani, Salar de Uyuni

 
 
Day 2
La Paz
Second day in the capital city.
  Day 3
Uyuni, Colchani, Salar de Uyuni
This section
« Thirteen days in Bolivia
  Day 4
Salar de Uyuni, Laguna Colorada
Salt flats, red lagoon.

Amaszonas CRJ Plane

Amaszonas CRJ Plane

Day 3 started early with a taxi ride from Loki Hostel to La Paz airport for my flight to Uyuni, on Amaszonas Airlines (leaving LPB at 06:50 and reaching UYU at 07:35). The flight time is about 40 minutes to Uyuni airport (UYU) on a small Bombardier CRJ plane (flight number Z8 300). After checking-in, make sure to pay the airport exit fee of Bs 15 before you head out to the gate.

How to reach Uyuni

Close to landing at Uyuni airport, if you get a seat on the right-side of the plane, you will have a spectacular aerial view of the huge Salar de Uyuni, world’s largest salt flats. And the sunrise on the left-side right after take-off was unbelievable as well.

Uyuni has a very small airport, and most tour operators will have their chauffers waiting for you with your name tag. No, these are not free rides to the tour operator’s offices, but you will be asked to pay Bs 10 per person upon reaching the office. The town square is about 2km from the airport, but in July temperatures, that Bs 10 is absolutely worth it!

Aerial view of Salar de Uyuni

Aerial view of Salar de Uyuni

 

Salar de Uyuni Tours
I had booked the 3-day Salar de Uyuni tour in advance. Since there are limited tours leaving in a day, it’s best recommended to book in advance. Having said that, remember that there are a lot of agencies in Uyuni who run the same tours,so you can take your chance to just walk up and go with that. Just make sure to reach the agencies early morning to be able to take the same day tours as almost all of them begin around 9am.

 

Uyuni itself is a very small, laid-back town with shackled homes; and with no particular sights to see, except for the train sculptures on the main street, Ave Ferroviaria, you can spend a few hours walking around or just have breakfast at one of many cafes around the clock tower.

Postal Stamp at Uyuni

Postal Stamp at Uyuni

Having arrived at 7:45am, I had a few hours before my tour started at 11am. So I headed to a cafe for breakfast and then to the post office, next to the main bus station, for a stamp in my Postal Stamp Memorabilia book.

I had booked my 3-day tour around Salar de Uyuni with Red Planet Expedition (Read review here) for Bs 1200 (does not include entrance fee at Laguna Colarada and Isla Incahuasi). After reaching the tour operator’s office by 10am, there were about 15 people in all for the 3-day tour, while a few others signed-up for 1-day tour. Around 11am, our jeeps were ready to go and our drivers has assigned us in groups of six-persons each in one jeep.

 

Usually the first stop on the tour is the Train Graveyard, right off of Uyuni, but our guide suggested we head out of Uyuni so we can be ahead of other jeeps and visit the Train Graveyard as the last stop on our way back to Uyuni.

So after a 30 minute drive along the main “highway” we reached Colchani.

Colchani

This tiny salt mining town resides on the outskirts of Salar de Uyuni, and home to the salt cooperative. Colchani is the easiest point to access the great salt flat, and the place to go if you just want a glimpse of it without going on a tour. Right on the edge of the salt, the Hotel Palacio de Sal is one of several salt hotels in the region – built almost entirely out of blocks of salt.

The tour guide gave us a glimpse of the salt mining factory, with some explanations on how the locals build houses of salt-bricks. A 30-minute halt in this tiny town and we were off to the world’s highest and largest salt flats – Salar de Uyuni.

Isla Incahuasi Isla Incahuasi (photo: Wikipedia)[/caption]

Courtyard of Agua Quisa village guesthouse Courtyard of Agua Quisa village guesthouse[/caption]

Inside courtyard of Agua Quisa village guesthouse

Inside courtyard of Agua Quisa village guesthouse

Dormitory of Agua Quisa village guesthouse

Dormitory of Agua Quisa village guesthouse

The only one bathroom with gas-operated hot shower

The only one bathroom with gas-operated hot shower

 

Costs

Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult. The exchange rate at the time of publishing is assumed to be USD 1= BOB 6.9.
 

What Cost Notes
Taxi to La Paz airport Bs 60 or $8.70 One way
Flight – LPB-UYU Bs 975 or $141.30 One way from La Paz to Uyuni on Amaszonas
Airport exit fee at La Paz Bs 15 or $2.17 One way
Breakfast at Huari Bs 60 or $8.70 Restaurant at La Paz airport
Breakfast at Uyuni Bs 20 or $2.90 One of the cafes on Ave Ferroviaria
Red Planet Expedition Bs 1200 or $174 3-day tour across Salar de Uyuni
Taxi from Uyuni airport to town Bs 10 or $1.45 One way
Snacks & water Bs 55 or $7.98 Incl toilet tissue, water for 3 days, etc.
Toilets Bs 7 or $1
Total Costs $348.20 Per person
Overall Costs $1,455.63 Per person

 

 
 
Day 2
La Paz
Second day in the capital city.
  Day 3
Uyuni, Colchani, Salar de Uyuni
This section
« Thirteen days in Bolivia
  Day 4
Salar de Uyuni, Laguna Colorada
Salt flats, red lagoon.
  • Georgiana

    Hey, did you book the Salar de Uyuni tour in advanced? Or you just showed up in Uyuni at their office and found a place? Thanks for all the posts, I am visiting Bolivia in a week so I am really using all the info posted. Cheers!

    • travelonthedollar

      Hello
      I had booked in advance. Since there are limited tours leaving in a day, it’s best recommended to book in advance. Having said that, remember that there are a lot of agencies in Uyuni who run the same tours, so you can take your chance to just walk up and go with that. Just make sure to reach the agencies early morning to be able to take the same day tours.

  • Alex Couture

    Hi, we’re also looking for a tour with Red Planet and we’re wondering about the accommodation. Is it share room or private ? Thank you and good job for you’re awesome website 🙂

    • travelonthedollar

      For the two nights we stayed, one had private rooms depending on first-come-first-serve and number of people in the group. But the other one had shared room.

      Hope this helps. Safe travels!


THIRTEEN DAYS IN BOLIVIA

 
Planning
Itinerary, Planning & Information

 
Day 1
La Paz
First day in the capital city.

 
Day 2
La Paz
Second day in the capital city.

 
Day 3
Uyuni, Colchani, Salar de Uyuni
Tour across world's largest salt flats.

 
Day 4
Salar de Uyuni, Laguna Colorada
Salt flats, red lagoon.

 
Day 5
San Cristobal, Sol de Mañana to Uyuni
Volcano, thermal baths & back to Uyuni.

 
Day 6
Uyuni to Potosi
Visiting silver town.

 
Day 7
Potosi
Silver mines and around the town.

 
Day 8
Potosi to Sucre
Traveling from Potosi to Sucre & day there.

 
Day 9
Sucre
Most preserved Spanish Colonial town.

 
Day 10
Sucre to La Paz to Copacabana
Traveling from Sucre to La Paz, connecting to Copacabana.

 
Day 11
Copacabana, Lake Titicaca
Small coastal town at Lake Titicaca.

 
Day 12
Isla del Sol
Boat trip to island of sun in Lake Titicaca.

 
Day 13
Copacabana to La Paz
Travel from Copacabana to La Paz and fly out.

Expenses
How much did it cost?
List of all the expenses.
 
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