The winds howling in your face. Vast expanse that goes on forever behind your shades. Unbelievable landscape that doesn’t belong to Earth. It is easy to feel that you are all alone in Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flats at over 10,000 km2 and undisputedly the highlight of any visitor to Bolivia.
Just fly there
With multiple daily flights connecting Uyuni with La Paz, Bolivia’s capital, the one-hour-long flight is clearly the better choice compared to the overnight buses which take over 10 hours.
Different seasons for different reasons
With rain turning Salar into a giant mirror, visiting it during the wet season from December to April set up the beautiful landscape with amazing reflections. During the dry season between May and November, the same area becomes endless white flat land, perfect for hilarious perspective photo opportunities. The clearer skies also make for better stargazing experience.
The incredible sights
Three days are enough to cover Salar de Uyuni; it’s also possible to travel onwards to San Pedro Atacama in Chile (a great destination in itself) instead of returning to Uyuni with the same amount of days. If you are short on time, there are shorter one or two-day options which return to Uyuni too.
Salar de Uyuni – Depending on season, the salt flats either become a canvas for picture-perfect mirror-like reflection or a backdrop for interesting perspective photographs.
Colchani Salt Factory – You can learn about the traditional method of extraction and refinement at the local salt factory on the way to or from Salar de Uyuni.
Coquesa – Site of ancient burial grounds at the northern edge of Salar de Uyuni, you can also hike up Thunupa Volcano from there.
Inkawasi (may be inaccessible during wet season) – This former island with giant cacti grown all over was turned a rocky outcrop of land located in the middle of the salt flats after prehistoric lake dried up. It provides a nice break from the flat terrain and an elevated viewpoint of the horizon.
Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna Natural Reserve – For those heading towards San Pedro de Atacama, you will pass through this beautiful nature reserve. It has amazing scenery and many opportunities to spot alpine animals such as vicuñas en-route. Stops include Laguna Colorada or Red Lagoon, home to several species of flamingos, Sol de Mañana geyser where intense volcanic activities can be seen and Laguna Verde or Green Lagoon, an emerald-coloured lake which is framed by Licancabur Volcano.
While traveling in Salar de Uyuni used to be a basic affair, it is possible to visit in style now with the following recent developments.
Mobile luxury with private guide and chef
Traveling around Salar de Uyuni in the deluxe Airstream camper, with your own private driver, guide and chef, is probably one of the most magical experiences around the world. Equipped with modern luxuries such as private bathroom with hot water and heated thermal blankets, the Airstream campers provides a mobile and luxurious base to explore the region. Each evening, after the sundowner cocktails and freshly-prepared dinner, the staff will leave you alone to immerse in the solitude of the salt flats, underneath the beautiful galaxy of stars. This option is especially ideal for those heading to Chile after Uyuni.
The ultimate glamping experience
Opened in 2019, Kachi Lodge has six space station-like domes, each equipped with heating, private bathroom and comfortable interiors, and provides the ultimate glamping experience. Meals are included and catered by Gustu, a top award-winning restaurant in La Paz. Guests can partake in a variety of activities at the lodge, ranging from hiking a volcano, cycling around salt flats, visiting archaeological sites to stargazing with astronomy experts.
Written by Intriq Journey