Bolivian Salt Flats Tours – The Incredible Landscape of Salar de Uyuni

There is a huge choice of Bolivian Salt Flats Tours – I researched a lot before doing my trip. I decided to go for one that was included as part of a longer trip and it was absolutely brilliant! If you are interested in my trip, I travelled with G Adventures for 2 weeks on their Buenos Aires to La Paz Adventure which you can read more about here. Keep reading for the story of my adventure…..

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Bolivian Salt Flats Tours

Today we set off in our 4×4’s across the desert, heading for Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat at 4,086 sq miles (10,582 sq km). Our first stop was the red lagoon which was absolutely stunning and full of flamingos – they were beautiful and I’d never seen so many in the wild before. It was 5200m above sea level so we really felt it in our lungs. It’s such beautiful landscape and so unspoilt. Just miles of desert vastness – beautiful lagoons, unusual rock formations and surprisingly lots of wildlife.

Bolivian Salt Flats Tours

Our first night’s accommodation was fabulous – it was only built last year and they’re still working on it, they want to expand the kitchen and build more rooms. It was built through the Planeterra foundation, a non-profit organisation that helps ensure that the communities touched by tourism benefit from the opportunities it provides. Our rooms were in little huts with thatched roofs and a floor (and beds) made of salt. Great exfoliation for the feet! There are a lot of buildings in the area made from salt due to a lack of conventional construction materials and a plethora of salt! We got to taste llama (it was actually pretty nice) and drink quinoa juice (slightly odd but tasted a bit like rice milk).

Bolivian Salt Flats Tours

The next morning a local guide took us on a walk up to a viewpoint with his dog called Bobby (not sure why he didn’t a Spanish name haha). He showed us where they grow the quinoa and explained that this year hadn’t been a good season – usually you can see the plants from the top. We walked past some huge cacti, apparently they are around 100 years old. I’m finding the Bolivian Spanish a lot easier to understand than the Argentinian or Chilean Spanish, they seem to speak a little slower and less ‘sing-song’.

On our way to the salt flats we visited Galaxy of the Two Stars which was a subterranean network of caves discovered in 2003. The formations are thought to be 115 million years old! There were a lot of mummies buried there but sadly most have been stolen for their jewellery etc.

Bolivian Salt Flats Tours

The salt flats are so impressive! Just miles of bright white, I couldn’t quite believe what I was looking at. We spent a fair few hours taking ‘creative’ (that thousands of others have done before) photos and videos. It was good fun and provided some amusement. It was so hot, especially with the reflection of the sun off the salt so there was only so long we could stay out there. I don’t have a clue how the drivers know where they’re going when it’s just a vast of white before them!

The expanse of salt goes on for miles and miles and I had to keep telling myself it was salt and not snow. There were lots of huge cacti surrounding the flats too – they look like they are keeping guard over the deserted landscape. The landscape really is extreme and so incredibly different to anything I have seen before. It was amazing standing there contemplating, trying to take it all in. 

That night we stayed in the town of Uyuni which is around 45 minutes drive from the salt flats. We went for (really good) pizza and then to a bar called the ‘Extreme Fun Bar’. And extreme fun it was. There were certainly some crazy staff in there 🙂

Bolivian Salt Flats Tours

The next day we had a 4-hour transfer to Potosi which is the highest city in the world at 4050m. I got really out of breath carrying my bag just one block from the bus to the hotel! Potosi is in a beautiful setting, pretty buildings that snake up the surrounding hillsides. The day we were there was a friendship festival. This involved hundreds of school children in the main square squirting each other with foam and trying to dunk each other in the fountain. It was fun to watch! At 5pm you can walk up to the top (and onto the roof of) the San Francisco church. It was a little unnerving as there was a lack of handrails and very wobbly stairs but worth it for the 360 degree views.

Bolivian Salt Flats Tours

We came back to the square and spotted Joe and Harry right in the middle of the foam fight with all the kids, hahaha. So inevitably we all ended up getting caught up in it and it got more intense. It started with white foam but later green cans seemed to appear….we got covered. A girl squirted a load right in my ear – I couldn’t hear properly for a while! So funny. It’s nice feeling like a kid again.

If you are interested in my trip, I travelled with G Adventures for 2 weeks on their Buenos Aires to La Paz Adventure which you can read more about here.

To read more about this trip, check out my previous post: The Driest Place on the Earth – Valley of the Moon, Chile

And for my next instalment click here: Silver Mining in Potosi

Bolivian Salt Flats Tours

Bolivian Salt Flats Tours

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12 Replies to “Bolivian Salt Flats Tours – The Incredible Landscape of Salar de Uyuni”

  1. Wow, that sounds like a truly amazing trip! Lots of awesome sights to see and things to do. Although I found the llama stuff to be pretty bizarre. But all the great sights sound great. How many days were you there in all? Do they also have a lot of lush green mountains there in Bolivia? I would absolutely love to go there! Thanks for the wonderful recap of your adventure.

    1. Hi Jim,

      Thanks for your comments. It was really amazing, I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to take a trip to such an amazing place. I was in South America 6 weeks, Bolivia was 10 days of that trip – I did a 2-week trip with G Adventures from Buenos Aires to La Paz. It was very varied as a country, I would definitely recommend it.

      Let me know if you decide to book a trip, I’m happy to give you some suggestions.


  2. llama sperm shots, wow! Never thought I’d hear about that. I’m guessing they market it as an aphrodisiac or something? When in rome…although I’m not going to think about how they harvest it. Poor llammas. all in all, it looks like you had a blast and saw some really awesome new places and traditions!

    1. Hi Penelope,

      Luckily it wasn’t actual llama sperm….just made to look like it (I think it was baileys suspended in dark rum or something like that!)

      Thanks for your comments – it was a fantastic trip!

  3. This for sure would be a great place to visit!
    Looking at these pictures, you obviously had so much fun! The pictures are breathtaking.

    If I may ask, what did the lama sperm shot taste like? I’ve never heard of it.

    I love travelling as well and maybe someday I just might visit this spectacular place!

    Thanks for this great post!

    1. Hi Bea, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Haha, it was made of baileys and some kind of licquer underneath, it was actually very nice 🙂

      I could definitely recommend Bolivia – it was stunning and relatively untouched.


  4. Amazing post! Bolivia has been high on my bucket list for quite some time and this has pushed it even further up! I’m also really keen to climb several of the country’s mountains – they look stunning.

    A query I have is: do the salt flats have to be done as a tour or can one do it independently?

    1. Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for your comment. They really are stunning! You can’t drive across the salt flats independently (in your own vehicle) so you would have to go in an approved vehicle. However, you could hire a driver and go by yourself or you have the option of going as part of a small group tour. You can book a local tour whilst you’re there or book before you go. My tour was a small group but it was part of a 2-week trip from Buenos Aires to La Paz with G Adventures. It took the hassle out of having to book everything myself (which can be tricky in Bolivia) so I can recommend it 🙂

      Please let me know if you’d like any more info 🙂


  5. Hi Louise2812

    One word WOW GREAT Adventure you got there
    I love everything like this, this one you would never forget all your life, and it is trip like this that counts, I would love to go on a trip like this, can I order trip like this for one person or do I need to be in a group?

    best regards
    Salomon A.

    1. Hi Salomon,

      Thanks for your comment – you could definitely do this trip alone although it would be harder to organise and to get to the salt flats you would need to be in a group. You could organise a tour locally when you’re there though, you don’t necessarily need to book it beforehand. I travelled with G Adventures on their Buenos Aires to La Paz tour which I can highly recommend – you travel as part of a small group and they take you off the traditional tourist trail 🙂

      Please ask me if you’d like any more info!


  6. I have never considered a trip to Bolivia until I read this post. It seems you had an awesome adventure.
    You made mention of being at an altitude of 5200 meters at one stage, Was altitude sickness a possibility and if so what did you do to overcome this.


    1. Hi Wayne,

      I was lucky in that I didn’t get altitude sickness but some of the group I was travelling with did. The locals chew on coca leaves which are supposed to help with altitude sickness – however, they taste like spinach water so aren’t the best! You can also take anti-sickness tablets which tend to do the trick.


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