I think for anyone travelling South America, the Salt Flats would be at the top of their list of things to do. It’s a pretty remarkable place and a surreal moment when your stood their looking out and there is nothing to see apart from the incredible Salt Flats. At over 4000 square miles, it is the world largest Salt Flat. It was left behind by prehistoric lakes that evaporated a long time ago. Now, a thick crust of salt extends all the way to the horizon in the shape of polygonal patterns.
How to get there?
Visiting the Salt Flats is a very popular tour and one that originates from 3 main places. Argentina, Chile & Bolivia.
- Bolivia is a popular option as the town of Uyuni is close, so you have the choice of just a day trip if that suits you more. Or if you have more time, you can do multiple day tours that start & end in Uyuni.
- If your travelling from Chile, the tour company will drive you to the boarder from San Pedro de Atacama. They will then hand you over to the Bolivian tour company to start your 3day tour.
- Tupiza, Bolivia is the best point for travellers coming from Argentina. However, a 4 day tour is recommended and then finishing in Salar de Uyuni on the final day.
We booked our 3 Day Tour from San Pedro de Atacama through Keteka and we couldn’t recommend it enough. We only booked our tour a few days before we set off which was really handy for us. We immediately received a confirmation email, an itinerary for the next three days and information of what we would need and to expect on the trip. We were also given an address close in town to meet someone to ask any questions we had and to get any additional information we needed. Keteka was not only professional but really friendly and helpful from the start.
Duration; 3 days & 2 nights
Cost; $182- $338 USD. The cost completely depends on you. You have the option accommodation of a shared room or private room. Obviously the price will go up if you opt for a private room. You also have the choice of an English or Spanish speaking guide.
What’s included? 2 nights accommodation. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. Just incase you think the food will be basic and not enough, it’s actually plenty and really good food! Especially breakfast! You will also have an expert driver and guide that speaks fluently in the language you requested.
Know before you go…
- Take plenty of water with you. You will be visiting some of the driest places in the world and on top of that, at very high altitude. You will need to stay hydrated and there wont really be anywhere to buy water. I recommend you take at least a big bottle of about 6L. I know it seem’s a lot but you’ll agree with me once your out there.
- Warm clothes. Joe and I hate the cold so what we wore may be rather excessive but take enough with you to layer up, especially for the mornings which can be nearly -10 degrees.
- Take Suncream & sunglasses. Although it feels really cold, the sun is really strong, especially the reflective UV.
- Take around 300 BS with you. You will need a total of 180 BS for entrance fees for the national park and hot springs and then any additional money you can spend on drinks if you wish or any snacks/souvenirs. Also, if you want a hot shower, it will cost 10 BS. It’s actually really nice after you’ve been out all day and the showers are actually really nice.
The 3 day tour…
I know the highlight of the tour is the Salt Flats but the amount of places the tour takes you as well that, was amazing. We visited Laguna’s, Hot Springs, Geisers, Rock Desert, National Parks & Cactus Island just to name some. What we especially loved about this tour was how personal it felt. There was only 7 of us, including the tour guide and the driver. It was nice not having to wait around for people and kind of deciding between ourselves what we wanted to do. Our guide said we had no set time in each place, it was entirely up to us how long or how little we wanted to spend at each site.
This was probably one of our highlights. It was pretty cool that we got to cruise around Bolivia in a 4×4. It was a bit of a squeeze at times as we all had a couple of bags each and it was literally spending the three days travelling around in the jeep so we looked a bit lived in by the end of it. Bare in mind, you’ll be travelling around in the middle of nowhere across dry desert. The roads are very bumpy and dusty, not to forget very hot. Although it was very impressive that with no signs or no real marked route, the driver knew exactly where to go.
The Salt Flats
What we had all be waiting for!! An early 4:30am start but all so worth it so see the sunrise over the salt flats. It was only a short 20 minutes from the hostel so we soon got there and drove a good few minutes just watching the world light up. We then found a spot to stop and it was the perfect photo opportunity just as the sun was rising. We had never been to anything like this, it was a really incredible, surreal moment. The view seemed to go on for miles and for the first time on the trip, the cold didn’t bother us. We were far too distracted!
The obligatory illusion photos…
You can’t really visit the Salt Flats without getting the illusion photos. If you want to do it properly, i’d probably think of some idea’s before you get there and think about what you might want to do. It’s a lot harder than you think, getting the angle and sometimes timing right. It sort of works as someone or something, is really close to the camera and the other person or item is really far away.
Was the tour worth it?
Absolutely! Joe even said it was probably one of the best tours we have been on throughout our whole traveling trip. We are so glad that we booked with Keteka and would really recommend other people interested in this tour to book with them. The accommodation was good, the food was perfect, we couldn’t fault the guide and the places we visited were incredible. I really don’t think there is anything we would change!
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