Bolivia: 3 days in the Salar d’Uyuni

Bolivia: 3 days in the Salar d’Uyuni

If we say Bolivia, I’m sure that, like us, you’re thinking of perspective photos of the Salar d’Uyuni, the colorful lagoons of the south of the country and the desert-like Andean landscapes perched high in the mountains. Maybe even flamingos and llamas by the roadside! Well, yes, there’s a lot of that!


Departing from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile over 3 days or Uyuni over 4 days, here’s what’s in store for you with almost all agencies because the program is identical!

photo credit map_bolivia


The San Pedro d’Atacama agencies almost all subcontract the service, and in the end, they all do exactly the same thing! You will be placed in a 4×4 with 5 other people (unless you are a group of 5 or 6) and a driver-guide. We therefore chose to put our trust in the agency with whom we had done several excursions in Chile, Atacama Connexion, for their reliability and professionalism. The team is ready for new adventures!



We set off for the Bolivian border, 1 hour from San Pedro, where we meet our driver-guide. After breakfast at the foot of the 4×4 and a 5-minute drive, we arrive at the first lagoon, the Laguna Blanca. It’s a pure marvel! I have to say that I was speechless in front of this virgin, white and immense nature!



Then comes the green lagoon, an immense green lagoon lost in the middle of nowhere, then an hour’s drive through the desert, passing through superb arid, mountainous and colourful landscapes, before arriving shortly before noon at the site of the Polques for a dip in nearly 40-degree water against a backdrop of lagoons. A well-deserved break! You will have to pay a small supplement to access the hot springs, as this is not included in your package. (about 6 bolivianos per person or 1 euro)



The route then joins the Sol de Mañana geysers. Walking around the various natural craters, you can see what nature can do in an active volcanic region.

A pool of boiling mud with unexpected colors, sometimes bluish-gray, sometimes creamy, with yellow-orange patches around the edges, linked in particular to the sulfur and giant fumaroles gushing from the bowels of the earth…

One of the highlights for us of this day, more than worth Rotorua in New Zealand, because here you’re in a totally untouched space and you feel privileged to be there.



We finally reach the Laguna Colorada, our accommodation and long-awaited lunch. As an after-dinner walk, you can stroll around the lagoon and see your first flamingos, who spend 16 hours a day fishing for shrimp. That’s what it takes to make them pink! The landscape is even more sublime at sunset! Here you’re alone in the world, and that’s just great! We spent our first night in a refuge at an altitude of 4,315 metres and took a walk to admire the sunset with its pink flamingos.



After a cool night, we set off again around 7:00 am for our second day, which will be less interesting as it involves a lot of driving. A stop at the stone tree to take a few photos, then another at the lagoon Hedionda, mid-morning, where the flamingo viewing is truly incredible. We don’t know why, but here you can approach them to within 5 meters without them getting spooked. Magnificent for the photos and for the eyes!



In the late afternoon, you’ll spend the night in an abandoned village, close to the salt hotel in the village of San Juan at an altitude of 3,068 metres, which will give you a glimpse of life in the desert a few years ago when there was mineral exploitation. Now a ghost town, lovers of photography in abandoned places will appreciate this.




After a more comfortable night in the luxury salt hotel, with hot shower, neat decor and more elaborate meal, we rise at the crack of dawn, at 4am, for a 4:30am departure in the direction of the famous Uyuni Salar and l’Isla from Incahuasi.



Unfortunately, as our driver was in no hurry, we didn’t leave until 5.10am, well after everyone else and especially after he had finished loading the gas bottles, plastic tarpaulins and food…. and finally our luggage! And so we watch the colors of the sunrise slowly evolve not on the isla Incahuasi, but from the car. Quite annoyed, and after paying an entrance fee of 30 bolivianos, we climb the island’s hill with difficulty and quickly, thinking 10-15 minutes, causing us to cough from the rapid exertion at altitude. We’ve finally reached the top…. just after the sun has broken through! A very bad experience and a huge disappointment despite the sumptuous scenery on an island filled with giant cacti, giving the place a real charm.



Back at the bottom of the hill and after asking our driver for explanations, which he obviously didn’t have, we had breakfast on the edge of the Salar and began to really enjoy the moment.

Today’s lesson: make sure you keep an eye on your guide, and that you’re on his back when it’s time to leave, to avoid such a mishap!

This is followed by 1 to 2 hours in the Salar where you’ll have plenty of time to strike some great poses for some hot perspective shots that could end up as a facebook profile pic to taunt your friends. You can also do your shopping just outside the Salar where an artisanal market awaits you before finishing the tour at the Uyuni train cemetery.



Having just returned from a 3-day trip from southern Bolivia to discover the white, green and colorful lagoons and the famous Salar d’Uyuni, a stay in comfort was essential. That’s why we tested the Hotel de Sel Luna salada in Bolivia. Having just returned from a 3-day trip from southern Bolivia to discover the white, green and colorful lagoons and the famous Salar d’Uyuni, a stay in comfort was essential. A unique hotel built 95% from salt lost in the desert just a 40-minute walk from Uyuni Salar.

The peace and quiet of this hotel is soothing, and the many small relaxation areas facing the desert will allow you to make yourself comfortable by one of the many wood-burning stoves installed in these spaces. Once you’ve arrived in your room, you’ll find yourself once again in an all-salt setting. Bed base, floor, wall…all in salt and comfort, with a spacious bathroom and meticulous Andean decoration. The copious breakfast buffet is included in the price and is served in the dining room facing the desert. Lunch is à la carte only, and dinner is a hearty buffet for $20/pers.

A fascinating, intriguing hotel with a warm, atypical atmosphere. Several areas have been set aside for your relaxation: whether you’re by the fireplace, in the huge living room, or in the small cocooning squares, you’ll be able to take advantage of every room and get away from it all. Even the decoration is elaborate, either made with desert salt or using local animal figures carved in wood.

On the terrace, after riding through the Salar d’Uyuni, you’ll enjoy sunbathing on the terrace overlooking a breathtaking view!

On the service side, the Luna Salada has a spa with Jacuzzi (free) and offers massages (classic, hot stone, Andean and reflexology), as well as tours of the Salar and a volcano for US$130/person/day.

Spending a night at the Luna Salada will be a real experience, so don’t hesitate to venture in at the end of your stay.




  • Southern Bolivia has a lot to offer, but don’t be fooled by agencies selling you a bill of goods just to make you more money!
  • Then make sure you and your guide respect the timetable to avoid unpleasant surprises.
  • Before you leave, buy some small cakes to tide you over until lunchtime, as you’ll be having lunch in the middle of the afternoon and hunger may strike.
  • You don’t necessarily need to bring your own comforters for the 3 days, as warm, heavy blankets are provided. Make sure you bring the necessary equipment, as it can often be cold at altitude. We recommend merino clothing (t-shirts and tights) for warmth.
  • You’ll need to buy plenty of water and toilet paper for your 3 days…
  • Average cost of a 3-day/2-night stay between 120€ and 150€ from Chile (cheaper). The difference in price is mainly due to your first night: either you sleep like us in a refuge, with no water for a shower, or you opt for a more elaborate refuge where a nice hot shower awaits you… It’s up to you!
  • Recommended agencies in Bolivia: gisseltours
  • We also advise you to go from Tupiza towards Uyuni as there are far fewer people in this direction and the landscape is apparently becoming more and more beautiful. The agency ” the salt flats” in Tupiza or “La Torre Tour” look very professional. Consider staying 2 days in Tupiza for a two-day horseback ride in the canyons: few people as people often don’t come to Tupiza.
  • The luxury hotel boasts 3 ranges of rooms (all with breakfast included):- The Standard: $145 with desert view or $135 without- The Deluxe: $185 for a larger room with a large window overlooking the desert and a floor half parquet, half salt (the room we had)
  • The suite: $253 for a suite with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and a living room




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