Thursday, March 28, 2013

How to Organise Salar de Uyuni Tour

By Jonny Blair

On a mega trip to South America make sure you don't miss the Salar de Uyuni, this is an amazing tour. You get in a jeep and do the entire sight seeing round salt flats, deserts, mountains, valleys. It's a feast for the eye of a traveller, here are my tips on preparing for it.

First tip is don't be booking anything in advance - there is no need to do that - head to Uyuni and book it there. Or simply book it in Potosi or La Paz. Certainly don't be booking anything online or before your arrival into Bolivia.

You can start the Salar de Uyuni tour in either Bolivia or Chile, but this report focuses on doing it from the Bolivia side, here's a guide on booking the excellent tour!

How to book the Salt Plains tour:

- Ask at the hotel or hostel for help booking a 3 day tour. They normally can help you and the 3 day tour is the best option.

- Once they give you a price, head out and ask around to get the cheapest price - dont pay more than 100 dollars - you can easily get a decent tour for 3 days for $80.

- Allow for flexibility with dates you go - don't be strict with it - sometimes you can ask at 9am that morning and end up on the tour that same day.

- Double check the price includes a hostel pick up and your 3 days of food.

- Ask them where the tour starts and ends so you can think about your next journey after the tour.

- Ask them what other costs you will incur - this could be tips, national park entries etc. Visiting Laguna Colorada has an entrance charge.

- Make sure they give you a receipt for the tour - you usually pay the full amount at the start.

Preparing for the salt plains tour:

- Check the passport situation as if you head for Chile you will probably have to get your Bolivian exit stamp before the tour starts in Uyuni.

- Bring a load of water - it's a desert and it gets hot. Other drinks are provided but water is not. 4 litres should be plenty for you.

- Bring a couple of beers as there is no alcohol on the tour - this is also a great way to get to meet your travel buddies at night.

- Bring sun screen and insect spray. You'll need them.

- Phone, internet, e-mail etc. is not available on the tour. It's probably a good idea to let your friends and family know this at the start.

- Try and leave your bags at a hostel before starting the tour (as long as you're heading back to Uyuni)

- Bring your passport just in case you decide to spontaneously head across the border to Chile.

- Make sure all of your batteries on cameras, iPods etc. are all charged beforehand - not all the accomodation will have sockets.

There you go! That is a full guide to get you started to get onto the amazing salt plains tour known as the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. There are loads of companies to book with and the tour is a highlight of most people's travels in South America. A fantastic trip to do!

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