by Jonny Blair
On a South American adventure doing the Salar de Uyuni tour is an undoubted highlight! This involves a 3 day jeep tour round the wilderness salt plains in Bolivia. It’s near the Chile border and the landscape is just sensational – wildlife, salt plains, deserts and mountains – one to make sure you get it on your list! Here’s some tips including how to prepare for it.
First of all, here’s an easy tip – DON’T BOOK ANYTHING IN ADVANCE!! Yes, there is absolutely no need to book this tour online or by any other means before you arrive in Bolivia. Get yourself to Uyuni, Potosi or La Paz and get things booked from there.
I did the Salar de Uyuni tour from the town of Uyuni, so this is my experience of it. I met other travellers who booked their trip in Chile, but I didn’t so here’s my guide on how to book the Salar de Uyuni tour!!
How to book the Salar de Uyuni 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.
- Don’t be fussy with your dates – go when it suits the company – you can book it one day to start the next day or even on the morning of a tour.
- Check the price includes pick up from your hostel (in Uyuni) and all food for the 3 days.
- Ask them where the tour starts and ends so you can think about your next journey after the tour.
- Check if there are any extra costs, such as tips, entrance fees for national parks etc. You’ll probably have to pay extra to visit Laguna Colorada.
- Ask them for a receipt for the tour – you normally pay at the start.
How to prepare for the Salar de Uyuni tour:
- If you plan to head directly to Chile then check the passport situation before hand – you’ll find you probably have to get your passport stamped in Uyuni before the tour – don’t forget.
- 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 some beer or wine with you – a great way to interact with your travel mates at night and no alcohol is provided on the tour.
- Sun cream and insect repellent are musts – don’t forget 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.
- A good tip is leaving your bags in a hostel in Uyuni beforehand (assuming you’re heading back there)
- Don’t forget your passport!! You might not actually need it but if you get to the border at least it gives you the option of popping across into Chile!
- Get your cameras, iPods etc. batteries all charged beforehand as the places you stay may not have sockets or electricity.
Well that sums it up for you – the salar de Uyuni is quite simply a brilliant tour and one that will linger with you forever in the memory. You will love it. Get out there and see it – the incredible salt plains of south western Bolivia.
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