Travel from La Paz to the spectacular Salar de Uyuni

Experience the surreal beauty and overwhelmingly vast expanse of Salar de Uyuni on this journey to one of South America’s most striking natural landscapes. This is a place where things are put in perspective; where the enormity of the scene highlights the fragility of everything else, where harsh is beautiful, time is obscured and reality seems more like a dream.


Start
La Paz, Bolivia
Finish
La Paz, Bolivia
Country
Bolivia
Style
Original
Theme
Short Breaks
Code
GGAU
Physical rating
Ages
Min 5
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt lake. Cross the perspective-bending white expanse in a 4WD with a local guide, making several fascinating stops along the way

  • Uyuni was once a distribution centre for trains carrying minerals to the Pacific. Walk among rusty, abandoned trains in the old Train Cemetery

  • Look upon ancient mummies in the Coquesa Caves at the foot of a volcano

  • As you explore the rocky island of Isla Wasi, rising from the salt pans and covered with flowering cacti, you might feel like you've stepped inside a surrealist painting

Is this trip right for you?

  • This Short Break Adventure is a ‘join in’ group departure, which means you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader – our local representative fills this role – and the configuration of any fellow travellers in the group might change during the trip.

  • This trip will run with a minimum of one person, so you may be joined by other travellers booked on the same date as you, or you may be on your own.

  • This trip travels to some remote places, as well as locations at high altitude (La Paz is the highest city in the world!). Due to the thinness of the air, some people can suffer from altitude sickness. Some aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t push yourself too hard. If possible, arrive into La Paz a few days early to allow yourself time to acclimatise. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information about altitude sickness.

  • You'll be spending a lot of time in a 4WD crossing some bumpy surfaces. This is the best way to see the sights in and around Uyuni and is all part of the adventure.

  • In Bolivia (especially in Uyuni), sometimes things don't go to plan. For example, an attraction may be closed for the day with no notice or reason. Although this doesn't happen very often, please be prepared for the possibility.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Kamisaki! Welcome to Bolivia. Today is arrival day so there are no activities planned until an important welcome meeting at 6 pm in the hotel with our local representative. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • Osira Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today take a flight from La Paz to Uyuni. The flight time will be advised at your evening meeting on Day 1. The remote town of Uyuni sits on the edge of the high altiplano, which extends towards the border with Argentina and Chile. The town was once a distribution hub for trains carrying minerals on their way to Pacific Ocean ports. In the 1940s the mining industry collapsed and many trains were abandoned. Depending on when you arrive into Uyuni, you'll visit a Train Cemetery either today or tomorrow.

Uyuni's salt flats are a 12,000-square-kilometre expanse of perfectly flat salt. Spend a full day exploring the lake by 4WD. Make sure you snap some classic perspective-bending photographs with your group. Discover the cacti and coral-like structures on the rocky island of Isla inca wasi and visit the small town of Colchani, where you'll see how the locals farm and process salt from the Salar. Head to the tiny village of Jiria at the foot of the Tunupa Volcano. Here you'll visit the Coquesa Caves, which are home to ancient ceramics and a mysterious family of mummies who have remained untouched for over 1,200 years. At the end of the day, drive to your accommodation on the salt plains.

Note: If you are travelling between December and April (the wet season), please see the 'Important Notes' section of the trip notes.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Full-day 4x4 tour of Salar de Uyuni including a visit to Isla Inca Wasi
  • Salt Flats Excursion
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Accommodation:
Our accommodation tonight is very basic. Toilet facilities are basic, showers can be cold and the multi-share accommodation is dormitory-style.
This morning after watching the sunrise we’ll make our way to the Galaxy caves. Stalactites and stalagmites form floor-to-ceiling columns in this bizarre natural formation.
We drive a couple of hours to the tiny village of Jiria at the foot of the Tunupa Volcano. Here you'll visit the Coquesa Caves, which are home to ancient ceramics and a mysterious family of mummies who have remained untouched for over 1,200 years. Here there is an optional hike up part of the volcano, the hike can take anywhere between 1 –2 hours depending on your pace and desire. The hike starts at an altitude of 4000 metres above sea level so take it slow and enjoy the rewarding views!
Soon after we’ll drive back to Uyuni town. From here, take a flight back to La Paz airport, where this trip comes to an end.
Important: If your flight is on time, you are expected to land in La Paz airport at about 21.00 (9pm). If you need additional accommodation in La Paz and/or a transfer into the city, we would be happy to assist. Please speak with your booking agent.
If you are booking a departure flight from La Paz for today please ensure it's no earlier than 23.30 (11.30pm)

Note: During the wet season, the salt flats may be flooded. Some areas may be inaccessible; in this case we will modify the itinerary as necessary to include as many highlights as possible.

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Included Activities
  • Visit to Galaxy Cave
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Transport

4x4, Plane

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nights)

Included Activities

  • Full-day 4x4 tour of Salar de Uyuni including a visit to Isla Inca Wasi
  • Salt Flats Excursion
  • Visit to Galaxy Cave

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SHORT BREAK ADVENTURE:
This Short Break Adventure is a ‘join in’ group departure, which means you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader – our local representative fills this role – and the configuration of any fellow travellers in the group might change during the trip.
This trip will run with a minimum of one person, so you may be joined by other travellers booked on the same date as you, or you may be on your own.

TRIP END POINT:
Important: This trip ends at the airport upon arrival from Uyuni on day 3.
If you are booking a departure flight from La Paz for this day please ensure it's no earlier than 9pm. Alternatively please check with us within 30 days from departure and we can advise you what time your flight from Uyuni is due to arrive in La Paz.

WET SEASON ITINERARY ALTERNATION
From December to March during the wet season it’s likely we will not be able to cross the Salt Lake due to flooding, therefore your itinerary will be altered slightly and alternative activities will be scheduled.
During this time there are countless photo opportunities. The water covering the slat lakes creates a mirror effect.The mirroring effect of the water results in the striking illusion of there being two skies, two sunsets and two sunrises.
You will still have a full day on the salt lake and it will be mainly spent driving around searching for best photos.
The night usually spent in the Salt Lake hotel will instead be spent in the hotel in Uyuni town.

BOLIVIAN VISA FOR U.S CITIZENS
Nationals from the United States need a visa to enter Bolivia and you we highly recommend you obtain this visa in advance from your nearest Bolivian consulate or Embassy. Not obtaining the visa in advance is likely to cause long delays at the border.
Please see the visa information on these trip notes for more information.

Essential Trip Information

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