Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat in the world (over 4,000+ sq. miles!) and it is found in a remote section of Southwest Bolivia. How do you get there? Well it’s a 600 mile drive from Hito Cajon, the Chilean-Bolivian border, or a 10 hour bus ride from Bolivia’s capital, La Paz. It can be a bit complicated to get there – so this guide will tell you step-by-step how you can visit Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia and how much the tour will cost you from Chile.
From our experience, I strongly recommend the extensive 3 day desert trip crossing the Chilean-Bolivian border from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile! (instead of an 8h overnight bus from La Paz just for a 1 day visit)
Sounds easy enough, right?
Well… let me outline the logistics of the trip for you, so you don’t have to do the research yourself. You’ll need at least 4 days to make this trip happen!
Este articulo te da toda la información que necesitas para visitar el salar mas grande del mundo de Uyuni, Bolivia. Encontraras información de la ruta, el costo del viaje y todo lo que tienes que planear para llegar al salar desde Chile. Si quieres más información en español o necesitas ayuda para planear tu viaje – contáctame usando esta página. Soy bilingüe y te puedo ayudar a armar tus paquetes de viaje!
This is exactly what we did to visit the Uyuni Salt Flats from Chile!
1 – If you’re based in Chile’s capital, Santiago (like we have been), you take the metro and then bus to the Santiago airport (SCL).
2 – You then fly to the north of Chile to Calama (CJC), the closest city to San Pedro de Atacama, which is the closest town to the Chilean-Bolivian border.
3 – Upon arrival to Calama, you take a 1.5h transfer shuttle from Calama airport to San Pedro de Atacama.
4 – The tour to Uyuni will start in the morning, so you need to find accommodation in Uyuni. This is a small town in the middle of the desert – depending on the time of year make sure you take the appropriate clothing as the days can get very hot or the nights extremely cold.
Option A) Sleep in a hostel (this is the most common accommodation option for the small desert town). Anka hostal is a good option in a great location. On average $25/night.
Option B) La Casa del Pueblo Guesthouse, 3 star hotel near the main plaza. On average, $70/night.
5 – The next days you will be in high elevation areas (up to 13,000ft above sea level). If possible, stay in San Pedro for its surrounding tours to acclimate to the high altitude to avoid altitude sickness!
Possible tours in San Pedro surrounding areas include: Valley of the Moon, Red stones highland lakes, Tatio geysers and Cejar lagoon. Click to book your day tours!
6 – Arrange the tour company you want to use for the next 3 days! This is extremely important because you have to consider if they have: responsible drivers, reputable food offerings, decent accommodation choices, vehicles that can withstand the desert crossing, and a friendly guide whom you will trust with your life in the middle of nowhere for the next few days! If you need help with this, contact me directly to connect you with good tour companies.
7 – Ensure you have the proper paperwork. As of July 2019, US citizens need a visa to enter Bolivia. Visa requirements at the border include: two passport photos, bank statements, yellow fever vaccine certificate, photocopy of passport, paper application and $160 USD.
For help with the visa before entering – I can recommend iVisa online services that handle the process for you!
8 – Take cash with you – that’s both Chilean pesos for San Pedro de Atacama and Bolivian pesos for Uyuni. There won’t be any ATMs on the road and you will need $ for toilets, snacks, souvenirs, park entrances, etc.
9 – Disconnect from the world! You will not have cellphone service for a few days. Most hotels in the desert will not even offer wifi. Get ready to see the most breathtaking places and take memories of a lifetime with you! (And a million pictures too!)
So how much does it cost to visit Uyuni Salt Flats?
Here is the cost breakdown for you –
*I’d like to note, the number of remote and unique places you visit are by far worth every penny. Pictures speak greater than words, so let me show you a few of the places you will visit if you take the trip to Uyuni, Bolivia from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile!
And of course… the classic Uyuni pictures!!!
Day #3 of our tour!
Isn’t it incredible!?
The step-by-step guide is similar to the kind of info I provide when I plan your vacations as your travel guru! I work with you to map out your itinerary and trip logistics until we have all the transport/activities/accommodation reservations ready to go.
If you have any questions on traveling to Uyuni or to any of these other amazing places in the world (see my country list!) – just send me a message through my blog or email. I’d love to hear from you and give you any advice/tips to help you out!
Written after our first ski trip in Chile!
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