When booking your tour to Uyuni whether from Bolivia or Chile make sure you do some research on the company first. There are lots of incidents involving drunk drivers and car accidents where tourist have died. Not to shock horror but safety first. I decided to go with an agency called Lithium who had good reviews on TripAdvisor. For tours in South America in general there is a site called FindLocalTrips and they recommend a few companies although Lithium wasn’t one of them. I started my tour in San Pedro de Atacama and wanted to end there too however there is an option to leave the tour once your arrive in Uyuni on the 3rd day. The trip cost me 150,000 Chilean Pesos which is around £170. All meals were included in the price but we did have to pay extra for two park entries and the hot springs which were optional. These all need to be paid in Bolivian pesos and to save yourself any hassle get these changed up in San Pedro.
Day 1 – picked up around 7am and taken to the Chilean border. When you first enter Chile you are given a white piece of paper at immigration do not lose it as you need it to exit. Once we were through we headed to the Bolivian border. Before heading to immigration we were served breakfast which consisted of cake, hot chocolate, cheese, avocado, juice, tea, coffee, bread and cookies. It immediately beat breakfast on my tours in Peru! From there we drove to our first stop Laguna Blanco and Laguna Verde. After that we worked our way to Desierto de Dali, Aguas Termales, Geiser Sol de Mañana and then Laguna Colorado. The last laguna had various colours which really seemed unreal but to make it even better there were flamingos which I had never seen in the wild before.
Day 2 – Copa del Mundo, Carmelllo de Reco, Cara Laguna, Laguna Catal and Pueblo Fantasma Julaca. We saw amazing rock formations, some that looks like camels others like an anaconda. In Cara Laguna there were more flamingos and alpacas. The last stop felt like a desolate village, almost out of a thriller movie. They served different types of cerveca and the most famous being cactus, coca and quinoa beer. We ended in a hotel made from salt near the salt lake itself. We asked our driver if we could take us to watch the sunset near by but didn’t expect him to take us onto the flats that night. It was so beautiful and had lots of fun making yoga shapes in the endless white floor.
Day 3 – Up and out at 5:30am and to the Salt Flats. We watched the sunrise and then headed to the National Park. It costs 30 Bolivian pesos to once you arrive you can walk up this huge island which is covered in cacti. When we came back down breakfast was served. After breakfast we headed back out into the salt flats to play around with what looks like a a never ending ocean of white. If you have come across pictures of people with figures and other objects on the salt flats the perspective of objects changes which makes taking cool photos and videos very fun. After the millions of photos we headed to a salt hotel within the flats and the Dakar/Bolivia stone sign. After ghat we headed into the nearest village to go to the artisan markets which in honesty were no different to any others I had come across. Lunch was next and the Uyuni where we went to an old train cemetery. The highlight for me was a man with a small stall with lots of maps where I picked up a lovely old map of South America for a fiver.
Day 4 – After staying in the same very cold hostel from the first night we were up and out by 5am. We drove to the Bolivian border with a couple of stops including breakfast. It took roughly 3-4 hours in total. They said we might get back as late as 1pm as you never know what the Chilean border crossing may be like. It was very simple and got through quickly so we were back in San Pedro by 11am. The 4th day really is just getting back to San Pedro so you don’t stop to see anything just drive through the endless desert and mountain landscapes.