4 day tour from Tupiza to Salar de Uyuni

After a total of 5 weeks in Argentina (with a 2 week break in Chile), it was time for a new country: Bolivia! Having heard a lot about it from friends, I was super excited to finally be crossing that border. From Salta we took a bus to La Quiaca, where we had the smoothest border crossing so far. It took a grand total of 5 minutes! Bolivia was off to a great start.

We took a micro to Tupiza where we spent 2 days, before hopping on a tour. We were expected to be downstairs with our luggage early in the morning to leave for 4 days of nature, llamas, flamingos, and some more nature. And, of course, one of Bolivia’s biggest highlights, the Salar the Uyuni. You can imagine we were QUITE excited to get going, so let’s get in to it!

This is going to be more of a photo report than a blog. I can try and describe what we’ve seen, but as they say, ‘a picture says more than a thousand words’…

The route

The tour starts in the town of Tupiza, only a few hours from the border with Argentina. From Tupiza you start driving in the direction of Sud Lipez, one of the provinces in PotosĂ­ that borders both Chile and Argentina. At some point you’ll arrive at Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa, a national park with incredible views, lagoons, mountains, volcanoes, many different kinds of animals, and more. We even spent a night in this park, allowing for stargazing as there is basically no light pollution. On the 3rd day we started making our way north again, in the direction of Salar de Uyuni.

This map shows the approximate route we’ve driven, but it doesn’t show all the stops we’ve made, simply because I can’t find them on Google Maps.

Day 1:

Our day started early, at 7 o’clock we were at breakfast so we would be ready to leave at 7:30. We were going to be picked up right in front of the hostel, so that was super convenient. When we went down to the entrance of our hostel, it looked like everyone that had been at breakfast with us would be going on the tour as well.

There would be 5 of us in the car, plus our guide, meaning we all had quite some space. Driver and one of us was in the front, 2 in the middle (me and Luis), and 2 in the back. They also do tours with 6 people, plus the driver, but than you’d have one seat with 3 people, making it a bit more cramped. So, we were quite happy we were with 5 🙂

As soon as our big backpacks were stashed on the roof of the 4×4, off we went!

Tupiza to Salar de Uyuni tour
The very first panorama of the trip
First (baby!) llamas were spotted!
Lunch in the town of San Pablo
The scenery started to get more wild…
Discovered an abandoned mining town
That had many of these ‘chinchilla’ type animals!
Tupiza to Salar de Uyuni tour
The final stop at the day at Laguna Morejon

Day 2:

Tupiza to Salar de Uyuni tour
First stop of the 2nd day was at a llama farm. All llamas in Bolivia are domesticated.
Flamingos at Laguna Hedionda. We also saw them at Laguna Kollpa.
Tupiza to Salar de Uyuni tour
DalĂ­ desert
Laguna Verde with Licancabur Volcano (on the right), the water had such an incredible color!
Hot springs with a view!
Tupiza to Salar de Uyuni tour
And, last but not least on our 2nd day, Laguna Colorada. So many flamingos!

To our surprise, we didn’t have to drive far to our next accommodation… it was at the Laguna Colorada! While our guides were preparing for dinner, we walked to the mirador that was right in front of the hostel, just in time to catch the sunset.

And… as we were in a GREAT spot for stargazing (no light pollution, no clouds, and a great location!), I got dressed for winter and headed out to shoot the milky way! Single exposure of course, so no, it doesn’t look like all these crazy milky way pictures you have seen before :P.

The Milky Way over Laguna Colorada

Day 3:

Laguna Colorada in the morning, before leaving for the day
Tupiza to Salar de Uyuni tour
The stone tree in the desert
First lagoon of the day
Tupiza to Salar de Uyuni tour
Another lagoon with flamingos. It would almost get boring. Almost.
This region was filled with lagoons! This one had some vicuñas instead of flamingos, though 🙂
Tupiza to Salar de Uyuni tour
None of us had noticed it, but apparently something felt off for Hector (our driver) on the car while driving. Something incredibly small (like, really small) had come off and needed to be replaced. He popped on some overalls, rolled under the car, and we continued within minutes of having stopped. Turns out our Hector is also a mechanic! Boy, did that come in handy :D…
These train tracks are not exactly abandoned, but there are so little trains, we could have a little fun.
Tupiza to Salar de Uyuni tour
BUT THEN, it was finally time for Salar de Uyuni!
Where we saw the most incredible sunset!

Day 4:

Tupiza to Salar de Uyuni tour
The next morning our alarms went at 4 o’clock in the morning so we could see the sunrise. Early, but so worth it!
The salt has crazy patterns!
Tupiza to Salar de Uyuni tour

Voy Tours

So, now about the tour company we decided to go with. Before we had even arrived in Bolivia, I’d received a WhatsApp message from Voy Tours informing us about their tour through Sud Lipez, ending in Salar de Uyuni. The price seemed good, just as their reviews, but I always prefer to compare several companies before making a final decision. But, after doing just that, Voy came out (for us) as the best option. And believe me when I say we couldn’t have felt better about our decision!

What’s included

The Salar de Uyuni tour from Tupiza includes:

  • All meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner (except breakfast on the first morning, but you can have this in your ho(s)tel)
  • Snacks and fruits
  • Water
  • Basic accommodations (dorm rooms)
  • The driver/guide (Spanish speaking)

What’s not included

  • Entrance fees to the national parks, hot springs, toilets and hot shower* (total of approximately 220 Bolivianos p.p.)
  • Sleeping bag (only needed in colder seasons)

*Depending on where you sleep, there might not be any showers at all! We ended up only having a shower in our last accommodation, which cost 10 Bolivianos.

And this was only the start of our time in Bolivia!

Traveller 'in heart and kidneys' (as we would say in Dutch), currently on the road with no end in sight. Started in Brazil, making our way through South and Central America.

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