The world’s largest salt flat isn’t playing around. Covering 4,086 square miles and with 11,995 feet above sea level, this landscape attracts worldly visitors who dare to make the trek for the mirrored images one can receive. Full disclaimer: Traveling to Bolivia is a bold move. You’ll most likely fly into the capital of La Paz, the world’s highest capital city, so make sure to have that Tylenol Extra Strength readily available and in plentiful supply. Headaches will plague you and shortness of breath won’t be far away either. Am I selling it yet?
If you can survive the elements of La Paz, you’re in for a real treat. Make the most of your time there and try your hand at biking Death Road, only for the adventurers at heart. It will take an entire day from 7am to 9pm, so make sure to set aside two nights in La Paz if you decide to brave the World’s Most Dangerous Road. Check out the Stannum Boutique Hotel to rest your limbs after the rough day. From La Paz, you can arrive in Uyuni one of two ways – via plane or bus. If you have an extra $400 to spare, I’d suggest skipping the 12-hour bus ride with 50 of your potential new Bolivian BFFs and fly. My boyfriend and I, however, took the overnight bus for a cool $48. The 12-hour bus ride turned into a 14-hour bus ride, and on mostly unpaved, bumpy roads, it felt like a 16-hour bus ride. Oh well.
Heaven is worth the wait.
Once in Uyuni, you’ll need to choose a tour operator. If you do your research like a good little traveler, I’m sure you will notice the not-so-stellar reviews from any operator within the salt flats. All is not lost. In the end, Wade and I went with Red Planet who not only had the best reviews on average, but I knew friends who used them on previous occasions and didn’t have any problems (one of the most prevalent problems being drunk tour guides trying to operate/drive the 4×4 through the region. No thanks!).
Tip: During rainy season (January – April), a few inches of water lie on the ground, creating unbelievable reflection photos. Call it the world’s biggest mirror, call it heaven, call it beyond dreamy. Whatever it is, it’s pure magic.
Most clients of Red Planet choose their three day/two night tour. You’ll see not only the salt flats but much more of the Bolivian countryside, including:
Stars Out Of This World
Salt Flat Yoga
Note: Luxury and Bolivia aren’t exactly well acquainted yet, so don’t visit expecting white tablecloths and polished silverware. You’ll search all the way to Chile for these luxury items! Speaking of Chile, once you’ve driven through the Bolivian attractions, I’d highly suggest ending your tour in San Pedro de Atacama. Here is where the world’s driest place on earth boasts out-of-this-world landscapes (seriously, the place looks like Mars) and gorgeous hot springs for some relaxation station. Check out Tierra Atacama, sister property of my recent stay at Tierra Patagonia. Beware: If Bolivia didn’t draw you in, Chile will have you falling head over heels.