***Video clip at the end of the post***
Salar de Uyuni (which is Spanish for Salt Flat Uyuni) is by far the world’s largest salt flat, measuring in at a mind-boggling 10,582 square kilometers or 4,086 square miles. Formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes, the area is now covered by a few meters of salt crust, which has an extraordinary flatness with the average altitude variations within one meter over its entire area.
This crust serves as a source of salt and overs a pool of brine, which is extremely rich in lithium. In fact, this area contains 50 – 70% of the world’s lithium reserves, which is currently being extracted.
Located just outside of the small town of Uyuni, the Bolivian Salt Flats was somewhere that we both were SUPER excited about visiting. The sheer vastness of the area and photo opportunities made this place quite high on our “To See” list.
Many people had warned us of tour companies in Uyuni that scam tourists by giving them false tour details, overcharging them and not following through on all that they promised. Having looked on the Internet and asked around for recommendations, two companies were repeated over and over again – Red Planet Tours in Uyuni and Brisa Tours.
Each of these companies had very good reviews on Tripadvisor which was a good enough of a reason to choose one of these two companies.
We decided to go with the latter – no particular reason why; we just found this office first before the Red Planet one.
Many people do a 3-day/2-night tour but not us!
We were quite happy to just do the one day Salt Flat tour, as we had quite a lot of work to catch up with online and being offline for that period of time would only cause things to build up on us even more.
Anyway, we were happy as long as we got to see the salt flats, get some cool photos and experience the vastness of it.
We planned to do the tour on a Friday and booked our ticket the day before. The lady who we spoke to in Brisas office was very informative and helpful and she spoke perfect English too (which is always a great thing for us “basic Spanish” travellers).
She told us that they had availability for the one-day tour, which was great considering we were only booking it the day before.
The planned itinerary included a stop at the Train Graveyard, a local market, the Salt Hotel which is now a museum, lunch on the Salt Flats, a stop at Fish Island and we would finish the day off by taking in the sunset on an area of the salt flats that has water on the surface (which is where all them amazing reflection pictures are taken).
It all sounded good to us as the itinerary had all the stops that we had hoped to make. What was even better than the itinerary was the price of the tour, which was 180 Bolivianos or $26 each – what a bargain!
We had heard that the tours were quite expensive and were a little apprehensive as to why this tour was priced so cheap, but we booked it anyway in the hope that it would meet our expectations.
It didn’t meet our expectations – it exceeded them.
Our one-day tour to the Salt Flats with Brisa Tours was one of the best days we have had on our South American trip to date.
Our guide, Johnny, was helpful, friendly and did a great job of taking our perspective pics at the Salt Flats – all credits go to him for the photos you see on this page. Lunch was quite tasty and consisted of pasta, chicken, veg and potatoes. It was an experience in itself to be sitting in the middle of this vast landscape enjoying some of my favourite foods.
The tour started at 10:30 am and we were back in Uyuni at 7:15 pm with a memory card full of awesome pics and a smile on our faces.
Note: If the water reflection is something that you want to see, there are only two companies that make this stop – Brisa Tours and one other (not sure of the name).