salar de uyuni

Uyuni is the highest and the largest salt desert in the world. It is located southwest of Potosi at an average altitude of 4000m. The Salt fields of Uyuni and Coipasa are unique, with unusual fauna for this region, and such as pink and white flamingos, geese, ducks, coots, etc. Our tours (combination of 4 WD transport and daily hikes) will take us to one of the most impressive landscapes in South America.
The best months for visiting this amazing area are from April to December (winter) when the dryness of the weather allows traveling without dangers. In the rainy season (January to March), we can find muddy bays which can block the vehicles. The icy winds, the low temperatures (-10º C to -15º C) and the fact that drinking water does not exist in this area, make this beautiful place a dangerous one if you venture to cross it without an experienced guide.

Accommodations:

  • With accommodations in small simple lodges/hotels. These simple lodges/hotels offer twin bed rooms for two people with private facilities/shower (hot water is not always available).
  • With accommodations in the comfortable Tayka Hotels. These hotels offer ample comfortable rooms for two people. Rooms have private facilities and shower with hot water. These hotels also have ample, comfortable social areas with a restaurant.

In the morning, our transport and guide will be waiting for you at Hito Cajon, the bordering post between Chile and Bolivia. From here, we start our first day drive towards Laguna Colorada. Our first stop will be to admire the beautiful Licancahur volcano (5868m).

Next to the volcano, we find the Laguna Verde and the whole environment gives us a scenic landscape. Then we cross the Dali Valley, a desert covered by strange stone formations, continuing north to the place known as "Sol de Mañana" (Morning Sun) where at about 4800 metres lays a geyser basin with bubbling mud pots, hellish fumaroles, and a thick aroma of sulphur fumes. This is a site of intense volcanic activity where inside small craters we shall observe boiling lava, reminding us of the age in which the earth was formed. Our last drive will take us to Laguna Colorada, a lagoon lying at an altitude of 4350 metres, and which covers an area of 60 km2. The rich red colouration comes from algae and plankton, and the shoreline fringed with brilliant white deposits of sodium, magnesium, borax and gypsum. Numerous flamingos, three species of which breed there, inhabit the lagoon: The Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus Chilensis), the James flamingo (Phoenicopterus James) which is the smallest of the three species, and the Andean flamingo (Phoenicopterus Andinus), the largest of the three, and which has pink plumage, yell legs and a yellow and black bill. To see these pink posers strutting through icy mineral lagoons at 5000m will make you abandon timeworn associations between flamingos, coconut palms and hot steamy tropics. Accommodations in a small very simple lodge with twin bed rooms with private facilities. Lunch Box, Dinner.

Day 2: Laguna Colorada – Villa Candelaria (or San Pedro de Quemez)

This day we drive north to cross the Siloli Desert with its beautiful surroundings and rock formations. Here we will find the well-known "Arbol de Piedra" an estrange formation in the middle of the desert. Later on we will pass the Lagoons known as Ramadita, Honda, Cañapa and Hedionda, all of them surrounded by an impressive landscape of volcanoes and multicolor hills. In all these lagoons, we find flamingos and other interesting Andean birds, and with luck, perhaps we can observe the flight of the Condor, the king of the Andes. Continuing our drive we will arrive to a point from where we can observe the activity of the high Ollague Volcan (5865m), which and for a long time, was one of the main sulfur mining resources of Bolivia. Soon we cross the Chiguana Salar then continuing north we arrive to Pueblo Quemado, a historical remain from the old confrontations between Bolivia and Chile. In 1879, the Chilean army invaded the territories of Bolivia now known as the Municipality of San Pedro de Quemez. The old town was completely burned and so the survivors of this tragedy moved to another place where is actually known as San Pedro de Quemez. Overnight in Villa Candelaria in a small simple lodge with rooms (with private facilities –not always hot water is available) for two people. Breakfast, Lunch Box, Dinner.

Day 3: Villa Candelaria (San Pedro de Quemez) – Uyuni

After breakfast we depart from Villa Candelaria (or from San Pedro de Quemez) towards the place known as Galaxy cave, a dried sub aqueous cavern and formed in the previous stage to the freezing, corresponding to volcanic eruptions on waters of the Minchin lake (today Salar). From the ceiling of the cavern, it displays calcareous bodies with capricious forms of solidification of the magma in contact with water. Here we also find the Devil's Cave, a site containing some mummified bodies. Our drive then will cross the Salar heading North West to our next stop at the base of Isla Pescado (Fish Island), a hilly outpost where a large population of viscachas (Andean rodents) inhabits. Fish Island is an oasis with a unique and isolated ecosystem populated by cacti up to 10 metres. Then our drivers will take us to the base of another hilly outcrop known as Incahuasi Island located in the center of the Salar, and with rock formations containing remains of corals and seashells. The island is populated by trichocerus cacti, species of cactus that grows up to 7m tall, at a rate of 1 centimeter per year, making them up to 700 years old. From the top of the hill we get and extraordinary view of the surreal Salar de Uyuni. At the base of the hill, we will have lunch in a local restaurant run by the locals, and shortly after this, we continue our drive to the town of Uyuni. In our way we make our last stop at the small community of Colchani which lies beside the Salar de Uyuni and it is home of the Cooperative Rosario – the main plant for the iodisation of salt. After this last visit we continue to the town of Uyuni, our final destination, where you will be transferred to your hotel (hotel accommodations are not included). Breakfast, Lunch.

Note: From San Pedro de Atacama, and under request (and at extra cost) we can arrange for you a transfer to Hito Cajon with private or pool services.

Included: Accommodations in simple small lodges (or Tayka Hotels) with twin bed rooms with private facilities (2 pax per room), private transport (4X4 vehicles), private English/Spanish speaking guide, Noted meals (B= breakfast, L= lunch, D= dinner), all entrance fees.

Not included: extras, beverages, personal travel insurance.

Recommended months to travel: April until January.

AABS03.B

 
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