Salar De Uyuni: 1-Day vs 3-Day Tour Comparison
*the sights you visit and the order you see them in depends on which tour company you book with. The sights in the table are based on our tour with Salty Desert Aventours
UYUNI SALT FLATS 1-DAY TOUR
What To Expect
The 1-day tour is perfect for backpackers who are short on time but still want to see this incredible natural wonder.
The morning is simple as you drive just outside of town to see the Train Cemetery. After half an hour exploring and taking photos, you move on to the Salt Museum and have lunch. The museum isn’t anything spectacular and just seems like a place to stop to get you to buy souvenirs.
After lunch, you will head out onto the actual salt flat for the famous perspective shots and reflection shots (if there’s been recent rainfall). You’ll spend a couple of hours driving around, finding good spots for photos and generally enjoying this beautiful place.
In the afternoon you will travel to Incawasi Island. Incawasi is a rocky outcrop in the middle of the salt flat where you can watch furry little rodents called visacas running around, and climb to the top to get an incredible view of across the salt desert.
Then to end, you will drive close to Tunupa Volcano to watch the sunset before returning to Uyuni.
Check out our packing list guide so you are fully prepared:
Why Choose The 1-Day Uyuni Salt Flats Tour?
As mentioned, it’s the better option for travellers short on time, especially if you need to get back to La Paz. Returning to Uyuni from the salt flat doesn’t take long, and you will be back by 19.00PM. This means you can take an overnight bus back to La Paz or a flight in the morning.
It’s also much cheaper than the 3-day tour and will work better with some backpacker budgets. You could probably find some tours as cheap as $20 if you are savvy and shop around.
Check out our Bolivia budget to help you plan and see if you can fit in a 3-day tour:
UYUNI SALT FLATS 3-DAY TOUR
What To Expect
The 3-day tour is perfect for backpackers who want to get out into the wilderness and see Bolivia’s unique and incredible scenery.
The first day will be similar to the one-day tour, ending with dinner and a stay in the salt hotel. In the middle of this seemingly infinite salty expanse is a hotel built entirely out of salt.
Created from salt bricks held together with salt mortar, the hotel and everything inside it is made from salt. Whilst it sounds cool, the hotel isn’t anything special, but the private room we had was excellent and the beds were super comfy – we crashed pretty early as it’s a long and tiring first day.
On the second day, it’s an early start driving across the high-altitude desert past the salt flat. You will spend a lot of time in the jeep, but you stop often, so it never feels like a chore.
The first few stops of the day are the incredible high-altitude lakes filled with flamingos that are all over the region. The best one is Laguna Colorada which is a deep red colour due to a specific type of red algae that lives there.
After this photo stop, you’ll have lunch before continuing. In the afternoon it’s on to the geothermal area of the desert where you will see the Sol de Mañana Geyser (Morning Sun Geyser).
The steam pools and boiling mud can reach between 200ºC to 250°C. The hot steam of the geyser can reach heights of between 10 to 50 meters, depending on the pressure.
Then to end an already incredible day, once you reach your hotel, you and your tour group can all jump in the thermal springs and watch the stars. This was our favourite part of the trip. The night sky was so clear, and we could see the entire Milky Way.
This is one of the six reasons we give for why the 3 Day Salt Flats Tour is well worth your time. Head to the link below to read the other five:
It’s another early start on the final day. First up is a visit to the Dali Desert – a surreal, and barren part of the high-altitude desert that is frequently compared to a Salvador Dalí painting.
The weird mix of colours and strange rock formations here make it feel like you are in another world.
Then it’s on to the final sights, and the tour saves the best till last – Laguna Verde, Laguna Blanca & Licancabur Volcano.
The two lagoons, one green and one white, are right next to each other, eclipsed by the perfectly cone-shaped stratovolcano – Licancabur.
From here it’s a short drive to the Chilean border where you are dropped off. Alternatively, you can take the jeep back to Uyuni if you need to, but it’s around an 8-hour journey. Most backpackers head into San Pedro De Atacama (45 minute bus from the border) and then either fly or bus to their next destination from there.
Check out our Atacama Desert guide to see what’s up next:
Why Choose The Uyuni Salt Flats 3-Day Tour
The list of sights mentioned above is the biggest reason. Everyone comes for the salt flat, but it’s the wild mountain landscapes you see on day 2 and 3 that really blow your mind.
Another reason backpackers choose to do the 3-day tour is that it’s an efficient way to travel to Chile. The journey from the border to the Atacama is 45 minutes by bus so before you know it you’re in another country and off to see more impressive sights in the Atacama Desert.
Although it costs more than a single day, it’s still great value for money.
A 3-day tour with food, accommodation and transport to the border all included costs between $100-$150. If you manage to find a tour for around a $100, as we did, then it’s an absolute bargain.
For more tips on picking the right tour and how to save money, follow the link below:
The information in this guide is based on the 3-day salt flats tourwith did with Salty Desert Aventours.
Unfortunately, their website isn’t great, so we can’t link you to the pages outlining the different tours. However, we would definitely recommend going with them. The tour was great, and our tour guide was brilliant.
- Salty Desert Aventours – Trip Advisor
If you want more detail on the types of Salt Flat Tours on offer, Andes Salt Expeditions is another company we have heard good things about.
Be sure to check out our Bolivia itineraries to see how you a visit to the Salt Flats fits in with an extended trip through the country:
Travelling other countries in South America apart from Peru? See how you can cross the border into Bolivia from Cusco to turn your journey into an extended multi-country South America backpacking trip: