Following the different route options:
To get to Uyuni from La Paz city, take a bus. The trip takes approximately 12 to 15 hours. The suggested bus companies to Uyuni from La Paz are:
The highway from La Paz to Oruro is paved till Challapata town. From there the road is a dirt road, which means that during the rainy season the transit is difficult.
The trip from Oruro to Uyuni can be made by bus or train:
By bus: Trans Azul buses make daily departures at 18:30
To get to Uyuni by train there are two alternatives:
The trip from Potosi to Uyuni can be made by land and takes approximately 7 hours by bus.
The bus companies that travel by these routes are:
The trip from Villazón to Uyuni can be made by train on the Expreso Sur which departs on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 15:30.
The trip can also be made by train of the Wara Wara company with departures on Mondays and Thursdays at 15:30
To get to Uyuni from Chile, take the paved highway from Iquique, passing through Calama till San Pedro de Atacama and arriving at Hito Cajones.
In order to get to Uyuni from Argentina, I recommend Aerolineas Argentinas to San Salvador de Jujuy. From there go by road to La Quiaca. Cross to Villazon and from that town it is possible to take a train to Uyuni - the journey takes about 9 hours.
Another option is to take a flight from Buenos Aires to Cochabamba, go from this city to Oruro by bus and from there to Uyuni by train.
The Uyuni Salt Flat in Potosi, Bolivia, can be visited all year long - even though the majority of the tour operators in the area strongly recommend the dry season of the year between April and October.
During the rainy season the Uyuni Salt Flat is covered by about 20 cm of water and as a result it becomes a huge mirror reflecting the sky. Without doubt this is an amazing landscape worth to be appreciated and photographed. Another advantage of a visit during the rainy season is the presence of at least 25000 pink flamingos and other birds at the Colored Lagoon (Laguna Colorada).
The disadvantage of travelling during the rainy season is that the Galaxies cave and the Fish Island are covered by water, making it impossible to visit these attractions.
During the rainy season the roads are muddy and some vehicles experience technical problems.
The dry season is the most recommended period for a visit to the Uyuni Salt Flat. The octagonal salt formations can be appreciated in full and all the attractions of the area can be visited. June and July are considered to be the high season. Expect more tourist presence during this period.
- The best hours to visit and photograph the Colored Lagoon are between 11: 00 and 14:00 hours. During these hours the temperatures are higher and the sunlight is stronger - therefore the colors are more intense.
- The month of December is when the Flamingos appear, so it is possible to observe large quantities of these beautiful birds bathing and feeding at the Colored Lagoon.
- Do not forget to bring warm clothes during the dry season, as temperatures can get rather low during this period. Perhaps even an extra blanket or sleeping bag will be necessary, as some of the hostels and hotels are known for a bit of cold at night. Make sure that you have clothes that you can layer, as this will make it easier to stay comfortable in case you get too warm during a hike. Also, be sure to bring plenty of water - always bring more than you think you will need. Sun block is a good idea as well, since the sun in the desert can burn you even though it might feel quite chilly outside.
- Choose your tour carefully. It is often best to opt for a three to four day tour and visit all the attractions of the Salt Flat.
- Besides the Salt Desert, there are many more tourist attractions in the area that are worth visiting: the Village of Four Names, the Thunupa volcano and the mummies of Colquesa are just a few examples.
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