Salt Flat Tour in Bolivia

Bolivia’s Otherworldly Uyuni Salt Flats

Whenever I tell people about my many trips to South America, they ask me where they can find “the mirror.” Many assume it’s a beach of some kind, and almost all of them believe it to be in Brazil (TIP: That’s less Lençóis Maranhenses, y’all).

Almost without fail, people are surprised to learn that the incredible scenery they seek is located in Bolivia, a country they likely never thought to visit. Below, I’ll tell you how to visit the Bolivian salt flats known in Spanish as “Salar de Uyuni,” as well as information about when to go and where to stay.

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Where to Stay in the Bolivian Salt Flats

Beyond the location of the Salar itself, another common question people have for me relates to the Bolivian salt flats hotel, whether it exists and where to find it. The good news is that yes, this hotel exists—in fact multiple ones do, including Hotel Palacio de Sal and Hotel de Sal Luna Salada. On the other hand, many salt flat tours depart from the town of Uyuni itself (more on that in a minute), so although staying in a salt flat hotel is a fun novelty, it might not make much practical sense.

Bolivian Salt Flats Best Time to Go

Most people prefer to travel when it’s dry rather than wet, but if you want to enjoy the magical mirror effect of the Salar de Uyuni to its fullest, you should visit in March or April, jus after the Bolivian salt flats wet season when they cracked, salty surface is covered with water that becomes a mirror.


Things to Do Near the Bolivian Salt Flats

Of course, Bolivian salt flats travel aren’t just limited to the Salar de Uyuni itself. Depending on which tour option you choose, you’ll enjoy a variety of otherworldly southwestern Bolivia scenery, including the flamingo-covered Laguna Hedionda, the Sol de Mañana geyser or Laguna Colorada, which is bright red on account of microorganisms found in it. Many Bolivian salt flats tours also include a free transfer to San Pedro de Atacama, gateway to the world’s highest, driest desert.

Speaking of which, word to the wise: Don’t take a tour with a company called Lincanabur. Lonely Planet recommends them and they have a large presence in Uyuni Town, but they employ dangerous drivers, unfriendly guides and cooks who prepare embarrassingly bad food.

The Bottom Line

It’s difficult to select one Bolivia experience as being the best, but the Bolivian salt flats—a.k.a. Salar de Uyuni—have got to be high on the list. If my Bolivian salt flats pictures don’t inspire you to make your way to this otherworldly paradise of blue skies and watery mirrors laid in salt, it’s my hope that the informative I’ve provided you can at least provide you a practical path.

Leave Your Daily Hell   Filed under: Bolivia

About The Author

is the author of 845 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!


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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Mairead February 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm

THanks for the advise. Who did the group you talked to at dinner book with??

Robert Schrader February 6, 2013 at 9:06 am

They didn’t tell us, unfortunately! The good news is that there are quite a few tour operators in Uyuni – in fact, they are without a doubt the most numerous category of businesses in the town – so I would recommend just shopping around.

spudman March 27, 2013 at 12:25 pm

exactly, I’d also like to know who the other group booked with, like the mis-spelt comment below (it’s ADVICE)…sorry, drives me mad when people can’t spell

Heyitsbilly October 26, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Spudman, have you considered the fact that not everyone who visits this site is a native English speaker? You do know that people from all over the world visits this site, right?

If you’re going to be tied up on spelling, make sure you use the proper grammar, which you are woefully lacking in your post. It’s “whom” not “who”, “Exactly” not “exactly”, “spell.” not “spell”, and lastly you’re using an run-on sentence.

Do Spanish speakers get mad when you butcher Spanish? Do Chinese speakers get mad when you butcher Mandarin? No. So chill out with that English perfection nonsense.

Benito March 12, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Your article is your own experience and it doesn’t reflect most people’s, without mentioning it is boring. Nothing of value from what I read. Good travelers are not always looking for the cheapest option out there, like it seems you were. Booking in advance with a good company is always the best way. It is only cheap backpackers who end up booking last minute for the sake of saving peanuts who drive the prices down and therefore force the companies to give a mediocre service. If you had paid what this place was worth, you would have chosen more wisely.

Robert Schrader March 12, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Hi Benito:

You are welcome to your opinion, although I don’t think there is really any reason to personally attack me.

Enzo June 10, 2014 at 9:11 am

Hi Robert. This is very useful!
Do you remember roughly at what time you arrived at San Pedro de Atacama?

Robert Schrader June 11, 2014 at 8:37 am

I arrived around noon!

Bill June 11, 2014 at 1:44 pm

I’m considering a custom 4-day excursion to the salt flats for my wife and I. Do you recommend a tour operator? Also, is there a better time of the year to visit?

Robert Schrader June 11, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Bill, there are so many tour operators in Uyuni, I simply recommend you use your best judgment and speak with other travelers. Also, both times of year (wet and dry) are great. During the wet season (January to April) pools of water create a mirror effect, while the salt itself is the star of the show during the other parts of the year.

Good luck!

Uneven Sidewalks February 9, 2015 at 8:12 pm

Great warning for how important it is to pick a good tour operator. It can make or break your experience on the the trip. We used Torre Tours out of Tupiza because we headed North along the route. I wrote an article to help my blog readers pick a good tour guide company –

Robert Schrader February 16, 2015 at 7:08 am

Thanks for sharing your perspective!

niall af,,!! June 23, 2015 at 12:00 am

Could I please know when is the best month to go when the salt flats become reflective? I’m thinking to go around April-May is that a good time?

Robert Schrader June 23, 2015 at 6:55 am

April is probably the best, since the rainy season (which causes reflection) actually ends in March. May will be too late and also, quite cold.

Rishi Doshi June 24, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Hi Robert,

I am planning to travel alone to Bolivia and want to do a 2 day trip to the salt flat lands, is it possible to do it alone?

Pirate Horse July 12, 2015 at 12:52 pm

Great advice as always – I love your honest, up-front approach to travel writing, its so refreshing.

Robert Schrader July 26, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Thanks for your kind comment!

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