My general mantra when traveling is to avoid ALL guided tours, by any means necessary. There are times when they’re easier and definitely more convenient (if more also more expensive), but I like the freedom to follow my own schedule.
Which is how I ended up on an overnight bus to Uyuni with loose plans on what to do when I got there:
1. Find someone to take us on a 2-day tour of the salt flats.
2. Go on said tour.
We arrived bright and early around 7 AM…to the most dreadful overcast weather. IT’S DRY SEASON THEY SAID. But my time was limited so I set aside my weather disappointment and went about finding a tour operator to take us on a 2-day tour of the flats.
Internet searches from home all recommended one company; and seemingly all the other Westerners had pre-booked a tour with them. We discovered they didn’t have a 2-day tour option, naturally, nor did any other operator we asked. Just as we were resigning to the 1-day tour we stumbled into an operator with Tripadvisor reviews, in every language, taped all over their windows. Not only did they have a 2-day option, but were also looking for more people to fill the car!
So tour was booked, had a quick breakfast, then off we went into the flats!
Stop 1: Train Graveyard
Stop 2: A Salt Factory
Stop 3: Lunch Break
For lunch we were served alpaca “chops” and quinoa. If I never have to eat alpaca again, that would be just fine with me.
Then it was time to cross the flats.
Stop 4: Coqueza
Our destination for the night was a tiny community at the base of a volcano; a spot of life amidst the salt expanse. There weren’t many people but there were LOTS of “trained” llamas.
There was a nice “puddle” on the flats outside of Coqueza, so we had some fun with reflections. Then it was off to bed in our salt hotel. Yep, all of the bricks are salt.