We left Santa Cruz for Sucre, a pretty Spanish colonial town at an altitude of 2800 metres. We had been warned off taking the long bus ride and booked ourselves a flight which was only 25 minutes and £20!
A little bit of Sucre in pictures…
After 2 nights we got the day bus to Uyuni, the gateway town to begin the Salt Flats Tour. We had done our research and we were pretty sure we would go with Red Planet Tours but did drift in and out of a few agencies before sticking with our instinct and booking with Red Planet. We paid 1250bs, which at the time, was around £130. Although this is more expensive than a lot of companies (some offer tours for 900bs, or even less) we had heard a lot of horror stories about drunk drivers, bad cars, awful food and generally average experiences. More recently I read in the news about 5 people dying after their car flipped over whilst on a tour. Always best to go with your instinct and pay a little bit more I think! I was also rather taken by the fact Red Planet have exclusivity to use the natural hot therms in the evening meaning you can sit and enjoy the stars with a glass of red and only your group of gringos, not everyone and its dog.
NB. Even with 2 nights in Sucre at 2800metres, we both had terrible altitude related headaches upon arrival in Uyuni.
Salt Flats Tour in Pictures
We slept at The Salt Hotel, which Red Planet Tours have exclusive use of. Everything was made of salt! Pretty cool.
We drove to our accommodation which was more basic than the previous night but not as cold as I had feared. We dived into the cracker and cookie snacks given out prior to supper and all had cups of tea as there were quite a few Brits in our group!
After dinner we bravely stripped off and walked briskly down to the hot therms. It was divine and what I loved was that it hadn’t been turned into some mega pool, it was still very natural. Slightly disappointed that we worked out that Red Planet no longer have exclusive use of the hot therms, they now share it with another company but it didn’t feel overcrowded. We shared a bottle of red with the friends we had made and chatted for a few hours before braving the cold and making a swift return to the accommodation, diving straight into our cozy beds.
The last day mainly involved driving back to Uyuni, so you just enjoy the scenery from the car, getting out every now and then for a bit of a stretch and for lunch. Some people left the tour at San Pedro, where you can cross into Chile.
A memorable few days that was so much more than just a ‘Salt Flats Tour’. The different landscapes we saw really surprised me and some were very ‘out of this world’. We felt, at times, like we were in space. I am sure they could have shot the movie ‘Martian’ in this area.
- Wrap up very warm, it’s freezing.
- Remember, you get what you pay for. Book with a reputable company.
- Don’t spend any extra time in Uyuni, it is literally purely a gateway town with nothing to offer.
- Piedra Blanco is a good hostel and even if you’re not staying there, for 20bs they let you showers and use their wifi.
- Eat at ‘Minuteman Pizza’. It’s expensive (110bs for a big one) but my goodness it was delicious.
- Don’t bother booking in advance unless you’re on a really tight schedule. We arrived at 6pm and got onto a tour for the next morning with our first choice company.