In the heart of Bolivia’s rugged landscape lies a natural wonder so mesmerizing it seems plucked from the realm of dreams – Salar de Uyuni, the ethereal expanse of the world’s largest salt flat.

Picture this: a boundless canvas stretching over 10,000 square kilometers, where the earth meets the sky in a seamless horizon of pure white. This surreal landscape, formed over millennia by ancient lakes and geological shifts, boasts a surface so level that it mirrors the heavens above with breathtaking clarity. If you’re a lover of unique experiences and have an adventurous spirit, join Machu Travel Peru to explore the Salar de Uyuni through this blog!

Get ready for the Bolivian adventure! We’re about to begin!

What is Salar de Uyuni?

cover salar de uyuni

The Uyuni salar is described by French geologist François Risacher as an underground salmon lake beneath a very permeable layer of sodium chloride. During the rainy season, the salar fills with water, with an average height that ranges between 10 and 30 centimeters, forming the appearance of a lake. We can then consider that the salar is a massive salt lake coated in a coating of hard, dry salt. Uyuni salt has been designated as a “Fiscal Reserve” since it has been known for 40 years to contain large concentrations of lithium, potassium, magnesium, and boron. Nonetheless, during this administration, we have encountered a genuine industrialization initiative that is all-encompassing, strategically oriented, and wholly Bolivian.


history of uyuni

Situated in the southwest of the nation is the Salar de Uyuni, home of the Uyuni people. It encompasses areas of the Oruro department’s Ladislao Cabrera province and the Potosí department’s Daniel Campos, Quijarro, and Nor Lípez provinces. At 3,653 meters above sea level, and spanning 10,582 square kilometers—two times the extent of the Great Salt Lake in the United States—it is the biggest salt lake in the world. Numerous small, low-elevation islands, such as “The Bell” and “Fish or the House of the Inca” (Incawasi), are also scattered around the Uyuni Salar.


view uyuni

This salar is the product of the evaporation of prehistoric lakes long ago. Salmuera refers to water that has dissolved salt. Salmon is the raw material of lithium. Therefore, the Uyuni Salar contains approximately 50% of the world’s lithium reserves.

The history of the Salar de Uyuni is intertwined with the region’s culture. For centuries, it has been a sacred place for the indigenous peoples of the area, who consider it an important part of their cultural and spiritual heritage. The salt flat has also historically been used for salt extraction, an activity that still takes place today, albeit to a lesser extent than in the past.


fissure in uyuni

The weather in Uyuni, Bolivia, can vary significantly depending on the time of year. Here’s a general overview of the weather patterns you can expect:

Dry Season (May to October):

During the dry season, Uyuni boasts sunny days characterized by clear skies and minimal rainfall. Daytime temperatures typically fluctuate between 15°C and 25°C (59°F to 77°F), offering a comfortable climate. However, as evening descends, temperatures can sharply plummet, often dipping below freezing, especially at elevated altitudes. Additionally, strong winds are a frequent occurrence, particularly in the afternoons.

Wet Season (November to April)

The wet season in Uyuni brings an increase in precipitation, characterized by occasional rain showers and thunderstorms. Despite the moisture, daytime temperatures remain relatively mild, ranging from around 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F). However, nights can still be chilly, particularly in the higher elevations. One notable transformation during this season is the landscape’s vibrancy, as the rain forms reflective surfaces on the salt flats. This phenomenon enhances the area’s allure, rendering it an exceptional time for photography enthusiasts to capture stunning imagery.

It’s important to note that Uyuni is located at a high altitude (around 3,656 meters or 11,995 feet above sea level), so visitors should be prepared for cooler temperatures and the effects of altitude sickness, especially if traveling from lower elevations. Additionally, weather conditions can change rapidly, so it’s advisable to dress in layers and be prepared for different weather scenarios, regardless of the season.

Best time to visit

The best time to glimpse the mirror effect is from mid-January to the end of March. During this period, the rains that flood the salt flats and produce this visual effect are concentrated. It is important to keep in mind that in this period it is more likely to see the mirror effect, but it is not certain, because weather conditions may vary from one season to another. Also, you can visit the Salar all the rest of the year and after April you can cross the Salar and also visit the Incawasi island because of the weather.

Discovering Salar de Uyuni

flags uyuni

There is much more to the Salar de Uyuni than just a plain salt desert. Hidden islands of ancient cactus, colorful lagoons home to pink flamingos, and audible geysers rising from the earth’s depths can all be found among its enormous stretches. Every turn offers a fresh surprise and a different aspect of this exceptional location’s unparalleled splendor.

When you explore the Salar de Uyuni, you enter a world of contrasts and wonders where nature is shown in all its glory as a symphony of forms and hues. For those who are fortunate enough to experience it, it is a life-changing event that wakes the senses and satisfies the soul, leaving a lasting impression on their hearts.

How to get to Uyuni Salt Flats?

get to uyuni

Depending on where you are and your chosen form of transportation, you have a few options for getting to Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the largest salar in the world. Here are some recommendations:

A) By plane

You can fly from La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, to the Uyuni airport, which is near the salt flat. Once there, you can arrange a local tour that will take you to the Salar de Uyuni and other nearby attractions.

B) By bus

You can also travel to the city of Uyuni by bus from La Paz. Typically, the bus trip lasts between eight and ten hours. You can reserve a local tour once you get to Uyuni, which will take you to the Salar and other surrounding sights.

C) By car

You can rent a car in places like La Paz or Sucre and drive to Uyuni if you’re more of a road adventurer. But bear in mind that, particularly during the wet season, some sections of the roads might not be surfaced and can be challenging.

D) By train

Taking a train from Oruro, a city having a rail connection to La Paz, is an additional option. After the train arrives in Uyuni, you can plan your trip to the Salar.

Once in Uyuni, you will find a variety of travel agencies that offer tours to the Uyuni Salar, which is a must-see experience due to its unique and spectacular landscape. Be sure to plan and choose a reliable agency to ensure a safe and memorable experience.

E) Extra tip

I recommend planning and choosing a reliable agency to ensure a safe and memorable experience.

Tours and trips

salar de uyuni

Embarking on an exploration of the Salar de Uyuni and its breathtaking surroundings presents a multitude of captivating tours and excursions to choose from. Whether you’re drawn to the vast expanse of the salt flats or the stunning landscapes that encompass them, there’s an array of options to satisfy every traveler’s curiosity and sense of adventure. Here are a few well-liked choices:

Tour or trip Description 
Classic Salar de Uyuni excursionsThese excursions, which usually run for one to three days, cover the salar’s principal attractions, such as the salt flats themselves, the island of Incahuasi (famous for its enormous cactus), the Salt Hotel, and beautiful vistas at sunrise and sunset.
Extended tripsFour- to five-day extended trips are an option if you have extra time. Visits to lesser-known sites, such as the Eduardo Avaroa National Park, where you may view flamingos, geysers, and colorful lagoons, are frequently included in these tours.
Photography Tours
 Four- to five-day extended trips are an option if you have extra time. Visits to lesser-known sites, such as the Eduardo Avaroa National Park, where you may view flamingos, geysers, and colorful lagoons, are frequently included in these tours.
Private Tours  
You can plan private excursions that are customized to your tastes and timetable if you’d like a more individualized experience. This guarantees a more personal study of the region and gives planners more freedom when creating itineraries.
Stargazing ToursSalar de Uyuni is a great place to see stars because of its isolated location and bright skies. Certain trips include activities that take place at night so that guests can study the constellations and observe the stars.

To guarantee a secure and pleasurable trip, pick a trustworthy and knowledgeable tour operator when making your reservation. To select the tour that most closely matches your interests, take into account additional elements like the size of the group, available lodging, and included facilities.

Adventure and activities

activities in uyuni

The Uyuni Salt Flats offer a range of unique experiences due to their otherworldly landscape and natural beauty. Here are some of the distinctive experiences you can have in Uyuni:

Visit the Salar de Uyuni

This is the world’s largest salt flat, covering over 10,000 square kilometers. The vast expanse of white salt, especially after rainfall when it turns into a giant mirror reflecting the sky, creates surreal and breathtaking scenery.

Island of Incahuasi (Isla Incahuasi)

 Rising from the salt flats, this island is known for its giant cacti and panoramic views of the surrounding salt flats. Visitors can hike to the top for stunning vistas of the endless white landscape.


 Due to its high altitude and remote location, Uyuni offers exceptional opportunities for stargazing. The clear, unpolluted skies provide a perfect canvas for observing stars, planets, and celestial phenomena.

Train Cemetery (Cementerio de Trenes)

This eerie but fascinating site is located just outside of Uyuni. It’s a collection of old, rusting locomotives and train cars, providing a glimpse into Bolivia’s industrial past.

Flamingo Watching

In the nearby Eduardo Avaroa National Park, visitors can see several species of flamingos feeding in the colorful lagoons. The contrast between the vibrant waters and the stark landscape is truly captivating.

Laguna Colorada

This red-colored lagoon is another highlight of the Eduardo Avaroa National Park. The coloration comes from sediments and algae, and it serves as a breeding ground for thousands of flamingos.

Hot Springs

Within the national park, there are hot springs where visitors can relax and soak in the mineral-rich waters amidst the rugged terrain.

How much does it cost?

by train

The cost of excursions or tours in Uyuni, especially those focused on the renowned Uyuni Salt Flats, can vary significantly due to several factors. These factors include the duration of the tour, the level of comfort provided, the season, and the inclusions such as lodging, transportation, and admission to attractions.

Now, I’m going to share some approximate price ranges for tours in Uyuni:

  • Budget Options: Basic one-day tours might start at around $50 to USD 80 per person. Multi-day tours could range from $100 to USD 200 per person.
  • Mid-Range Options: One-day tours with slightly better amenities might range from $80 to USD 120 per person. Multi-day tours could be in the range of $200 to USD 300 per person.
  • Luxury Options: These tours can exceed USD 300 per person for one-day tours and could go well over USD 500 per person for multi-day tours.

Photography in Uyuni

curious photography

Photography is one of the components you should not forget in the Salar of Uyuni. The incredible landscapes and natural places it houses, are simply majestic. In this sense, visually documenting it can help you remember this journey forever.

Tips for taking good photos


Taking into account the time of the day, it will help you to take advantage of the light, take into consideration the season of Uyuni in which you are travelling, many photographers in the medium have commented that the reflection of the water helps to generate an incredible background on the screen and the observer. Also, early hours of the day and sunset are recommended.

Perspective game

You must have seen photos on social networks. What we mean by this is that perspective helps us play with objects in photos. You can place the shutter in such a way that you can see the dynamics of the person with the distance of the object.

Photos of the stars and Islands

If you are interested in photography cactus or have contrast in the islands of Uyuni, surely panoramic photographs are your best choice; also, do not forget the composition and colors. From Uyuni, you can photograph the night sky, the Milky Way, and an incredible setting of stars.

Weather photography

The weather in Uyuni can be varied, but this, although it seems a problem, is an opportunity that allows you to photograph clouds, storms, and changes that help to generate more excitement in the photo.

Respect for animals

If you are interested in wildlife photography, you should be careful and avoid breaking the natural balance. Whether you’re a photographer, amateur, or just an art enthusiast, I recommend that you let your ideas fly and that you direct the art of your photos according to your perspective and creative design.

Ideal places and moments for the best photos

  • The salt flat itself
  • Isla Incahuasi
  • Salt Hotel
  • Train Cementery
  • Sunset and sunrise
  • Flamingos Spot
  • Flamingos Soit and The Salt

Culture and local life

culture life

Bolivia’s culture and life are fascinating and impregnated with multiculturalism, influenced by the indigenous peoples. Nowadays, they represent an important part of the country’s national identity. We should also mention that history and ethnic diversity are amalgamated in the hearts of the local people and that the indigenous heritage persists.

The indigenous peoples are the Aymara, Quechua, Guarani, and others, who come together with their customs, traditions, music, and dances. Bolivia is one of the favorite destinations in Latin America. Of course, everyone comes to know the Salar de Uyuni. However, this salt desert has developed a synergy with the Bolivian people as tourism has allowed families’ economies to increase.

In conclusion, this country offers the best of nature and culture within your reach. Choose the best tour in Bolivia and let yourself be carried away by the magic of the Andes.

Customs and traditions of the region

There is immense cultural and folkloric diversity in Bolivia and Uyuni. This country has been recognized for its festivals and colorful traditions. Likewise, festivals such as the Oruro Carnival and its diverse folkloric dances have caught the attention of tourists and the world.

Likewise, the Bolivian people especially those of Uyuni, maintain their deep-rooted cultural traditions, which stem from the worship and respect for the Pachamama “earth” and the gods such as the sun and the moon. If you wish to learn more about this incredible country, you can check out our bolivia travel guide, where you’ll find unique and interesting details.


Exactly, local markets are central points in Uyuni’s everyday life, where residents can purchase a variety of commodities and everyday items. These markets also serve as important spaces for the exchange of agricultural products and crafts, which contribute to the local economy and the preservation of cultural traditions. In addition to being places of commerce, markets are community meeting points where people gather to socialize, share news, and keep up with what is happening in the city and the surrounding region. This social interaction strengthens community ties and contributes to vibrant local life in Uyuni.


Tika Palace


Located on Avenida Potosí in Uyuni, Bolivia. This restaurant offers a variety of Latin American cuisine, including vegetarian options, and features a pub restaurant. Additionally, it appears to be an ideal place to enjoy a good time through unique flavors and trendy music.

The Hot Spot The New Religion

the hot spot

Located on Calle Colón #687, nestled between Santa Cruz and Colombia streets in Uyuni, Bolivia. This place is renowned for its vegetarian cuisine, it’s a place where flavors and ingredients are meticulously handled with utmost care and respect, ensuring a delightful experience for discerning palates.

Railway Cafe Bistro

railway cafe bistro

Located on Sucre Esquina Colon Interesection Uyuni, Bolivia. This establishment offers a variety of options for healthy cuisine and craft beer. It seems to be a place where you can enjoy delicious food without regrets, emphasizing a balance of healthiness and indulgence.


The hotels in Bolivia offer an incredible and unique experience. If you enjoy combining cultural, natural, and traditional experiences, it’s a must to discover the best hotels and what they offer.

Atix Hotel – La Paz

Atix is a stylish hotel, the first boutique property located on 16th Street of Julino Patiño in La Paz, Bolivia. The hotel’s concept revolves around the tangible celebration of Bolivia’s cultural heritage, seamlessly merging culture with luxury. Additionally, it features the Bar 591, where you can discover exquisite cocktails and a unique experience.

La Estancia Ecolodge – Lake Titicaca

ecolodge estancia

This ecolodge boasts modern amenities and a spiritually comforting ambiance, seamlessly integrating traditional eco-friendly design elements. Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, it offers a serene retreat for guests.

Luna Salada

Luna Salada stands as an extraordinary testament to architectural ingenuity, crafted entirely from salt blocks. Nestled just 25 km away from the mesmerizing Uyuni Salt Flats, this remarkable hotel beckons with its cozy ambiance and uniquely styled rooms. Each corner whispers tales of salt’s transformation into luxury, inviting guests to immerse themselves in an unforgettable experience.

Useful tips



To travel to Uyuni you need a passport if you are an international traveler, you must make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry. Also, depending on your nationality, you may require a visa to enter Bolivia (so you must anticipate this).

When arriving in Bolivia, you’ll be provided with a migration card to fill out along with presenting your passport at each immigration checkpoint. Remember to keep this card with you throughout your stay in the country. Additionally, travel insurance and vaccinations are not required, however, we recommend foreseeing any situation and considering the following insurance companies or Finally, we suggest to get vaccinated against yellow fever before entering the Bolivian country.

Necessary equipment

A. Clothing

Warm clothing such as coats, jackets, hats, or other warm clothing.

B. Good footwear

Such as boots or trekking shoes as well as rainproof boots.

C. Sunscreen and sunglasses

Protect your skin from the strong UV rays at high altitudes by wearing sunscreen with a high SPF.

Camera and accessories

Bring a camera or smartphone with a good camera to capture the stunning landscapes of the Salar de Uyuni and extra batteries and memory cards.

Personal items

Water bottle, snacks, personal medications.


We conclude our experience in the world’s largest salt flat, unable to fully capture in words all that this place has to offer. Nevertheless, we can assure you that from the moment you set foot on Bolivian soil, your life will never be the same. Until we meet again, the team at Machu Travel Peru awaits you for another adventure.

Peru has so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to start. With many years of experience in the tourism sector, Machu Travel Peru is happy to help with anything regarding your trip to Machu Picchu and any tours around it. Make your Machu Picchu experience an unforgettable one!