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The salt flats of Bolivia are one of backpackers favourite stops in South America and with good reason! I originally thought I had to go to Uyuni, Bolivia and do a tour from there but then found out about the option to do a 3-day tour on a 4×4 from San Pedro to Uyuni through the salt flats, among other beautiful sights. I’m so glad that I ended up going this way because it’s been one of my favorite tours on this trip. The tour can easily be booked from San Pedro town; I booked mine through Hostel Rural for 115,000 Chilean Pesos. I heard of other backpackers getting it for around 95,000 in town but from what I understand there is a difference in quality between companies (mainly in the food they give you and your accommodation for the two nights). Overall, I was really happy with the service of my tour on all aspects and would recommend it to anyone going from Chile to Bolivia. Here’s some of the highlights from my tour:
Within an hour of leaving San Pedro town we crossed the border into Bolivia and were immediately greeted by Foxes and Guanacos! They seemed to be having some sort of stand off but found an agreement and each went their separate ways. The fox came to say bye right before we left again!
Flamingos, Flamingos, and more Flamingos!
We saw so many incredible massive reserves of Flamingos in the lagoons we passed by. It was incredible to see them all standing around in the water reflecting!
Although not a wild animal, we saw endless farms of the cutest Llamas as we drove through the landscape, even adorable baby ones!
Reflecting Mountains and Lakes
I couldn’t begin to tell you how many viewpoints we stopped at and each one was more magical then the next! The combination of reflecting mountains in the lake made for endless photo ops.
We stopped at the Salvador Dali Desert, which is named so because the artist had painted an extremely similar painting to the desert without ever having been there. It was super fun driving the 4×4 over this landscape and exploring the surrounding desert.
Shortly after the Bolivia border we stopped at these natural hot spring pools with a beautiful landscape behind us!
I never knew Bolivia had geysers, and these ones were really incredible (admittedly a little dangerous) because their were no barrier between you and them; you were free to walk at your own risk as close as you wanted. Yellowstone and Iceland may have some impressive geysers, but you’re definitely not getting as close as you can in Bolivia!
I know rocks don’t sound like the most exciting attraction but the ones along the tour are actually pretty interesting, like this one below that looks like a tree.
The first night we stayed at a very basic hostel but given that it was hardly a town and no electricity it was more then we needed, and they managed to make a really nice meal with a bottle of wine! The second night we stayed at a really nice hotel made of salt which was really neat.
Honestly after the first two days I was already really satisfied with the tour and we hadn’t even reached the main highlight yet! The tour was definitely jam-packed with stops but each one was well worth it, and it was crazy how much the landscape changed during the first two days. Stay tuned for my next post about day three; waking up at 4am to chase the sunrise on the salt flats.