Booking the Bolivia salt flats tour (or Salar de Uyuni tour in Spanish) once you’ve arrived in San Pedro de Atacama can be overwhelming. The town is teeming with tour agencies and the gringo trail is swirling with horror stories of drunk or underage drivers and tourists not receiving what they promised. Before we took the three day trip across the desert we visited multiple agencies in order to find the best Salar de Uyuni tour. We ended up taking a fantastic tour with Estrella Del Sur for $150USD. These are the 6 questions you should be asking when choosing between Uyuni Salt Flats tour companies
1. Does the agency have an office in both San Pedro de Atacama and Uyuni?
When booking our Bolivian salt flats tour we were warned multiple times about tour agencies that don’t receive enough booking and palm tourists off to other agencies who then don’t deliver everything they’ve promised. In order to avoid this, you need to find Uyuni Salt Flats tour companies with offices in both locations as they do the trips every day regardless.
2. are the driver’s part of the agency?
There are many horror stories about the drivers on the Salar de Uyuni salt flats tours. We even heard about one group with a driver who was 12 years old. To avoid this, be sure to check that the drivers and trusted and work for the agency all the time. The tour agency should be able to guarantee this, and run frequent reviews of the driver’s standards. Most good tour agencies also have a no alcohol policy for drivers.
3. Do the cars have AIR-CONDITIONING/heating?
The weather on the salt flats tour Bolivia is harsh – it can be freezing one minute and boiling the next. The driving conditions are also very tough. Asking whether the car has heating/air-conditioning will guarantee you a relatively new and safe vehicle.
4. Check the route
All of the Uyuni Salt Flats tour companies should be able to show you a map with the route on it. Double check the map to make sure you will be visiting the following places:
- Green laguna
- Laguna Blanca
- Desert Dali
- Hot Springs
- Red lagoon
- Stone tree
- Silica Dessert
- Rocas Sora Vally
- Salar De Uyuni
- The train cemetery
5. don’t go for the cheapest price
While I love a bargain, and hate paying too much for organised tours, this is one case where you really do get what you pay for. Some Uyuni Salt Flats tour companies offer the tours for as little as $120USD, but you don’t get proper accommodation or blankets and due to the high altitude it’s absolutely freezing at night. Around $150USD (or $100,000 Chilean Pesos) is a good price to aim for. We were able to bargain them down a little as we were a group of 5.
6. check what you need to bring with you
Most Salar de Uyuni tour companies don’t cover absolutely everything in the price of the tour. So make sure you double check what you need to bring with you. For example we had to bring money for park entries and 2 litres of water each.