Our excursion from San Pedro De Atacama to Uyuni - Wapiti Travel

We did an amazing tour from San Pedro De Atacama to Uyuni. In this blog post, we describe this tour and the different stops we did. We will also give some tips about picking a tour agency.

How to get from San Pedro De Atacama to Uyuni

You will leave San Pedro in a mini-bus.  First, you cross the Chilean border which is inside the village of San Pedro.  From there you drive a while until you arrive at the Bolivian border which is really in the middle of nowhere…

The gate you see in the picture above is not of much use because to the left and right of the gate is just an open area for several miles….

The border is also where your group will be split up and from here onwards you will continue in jeeps.  Each jeep takes a maximum of 6 people.  Our group is split over 2 jeeps.

From here the adventure really starts.  Our drivers quickly make a left and start driving on seemingly nonexistent roads looking for the various sights in this untouched piece of land.  We had read upfront that breakdowns of the jeeps are quite common so we were glad to notice that both jeeps stayed together.

Our first stop is Laguna Verde.  With its bright green color, it’s clear where the lagoon got its name from.  The lagoon is at the bottom of both the Licancabur and Juriques volcano which forms the border of Chile and Bolivia.

From here we continue our trip to the geysers.  It felt a bit surreal to find geysers here as it was freezing cold.  Just look at all the ice on the warning sign.

Then it was on to the last stop of the day, the Laguna Colorado.  This lagoon is red because of all the algae.  Numerous flamingos can be spotted as they come to feed on the algae.  The flamingos here were really stealing the show.  It’s not so often you find flamingo’s in the wild so I really enjoyed every minute at this lagoon.

Now we started heading to our first sleeping accommodation.  Having read so many reviews we were a bit anxious about what we should expect.

However, once we got there it turned out there was no reason for our anxiety.  Nothing out of the ordinary of course but there was plenty of food for the 6 of our group.  The sleeping bag we had requested was present and we were each provided with a huge pile of blankets.

Once the sun had set it cooled down rapidly and with only a terrace heater it didn’t take long before everybody retracted to his sleeping bag for the night.

However, just before we called it a day we peeked outside and without any light pollution at all, you could see plenty of stars.  This was one of the best starry skies I have seen in my life.    In fact, I didn’t know there were that many stars….

Day 2 of our jeep tour from San Pedro De Atacama to Uyuni

Day 2 of our tour from San Pedro De Atacama to Uyuni started with a slight delay as one of the jeeps refused to start.  We saw our drivers (or should I say mechanics) busy with all kinds of tools and enjoyed an extra coffee/thee.

Once the problem was fixed we headed off towards árbol de piedra, the first stop of the day.

Next stop is again a lagoon, Laguna Hedionda.  What makes this lagoon special is the presence of sulfur.  If you don’t see it you will certainly smell it. 🙂

The trip continues further along many scenic spots and at a certain moment, an ostrich crosses our path.

 

Then we cross the rail line that connects Bolivia with Chili.  In this remote area it’s possible to create a rail line that goes straight for as far as you can see.

Somewhat after we crossed the rail line we arrived at our second hotel.  A salt hotel, mainly constructed out of salt.  Walls, banks and tables were constructed out of salt.  The floor was loose salt.  Charming but not always as practical.

We shared the rooms per 2 (the night before our group shared a room) so we had more privacy.  There was also a shower but it was not really clean so we decided we could do one more night without a shower.

 

We hit the bed early again as tomorrow we will be up early to see the sunrise at the Uyuni salt flat.

Picking one of the many tour agencies

You will find many small tour agencies offering the same trip.   We already made a shortlist of tour agents at home.  We visited their websites and searched for reviews.  Most complaints are regarding food (not enough food for everybody in the group), driving (reckless driving, speeding or drunk driving) or missing sleeping bags.

Based on the reviews we made a shortlist and we visited those once we arrived in San Pedro de Atacama.  After speaking with the different agents we finally decided on one of them. We tried to look for the most professional agent out of our list (knowledge of English, how well they explained the trip as well as how busy their office was).  This is off course not a 100% reliable approach but the best available.

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2 Comments

Valerie · October 9, 2018 at 12:14 am

Hi! Great post, was wondering which tour agency you ended up going with and how much was it? My partner and I are thinking to go around mid december..
thank you!

kris · October 11, 2018 at 4:02 am

Hi Valerie, I would have to look that up. We’re 2 more weeks in India, I will have a look when we’re back home. I can’t promise I will find the name as this trip was from before we started this blog and at that time we didn’t necessarily keep records of everything. I do remember that we started by looking up all the agencies we found online (as you’re doing now). We created a shortlist based on what we found about them online (tripadvisor, forums, their website if they had one, …). Upon arrival in San Pedro we visited those agencies on the shortlist to get a better feeling of how professional they were run, we basically asked all of them the same questions (what we would see, where we would sleep, the food, what was included what not, the drivers, ….) and in the end made our decision based on the gut feeling we got from those visits. If I do find the name of the agency we went with I will let you know. Kris

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