The Ungraceful Guide | Budget Travel Guides

Bolivia: Visit the Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats Without A Tour

The ultimate thing to do in Bolivia, without a doubt, has to be the Salar de Uyuni. You could say it’s the Machu Picchu of Bolivia and one of the main reasons tourists visit the landlocked country tucked away in the middle of the travellers’ favourites Peru and Chile.

The largest salt flat in the world, sitting on the eastern edge of the Potosi region of Bolivia, in between Uyuni and the Chilean border, is a world of white after a number of prehistoric lakes evaporated over 50,000 years ago, leaving behind the never-ending snow-like, white, salty landscapes.

One of the most fascinating features, an obvious one as per the name, is just how flat the landscape is. Not only does it provide the perfect scene to stage those famous perspective photos, but it also means that during the rainy season (starting in late November), thanks to the layer of rain, the Salar transforms into a large mirror one where the overhead clear blue skies perfectly reflect creating a surreal scene.

Due to its poverty, Bolivia is one of the cheapest countries in South America, which allows for the popular Salar tours to be one of high appeal for the budget-conscious backpacker. One-day tours start from €80 (the cheapest we were offered while in Uyuni, but no doubt you can haggle for less) right up to the three-day tour at low prices starting around €120. And that price includes all transport, accommodation, food and activities (excluding some entry fees). I mean, how can you go wrong?

Those looking to skip onto Chile, usually opt in for the three-day tour to then finish the salty adventure on the Chilean side of the border. It makes sense really! However, like many tours, there are additional costs to consider.  For example, some entry fees are not included in the tour price such as entry to ‘Fish Island’ for 30B (€3.75) and the National Reserve for 150B (€18.75) as well as water, snacks, toilet and shower charges, depending on the tour agency.

So although we wrote this with enthusiasm to take a tour, we didn’t. Our regular readers know by now that we dislike tours. Even the incredibly affordable, unmissable and highly rated ones. And while we have taken many tours across our travels, the most recently being the three-day Pampas Wildlife Tour in the Bolivian Amazon, it’s not our distaste for tours that encourages us to avoid them but rather our thirst for the spontaneous adventure, the unpredictable moments and the feeling of a little freedom. Freedom to take our time, that is, as the one thing tours have taught us is that, unless you pay for the private ones, you are on borrowed time.

We’ve had some of the best days on booked tours where we met and made friends for life. As you can imagine, we’ve also had really shitty experiences with careless guides, awkward moments, and irritating company which always leads to an immediate dislike for the activity we’ve paid for.

So, on our tight ass budget and since we splashed out on the Amazon Jungle tour in Rurrenabaque for €113 each, we decided to look into visiting the Salar de Uyuni without booking a tour.

After a difficult day of unsuccessful internet searches and a lack of findings, the conclusion was that we just had to go to Uyuni and figure it all out from there. It was here that, with a screenshot of the Salar in hand, we enquired with our hostel owner, asked locals and visited bus companies.

With as much information as possible gathered, and no warnings telling us we were mad or that the idea was too dangerous to do; we grew confident and took the risk. Which, as always, paid off (for us, anyway!).

So here we have our guide to how we visited the Salar de Uyuni without a tour, without a guide, and had a wonderful experience where we still managed to visit some attractions that are included on the one-day tour, and even discovered the little town of Llica.

Since we did try and test this method, we made some mistakes that were a little more time-consuming than they needed to be. So we’ve arranged somewhat of an itinerary and have broken it down into a one-day, for the time-restrained folks or a two-day, for those who want a sleepover in a very non-touristy town that sits on the edge of the salt flats.

The last note we would like to include in our introductory babbling is that if you hate to walk (like, at all) then this method might not be for you. We wanted to feel lost in endless white, with the crunching salt beneath our feet, and the high sun hitting our necks. We wanted to be isolated and spin 360° to see nothing but the horizon. There is no path, there is no map and this is a somewhat tiring adventure.

But if we could, we’d do it all again. In fact, maybe one day we will.

Table of Contents

A Quick Guide To Uyuni:

We usually dedicate a large proportion of our blogs to accommodation and travel, however, Uyuni is extremely easy to travel to from all major cities and Bolivian destinations, especially the likes of La Paz, Cochabamba, Sucre, Santa Cruz, Potosi etc. and their are a wide range of hostels, hotels, residenciales within walking distance from the main Uyuni Plaza so we’ll make this quick.

From Sucre to Uyuni:

There are three main companies that travel between Sucre and Uyuni. We went with the company ’11 de Julio’ who charged us 50B (€6.25) per person, the lowest price we could secure, but do try to do better! The last bus of the day leaves at 8 p.m. and arrives in Uyuni at 4 a.m.

Although taking an overnight bus saves some money, we suggest you aim to arrive in Uyuni before midnight or after 6 am, unless you have accommodation pre-booked of course.

Note that there is no bus terminal in Uyuni and at 4 a.m., we were dropped at the side of the road in freezing temperatures. It was so cold lads. Especially coming from Sucre, we were not prepared at all! And since the town doesn’t wake until after 6 a.m., we were a little stranded.

Thankfully there is a God and she goes by the name of Noni. Noni runs a cafe just off the Plaza called Noni’s Cafe. It is on the same road as the Uyuni train station; face the station and take a right, You will find it a few doors up on the left-hand side.

A smart woman, she approached the early arriving bus and asked if we were interested in coffee and breakfast. Our cold asses jumped at the chance and we followed her. A little more pricey than other breakfasts we have had across the country, a coffee costs 10B (€1.25) and a basic breakfast which is a plain fried egg sandwich is 15B (€1.90). But if you do find yourself stuck, go here and knock on (the main door may be closed!) as it’s a warm place to hang out and it has really good Wi-Fi.

Or like we said, you could either take a different bus or be smart and pre-book a hostel, even for one night just to have somewhere warm to arrive.

Budget Accommodation:

Similar to Sucre, it seems that the cheaper accommodation options are the ‘alojamiento’ as, surprisingly, the hostels were far more expensive! Like Mary and Joseph, we knocked on too many doors and discovered there are only two hostels that include a shared kitchen; Hostel Luna Blanca and Alojamiento La Roca.

Prices for a double room with a shared bathroom in Hostel Luna Blanca are from 50B (€6.25) per person, with no room to haggle on the price.

So we settled into our private room with a shared bathroom at Alojamiento La Roca for 40B (€5) per person. Originally we were charged 50B but the Senora and boss woman were happy to drop the price. Just flash some charm.

Three floors full of rooms, all equipped with excellent WiFi, a large shared kitchen on the top floor, and free luggage storage, we are happy to recommend here.


One-Day DIY Salar Trip:

Before setting off, a few things to note or pack. The mornings are cold, bitter cold, however, once the sun rises it is the complete opposite, hot, burning hot. So wear layers, with the option to remove any heavy clothes as the sun grows stronger. Also, sunburn in the Salar is a given. Think of it as one large reflector. We burned in places we didn’t know were possible, and we had bathed in suncream. Pack lots of sun protector, and wear a hat or something for cover to throw on if it gets too much.

Since there will be a lot of walking, wear comfortable hiking shoes or boots. Leave the flip-flops at home. Pack a lunch or some snacks, although there are places to grab a bite in Colchani town, it’s better to bring food to keep the energy levels high and once you hit the Salar there aren’t exactly food stalls waiting. Remember, bananas are life. The Uyuni market on Avenida Potosi is a good preparation start. We bought bread rolls, two big avocados, tomatoes and a bunch of bananas for 8B (€1) and made some sandwiches a la Salar.

Leaving the obvious for last (that’s how the saying goes, right?) bring lots of water. The dry heat, the strong sun and the long walk will leave your mouth like Ghandi’s flip-flop. In other words, dry mouth. We brought 3 litres and sucked them dry. Prepare as much as you can but with water, food and suncream, you’ll survive the day.

Based on our findings and our own experience, here is our suggested itinerary for visiting the salt flats, including four attractions that the guided one-day tours also visit.

  •  Cementerio de Tren
  •  Colchani town
  •  Salt Flats: salt hotel and flags of many nations’ monument
  • Salt Flats: Ojos del Sal

Cementerio de Tren:

Usually the first stop on any booked Salar de Uyuni tour, we discovered that the Train Cemetery (Cementerio de Tren) was only a 20-minute walk from the Uyuni Plaza.

We decided that an early morning 4.30 am start to catch the sunrise would be interesting. And that it was! We left our hostel at 5 a.m. and enjoyed a brisk walk straight down Uyuni’s main road.

With your back to the plaza, standing on Avenida Potosí, take a left and walk straight for about 15 minutes until you reach the bottom of the road. Across the distance, on your left, you should be able to see large shadows up ahead. Follow the dusty road until you reach the old train tracks, then follow the tracks. The cemetery will soon appear.

Although we expected it to be a flat surface, since technically this is where the Salar starts, the surrounding mountain range meant that the 5.40 am sun was shadowed, however, this created dancing colours of vigorous reds, translucent pinks, vibrant blues and a piercing orange.

We spent the cold morning sitting on a rustic train, flipped on its side and drowning in graffiti. We watched the sun spring from the mountain range, blinding us half to death while illuminating the corroding graveyard.

We enjoyed nearly two hours here. Jumping across old locomotives, and passenger carriages, and scaling across crushed boilers, wheels and train parts. A cross between ‘Mad Max’ and ‘Into The Wild’, this was without a doubt the most interesting sunrise we’ve experienced. It’s also a photographer’s heaven, and most definitely worth your time exploring, whether it is for the sunrise or not.

Note that sunrise is between 5.30 and 5.50 am, so we recommend leaving your hostel no later than 4.45 am/5 am, This allows you time to stroll effortlessly as well as pick the perfect train to perch and watch the sun hit the nearby Salar. We even brought some breakfast and a flask of coffee. Oh, and wear layers. Even when the fireball appears, the heat doesn’t. It’s quite bone-chilling at this hour.

After some early morning training, we returned to our hostel before 8 am, took a nap, freshened up and ate (again!). The second leg of our salty DIY tour was the town of Colchani, also the second stop on the Salar de Uyuni tours.

However, since you wish to visit as much as possible in one day, head straight from the Cementerio de Tren to the Uyuni bus terminal and take the next bus leaving for Colchani.

Colchani Town:

A tiny, three-street town with less than 500 inhabitants, one alojamiento, small local restaurants and, when the tours and gringos leave, very little life, Colchani is the main gateway to the Salar.

From Uyuni’s bus terminal take any bus heading to Oruro and tell the driver or ayudante that you want to jump off at Colchani. The drive takes no longer than 20 minutes and costs 5B (€0.60) per person. Some companies may try to charge 10B, so you tell them the price rather than asking for one.

The bus will drop you off at the town entrance. Walk in and in less than 5 minutes you will arrive at train tracks. After the tracks take a left and you will see the tourist market on the right-hand side.

Salar Tours stops in Cochani to educate tourists about the manufacturing of salt considering it’s the main hub for production, salt museums and nearby salt hotels.

There are a number of museums to visit in Colchani. The majority of which introduces you to the manufacturing process of salt. Some of the smaller museums are free, and hold a number of handmade salt statues. When you see the “come see the biggest llama in the world” sign, they mean a large llama made out of salt. I share this with those who get a little too excited when it comes to animals, especially llamas. I know I did. Either way, the salt sculptures are pretty impressive but no need to spend too much time here. To learn about Colchani’s main export, visit the Museum of Salt, at the end of the market street, for only 5B (€0.62). Arriving early means beating the umpteen tour jeeps that flood the streets during midday, so enjoy the tranquillity while it lasts.

Once satisfied and now armed with possible pub quiz knowledge all about salt production, next is to visit the Salar itself.

Salt Flats:

You have two options to start the Salt Flats escapade; one is to start walking out of town and the other is to take the local bus across the Salar and walk back into town. Either way, it’s time to put the legs to work.

#1 Walk The Salar

Explore the nearby Salar on foot. It’ll take around 40 minutes to reach the border of the Salar from Colchani. You won’t miss it as the soft mud turns into a crunchy texture and all that The eye can see will suddenly vanish. If the tours have started to roll into town by now, the easiest thing to do is follow the tour jeeps that fly down the one and only main road leaving Colchani. If it’s still oh so quiet, just walk the opposite way you entered the town and follow the signs for the salt hotels down the long stretch of the main road.

As you step onto the Salar, on the right is the Palacio de Sal which claims to be the oldest salt hotel with an interior and exterior made entirely of *spoiler* salt. We passed by but didn’t enter. Visits do seem possible but be warned that you may have to buy something.

Now that you’ve arrived at the Salar, you can walk as far and as long as you like. Just take into consideration the walk back, with sunset looming around 6.30 pm-7 pm, avoid walking back in the dark. In fact, that’s just plain crazy. Not only do temperatures drop, but cars, buses and trucks are quite active throughout the day and night. They may not see you, and there is no “official” road so we really do not recommend being in the Salar once the sun goes down.

Around 3 km from Palacio de Sal are the Ojos de Sal, a pin for here should show up on your Google Maps or Maps. Me (so download an offline map) The Ojos del Sal are a group of natural springs from the flowing rivers found under the salt flats. A strange sight considering the water is cold yet bubbling (and loud!), this is due to the river’s acidity.

Beside the springs is a half-built house with a red flag, this was the perfect place to stop for lunch.

The Dakar Monument, a salt monument that is also pinned on your maps, is a further 6km from Ojos de Agua. Here you will find another small salt hotel called Hotel de Sal Playa Blanca. This is the famous salt-made hotel with the flags of many nations outside. It is free to enter, and although not mind-blowing it’s enjoyable. Although 10-12 km from Colchani to here, it is possible and extremely fun to reach on foot. The easiest way is to follow the blackened tyre tracks and again, the tour jeeps and trucks or use an offline Google map.

In between the Dakar monument and Colchani is the perfect place for that famous Salar photoshoot. The key is to face away from the sun, so as not to cast a frontal shadow. A sideways shadow won’t ruin a picture. Also ensure that Colchani town, the Dakar or Salt Hotel isn’t visible in the background. Again, be mindful of the passing traffic, don’t stop to shoot near any dark road tracks.

#2 Local Bus

If walking 20km to, from and through the Salar is too much, it’s easy to half the walking time but taking the local bus.

Located on the road where you entered Colchani is a small bus stop and office. Buses leave from here to Llica, a town hidden on the opposite end of the Salar. We are certain that there are at least two or three companies with buses running between 11.30 am-12.30 pm. If you have arrived even earlier you may need to check on arrival when the next bus passes by.

The idea is to take the bus to the Dakar monument, outside the Hotel de Sal Playa Blanca and the flags of many nations, to then walk back to Colchani. The bus should cost no more than 10B-15B (€1.25-€1.90), if even that! It’s a quick journey so don’t allow them to rip you off! If you were to take the 12 p.m. bus, it would allow you at least 5 hours to explore the Salar before sundown. Plenty of time, and more time than you will have on any booked tour.

Back to Uyuni:

As the sun began to sink, we decided to walk no further and return to Colchani. Our plan was to head back out through Colchani, towards the highway to catch any bus on its way to Uyuni.

With the Palacio de Sal in sight but at least an hour to go, a small pickup truck started beeping and waving us down. To our luck, the driver was heading to Uyuni. We jumped in the back and sped home, for free. We never considered hitchhiking out of the Salar. So stick out the thumb and ears open. We hitchhiked out of the Salar the following day too and we were picked up instantly, so it is the norm. The one thing we did learn is that no 4×4 will collect you, especially the tour jeeps. So aim for the trucks or local cars.

Worst case, keep walking in and out of Colchani, and head for the highway as many buses pass, and once flagged down, they’ll stop.

All in all, the above cost us 10B (€1.25) each excluding the odd bathroom break in Colchani and the Salt Hotel. And even if you do decide to take the bus it still only comes in at 20B-25B (€2.50-€3.12), not a bad price to visit one of the world’s most impressive natural attractions.

Two-Day DIY Salar Trip:

As we mentioned earlier, we spent two days exploring the Salar. Mostly to figure out how to do it, and to see whether it was worth doing without a tour.

Based on our first day alone, where we walked the entire day, we were extremely satisfied. However, our salty itch wasn’t exactly scratched as we still yearned to fly across the salt flats on four wheels. You know, just go for a spin.

So on day two, we did just that by visiting Llica, an isolated and very untouristy little town not too far from the Chilean border. We packed an overnight bag just in case and brought even more water and snacks.

Apologies if you have read the above, as there may be some repetitive information. We could put some extra time into sharing the above but written in a different way but to be honest, we cannot be arsed. We did however shorten it down, but feel free to skip what you know.

There is not a whole lot missed if you do not choose the two-day option. We enjoyed the jaunt across the salt flats and a ramble around Llica. So much so that we stayed the night there in basically a building site of the first and only hostel to be erected in the area. We had fun meeting our hosts’ family and sharing some stories over the dinner table. We made a lot of memories which added to our personal Salar experience.

If you do decide to adventure for two days, obviously you will need to stay in Llica for the night so bring an overnight bag. To save on money, check out of your hostel in Uyuni and ask to leave your backpacks in storage. Mention to your hostel that you will require another night on your return, and maybe reserve the night.

Ready to set off, here is what you can expect to see across the two days.

  •  Cementerio de Tren
  •  Colchani Town
  •  Salt Flats: Inchuasi
  • Llica Town
  •  Crater de Ulo
  • Salt Flats: salt hotel and flag of many nations
  • Salt Flats: Ojos del Sal

Cementerio de Tren:

We still recommend starting your morning at the Train Cemetery (Cementerio de Tren), it really is spectacular to see.

To get there, head to Avenida Potosí and with your back to the Plaza take a left and walk straight for about 15 minutes until you reach the bottom of the road. Across the distance, on your left, you should be able to see large shadows up ahead. Follow the dusty road until you reach the old train tracks, then follow the tracks. The train cemetery will soon appear.

The sunrise is between 5.30 and 5.50 am, so leave your hostel no later than 4.45 am/5 am.

You will have plenty of time to return to the hostel before checkout. Once satisfied with the morning’s explorations and views, return, check out, have some breakfast and head straight to the bus terminal.

Colchani Town:

If taking an hour from your morning to learn about the process and production of salt in Bolivia’s main manufacturing hub for salt sounds of interest, then you will need to be in Colchani no later than 11.30 am.

From the bus street in Uyuni, take any bus or collectivo heading to Oruro and tell the driver you want to stop at Cochani. The quick 20-minute journey costs 5B (€0.62) pp and the bus will drop you at the town’s entrance.

Visit the small market street (but since only tours visit here everything, even the toilet prices, are hiked up) and the local museums. The free museums hold impressive salt statues, and the main production museum costs 5B (€0.62) to enter. It’s small so the tour is quite quick.

Aim to finish up with Colchani’s little attractions by 12.15 pm at the latest and head back towards the main road you walked in. On the left-hand side is a small bus stop and ticket office. The next destination on the DIY Salar tour is Llica town. Two different bus companies run a service from Uyuni, so buses will arrive at Colchani between 12.30pm and 1pm at the price of 25B-30B (€3.12-€3.75).

Llica Town:

We heard about a beautiful, rarely visited town that sits on the opposite side of the Salar. In fact, there are many fewer tourist towns that surround the Salar but Llica and its nearby landscape fully fitted with a volcano were appealing to us. We spoke to our host in Uyuni who spoke highly of it and was surprised we had even heard of the hidden town.

We brought a small overnight bag and left our main backpacks stored in the hostel at no extra charge. Since we visited Colchani the previous day, we left for Llica from Uyuni. So if you wish to skip Colchani, you can do so but be sure to arrive at the Uyuni ‘bus street’ before midday.

All buses to Llica are at the further end of Avenida Arce (the bus street). Trans Zulema has two departures per day 12 pm and 5 pm for 30B (€3.75) per person. Another company, and the one we travelled with is Trans Asunción. Similar to the above, buses leave daily at 12.30 pm and 5 pm for 30B (€3.75). The journey itself takes 2.5 hours.

If you can, be sure to book the two front seats for incredible views.

The bus makes a quick stop in Colchani, before driving straight onto the white earth and directly across the Salar, alongside tour jeeps, salt trucks and local cars. The white, bright glare is monotonous but spectacular. Alongside the hum of Spanish, the loud 80s ballads (thank you driver!) and that ‘rough and ready’ authentic feel; travelling with locals is our favourite part of any journey, and sorry to say but for us, this alone beats any tour.

If you didn’t get to visit the Hotel de Sal Playa Blanca with all the flags outside, you will have the chance to view it from the window as the bus passes by. Not ideal but it’s just a hotel made of salt with world flags outside. Besides, it’s easy to visit on your way back to Uyuni, but more on that later.

After another hour or so, funnily enough, the bus stops at a number of tourist attractions included on the Salar Tour.

Inchuasi, the island full of 1,000-year-old cacti plants that sit over 4 metres high being one. The bus stopped long enough for us to have a closer look and take a few photos. A nice little surprise we didn’t expect. And again being honest, upon viewing it, it’s most definitely not worth the 30B (€3.75) entry fee that you will need to pay if you travel with a tour.

Next is the Island of the Fish, coming up on the left. OK, so the bus doesn’t stop here and passes quite close. Unless this is a must-see for you, it doesn’t seem like we’re missing out on much by not visiting on foot.

There are a number of other, small hill islands all of which are named on Google Maps i.e. Turtle Island etc. but nothing truly amazing. I suppose the only thing quite “wow” is the fact that vegetation grows within such a peculiar landscape, being the salt flats.

Soon the endless white glare will disappear and the blank desert-like surroundings will be replaced with volcanoes.

The bus drives along a man-made road of flattened mud. An army barracks sits at the town entrance, the barricade rises and we drive under the ‘Welcome to Llica’ arch. A town that is a lot bigger than what we saw from the distance. Stepping off the bus provided an experience, as a local man sucking on a bag of yoghurt, stopped me to shake my hand and welcome us. Kids paused to stare and some even ran over to take a closer look. It was all quite amusing.

Towns like this fill us with so much joy and experience, and all we have to do is simply walk the streets.

We then met Franz, who was in the middle of building his hostel, called Residencial Castro. He invited us to stay at 50B (€6.25) per night, kitchen included. Unfortunately, he had no Wi-Fi since the building was still under construction. He also said we couldn’t enter the building until later that day after they took down the scaffolding. Only in Bolivia, eh?

We asked Franz what was best to do while visiting Llica, considering it was only 3 p.m. He told us that on the left-hand side of town, near the entrance there is a 5km hike to Mirador that overlooks the town and Salar. He also recommended a hike to the nearby town of Pella, another small isolated village that sits in secret, in between the mountains. It’s a two-hour hike each way across the dead and dry landscape saturated with grazing Llamas, so if you wish to spend more than one night in Llica, we suggest the above.

What is possible to do on the same afternoon and still arrive safely back to Llica by sundown is the Crater de Ulo. A unique site that Fran called “our mini salar” since it’s a small salt lake formed within a low volcano crater. Wow! Visit Franz in Residencial Castro for more information. The hostel is one street from the plaza, leave the plaza from the corner near the church and take the first left.

Unfortunately, we spent so much time enquiring about things to do, that we didn’t actually have the time to visit any, but if you can please share some photos!

Instead, we explored the streets, spoke to locals and enjoyed this adorable little discovery. We then returned to the hostel which was finally open to cook in the family’s shared kitchen where we then sat and ate in the company of Franz’s 10-year-old daughter Andrea.

A confident, intelligent and very talkative little lady, she told us the story of Cinderella in Spanish, helped me practise my new second language, and was empathetic by speaking slowly and repeating every word to ensure I understood. She then sang and taught us some songs in Aymara, the local indigenous language.

Hitting the hay early, we were up and ready to catch the 12:30 p.m. bus back to Uyuni with Trans 19 de Noviembre. This time it only cost us 20B (€2.50).

Hatching a new plan, we decided to ask the bus driver to drop us off at the Dakar statue, where the Hotel de Sal PLAYA Blanca and the flag of many nations were. We arrived at 2.30 pm and from there, walked 12 km back to Colchani, enjoying the salty Salar one last time.

We had plenty of time to pop into the salt hotel flags of many nations flapping outside. We found the Irish flag and spent too much time debating its colours with an Italian man, who was certain it was a washed-out green, white and red not green, white and orange. But men are colour-blind and we claimed it anyway.

While on our little lost walk, we found the perfect place to take those famous Salar de Uyuni photos between the Dakar monument and Colchani.

To take the best photo, use manual settings on your camera and play around with the focus, ensure the sun doesn’t cast a shadow in front (the side is fine!) and try to avoid having Colchani town or the monument visible in the background.

All “vogued out” we started the relatively easy hour-and-a-half walk back to Colchani by staying adjacent to the darkened tyre marks.

As soon as we hit the Colchani dirt road, large trucks simultaneously appeared. Learning from our precious Salar hitchhiking experience, out the thumb went and before you knew it we were pulled up onto the back of a large salt truck.

Sitting on the mountain of salt, the driver took us all the way back to Uyuni, his home. Never will he know that his offer was the perfect ending to our two days of DIY-ing around the world’s largest salt flats. I mean, leaving it while clinging onto a mountain of salt, there’s no better way to leave, is there?!

Yet again, it shows that sometimes steering clear of tours can mean your own personalised adventure. Affordable, cheap, or money well spent, we won’t argue that the value for money for the 1 or 3-day Salar de Uyuni tour is worth it, especially considering what you will see.

And although there were plenty of additional attractions that we did miss out on by not taking a tour, we have zero regrets and that is exactly why we thought to write and share this blog.

For the people like us who prefer to go it alone, are OK when it comes to not “seeing everything” and instead courageously step into the unknown with a sense of a self-made adventure, self-trust, excitement and unpredictability, there is always a way around not booking a tour. No matter how many people tell you it’s impossible! And sure, you do save a few bob. More money to spend on food, we say! Hurrah!

All in all our two days cost us 160B (€20) for the two of us, including transport and accommodation in Llica, excluding our little food shop for the two days which was roughly an extra 20B (€2.50).

So whatever method you choose, have a fantastic safe and salty adventure guys. We certainly did!

A cheeky little note to mention that while our blog is our baby, we do this for sheer passion, and love and want to help others to travel the routes we do and in ways that we do it – the scabbiest way possible! We don’t make an income from blogging, there is no sponsored content or #ad going on with us – instead, we work to earn a very small but helpful income by providing low-cost websites, teaching English online and, being scabby!

Between all the adventures, photos, laughs and disasters, is the note-taking, sourcing information, researching options, making mistakes and, well, more disasters!

So for whatever mental reason you feel like you would like to support what we do, you can! Simply #FeedAnUngraceful today by either donating the price of a cuppa tea or becoming a sponsor of our blog and adventures on our Patreon account. 

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  1. Aye awesome post and what an adventure! We are leaving Sucre today for Uyuni and fortunately came across this post. we had thought a tour was required until reading this but we are certainly doing your two day trip sin guide. Thanks for the awesome detail, it sounds like an incredible trip. We also hate tours for all of the same reasons. Our plan is to do one or two of the hikes from Llica which you mention, so we will try and let you know how they go. Thanks!

    1. Ah thanks so much guys! So jealous you guys are headed out into the salar! It was one of our absolute highlights in Bolivia… and that’s saying a lot as I’m sure you know!

      It’s great to know the info was useful to you, and such a pleasure for us to know we were able to contribute in some small way to your adventure. Bring plenty of water and start thinking about your cool perspective shots before you get there, you don’t wanna be trying to improvise them on the day trust us hahaha!

      Keep us in the loop, we’ll be dying to hear how you get on. Keep living the dream

      Luke and Katie

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