Our honeymoon tour starts in one of the most beautiful and scenic locations of Bolivia, the Bolivian salt flats. This is the first part of our honeymoon tour series where we’ll give you a run down of what we did and how we did it.
Before we dive into the details of this amazing trip, let’s discuss why we broke our honeymoon up into small trips. The first was to allow breaks in between constant binge traveling. This allows us to refocus and rejuvenate our bodies and minds and therefore get the most out of every trip without feel fatigue or tired. The second reason we decided to break our honeymoon into smaller trips was to reduce the cost of our flights significantly. We noticed that by purchasing return airfares to and from Santiago Chile allowed us to score some awesome deals as compared to flying one way around various countries.
Why did you choose to travel to Bolivia for your honeymoon?
For our honeymoon, we decided to travel different parts of South America that we haven’t explored yet. Living in Chile for almost 2 years, we were so busy with our wedding and our business that we did not have the time to take a vacation. We made the decision to travel around South America because we were currently living in Santiago Chile at the time and thought it would be a good way to take advantage of the cheap flights and living so close, we thought why not!
Bolivia has always been one of our top places to visit and traveling around South America has been one of our goals for years. We never had the money or time to travel around and took advantage of the opportunity. Bolivia is full of culture and beauty that we were very curious about it.
Getting to the Bolivian salt flats tour
In Bolivia, we decided to do a 3 day Bolivian salt flats tour. Upon doing the research, the Bolivian Salt Flats seemed to be one of the main tourist attractions in the country and a great one at that. If you look online, you’ll some amazing photos and reviews on what you can experience. There are two choices of tours; either 1 or 3 days tour. We opted for a 3 day tour because we felt like if we really wanted to get the complete experience, we should go for 3 days and explore other parts of Bolivia while we were there. We also planned to go to cross the boarder to Chile for more honeymooning fun and the 3 day tour was perfect as it takes you directly to the boarder.
We flew directly to La Paz, the capital city of Bolivia and stayed here for a few days to get use to the altitude. Most parts of Bolivia are 3500 meters above sea level, making it difficult to breathe if you are not use to such high altitudes. A common issue people can experience is altitude sickness where some tourists have even been emitted to the hospital. To read more on our La Paz experience, you can go here.
After spending 2 nights in La Paz, we then headed over to Uyuni by bus. The bus ride is about 13 hours in total, though we arrived quite late to Uyuni. It was an overnight bus leaving at 9PM and was suppose to arrive in Uyuni at 7am. The bus driver drove very slow due to safety hazards and as a result, we arrived at 9am. There’s not much happening in Uyuni. This place was a small city and the only stop where travelers can commence their salt flats tour and thus the only purpose of going there.
Although we did plenty of research beforehand in selecting the best tour company, because we arrived in Uyuni late and didn’t book anything beforehand as the prices online for salt flat tours can be on the pricey side, we ended up having fewer options than we thought.
Expecting a pool of people haggling us to go on their tour, there was only two people from two companies. The first company that approached us was on our blacklist of tour companies. They were notoriously known for their drunk diving, bad service and lies. We quickly avoided them and took our chances with a small family run company that we had never heard of nor seen positive reviews about online.
Before committing to them, we found a restaurant nearby with decent internet access and checked online for further information. There was only one bad review online out of a few and a number of good reviews. The bad review went into extensive detail on how bad the tour company was. We made sure that upon booking with them, that the driver named in the bad review was not our driver and double checked all the safety tips and suggestions found on other salt flat tour reviews. This reassured us that we would be firstly safe but also enjoy our 3 day tour.
The tour cost around $90USD (600 Bolivianos) per person for 2 nights, 3 days all inclusive. This meant that all our meals were included and transport. The only thing you might need to pay for would be snacks, water, toilet paper and the entrance fee for the national park. If you plan to travel to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile afterwards (which is what we did), you’ll also need to pay 50 Bolivianos for the exit fee.
Day 1: Uyuni, Colchani, Incahuasi, Isla del Pescado and Atulcha
Our tour started at 10am with the first stop at the local train cemetery. This is located just a few minutes outside of the main center of Uyuni. There are a large number of abandoned rusting trains that remain unused for decades. Our tour guide told us that these trains were traditionally used to transport resources and minerals but are now a tourist attraction. It was fun climbing up the trains and running around the old train tracks.
Next we stopped at a local village called Colchani where we were able to see the abundance of salt in the area and how this salt was processed. There were also small markets selling handy crafts made by locals. We only stayed here a short time as our group decided to leave a little earlier so that we could arrive in the next stop first and thus had photos without loads of other people in the shot. One thing to remember is that all the tours run at the same time at the beginning and therefore, you’ll notice there are heaps of tourists and jeeps on the same path as you.
Driving towards the next stop, you are in the middle of Salar de Uyuni, otherwise known as the salt flats. It’s so peaceful and beautiful to drive by. We stopped several times to take in the moment and also took some great shots. As you can see, the entire ground is made from salt and there were even small piles of salt. We also stopped in Incahuasi for a quick lunch break and continued our way through the salt flats.
In the middle of Salar de Uyuni, there lies the Isla del Pescado. This is known as an island and apparently in the rainy season it is surrounded by water! Wish we could of seen that but what we experienced was equally magical. Upon arrival, we were given about 2 hours to visit Isla del Pescado. There is a small entrance fee of about 15 Bolivianos. There’s a trail that you can walk to get the best view of the whole area. This walk took us probably 1 hour to complete as the hike up was difficult due to the altitude. We had to stop several times due to the heat and lack of shade. The area is filled with really big cactus trees. We’ve never seen a cactus in real life yet a whole army of them in the middle of no where! It was such an amazing place.
We then had plenty of free time to take our perspective photos and action shots in the amazing salt flats. We took a moment to appreciate where we were, in the world’s largest salt flat. Albie, who use to be part of a local break dancing group (he in fact entered into competitions!) decided to do some break dancing moves on the salt flats. We also brought along a few things to do our perspective photos with.
Next we hopped back into the car to make our way towards Atulcha, a small town. This was a good 1-2 hour drive before we reached the area just in time for more free time in the salt flats while watching the sunset.
After watching the sunset in Salar de Uyuni, we were then taken to our first accommodation at Kachi Wasi located in a small town called Atulcha. This hotel is made completely out of salt! We enjoyed a wonderful dinner cooked by the locals and quickly took a warm shower before heading off to bed for our 6am start in the morning.
Day 2: Atulcha, Paso Leon, Laguna Colorada and more Lagunas
Starting the day before the sun came out, we quickly had breakfast at 5:30am and headed into the car 6am sharp. Our driver and tour guide was fantastic as he was always on time! Our first stop for day 2 was the Chuguana desert area. However, our driver wanted to start the day early particularly to get the sun rising over the salt flats. This was just amazing and the scenic views were really priceless to see.
We arrived in Chuguana desert where there were llamas, birds and beautiful untouched landscapes all around us. There were several rock sculptures made naturally by the intense wind known as the tree of rock.
Next we stopped at the Laguna Blanco (The white lagoon) as well as a few other lagunas. Each had it’s own beauty and we ended up having lunch at one of them. This was awesome because we were able to really take it all in.
By far the best Laguna we were able to witness with our little eyes was the Laguna Colorada. It was breath taking, like nothing we had ever seen before in our lives. It was so beautiful, untouched by mankind. There were even pink flamingos flying and feeding in the laguna.
In order for us to be able to sleep in and have a better much deserved rest, our driver suggested to go to the Geysers on day 2 instead. This was perfect as we had to drive by the Geyers anyway. We also stopped at the hot springs where we had the option to bath for about 30 minutes. However, we decided not to because it was freezing there even though the hot springs itself looked nice.
Finally arriving at the accommodation spot called Huayllajara, we headed inside for a late dinner and a long restful sleep.
Day 3: Laguna Verde
With a 8am start, we drove to Laguna Verde, which was our main stop for the day. This laguna is known for it’s green waters which is overlooking the Volcano Licancabur in the background.
Finally we headed to the boarder of Bolivia and Chile. Those in the group who did not continue on in San Pedro de Atacama headed back with the driver to Uyuni. For us, we went to the boarder, paid the exit fee, got our exit stamp and headed onto a small mini bus towards the Chilean boarder.
We hope you enjoyed following us on this amazing trip in the Bolivian salt flats. Continue along with us on the next honeymoon tour in part 2 of our Bolivian honeymoon! We continue to Isla Del Sol 🙂