Flamingos and Volcanoes

5-Day Trip including Salt Flats and Atacama jeep tour, Bolivia

Prices from £475 pp

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View day-by-day

Duration5 days / 4 nights

LocationUyuni - Salt Flats - Atacama - Uyuni

Call us 01273 322398


Set off on an unforgettable journey through one of the world's most bizarre and challenging landscapes, where geysers bubble on the surface and flamingos flock around brightly coloured lakes. Travelling by 4x4 in a small group and staying in basic lodges, you’ll pass through the beautiful Uyuni Salt Flats, before heading up to the high altitudes and strange volcanic landscapes of the Atacama Desert. This trip is low on luxury, but you will have private facilities and an English-speaking guide throughout, and we think this once-in-a-lifetime experience makes it well worth roughing it a little!

Heading to Chile? We can also arrange for your trip to finish in San Pedro de Atacama. Just speak with one of our Travel Specialists for more info.

**We can only book this trip as part of a longer itinerary, but just get in touch and we’ll talk you through the options.**

What's included

  • Accommodation – price based on 2 people sharing
  • Breakfast in Uyuni hotel
  • All meals and trasport during jeep tour
  • English-speaking driver/guide, and cook

Create your own holiday itinerary 1. Add at least 3 chosen trips to your travel plan 2. Send it our way 3. Our travel specialists will get planning and send you a quote

Location map

Your day-by-day itinerary

Arrival in Uyuni

Most people arrive in Uyuni either by air or by bus – we’ll help you arrange whichever option you prefer – and once you’ve checked into your hotel, the rest of the day is yours to explore. Uyuni is a dusty little salt-mining town at 3700m altitude, and to be honest there isn’t too much to do here, but there’s a scattering of bars and restaurants to keep you entertained for the evening. We recommend getting an early night anyhow, since the real adventure starts tomorrow.

cart in landscape

Across the Salt Flats to San Juan

This morning you’ll be picked up in a sturdy 4×4 – you’ll usually be joined in your jeep by some other travellers, depending on your group size, as well as an English-speaking guide and a cook. The trip starts off with a bang, as you’ll be heading straight to the famous Salar de Uyuni. During the dry months, the Salar is an seemingly endless sea of perfectly flat salt plain, and in the wet season a thin layer of rainwater produces an incredible mirror effect. Either way it’s a spectacular sight as you drive across the surface – just don’t forget your sunglasses!

Across the Salt Flats to San Juan

After a while you’ll reach Isla Incahuasi, an island in the middle of the salt flats which is covered by cacti – one of the only plants which can survive in this environment. Here you’ll stop for lunch with views across the expanse of the Salar, before a short trek to the other side of the island. Back in your 4×4, you’ll head to village of San Juan, on the edge of the Salar, where you’ll spend the night in a basic lodge.

A cactus island in the Bolivian Salt flats

South to the high Altiplano

The next day you’ll begin to ascend further into the Atacama – one of the driest places on earth and home to some bizarre and spectacular sights. You’ll need to take it easy and stay hydrated, to make sure the high altitude doesn’t take its toll. Today you’ll view the huge and active Ollagüe volcano (from a distance!), and see rock formations formed over millions of years which are often likened to a Salvador Dali painting. It’s really as close as most of us will get to experiencing another planet.

Man standing next to a rock in the atacama

It’s a strange quirk of nature, but flamingos thrive up here since they feed on algae which would be poisonous to most other creatures. This algae also colours the lagoons a variety of striking colours, from deep red to bright green, and it’s a fascinating sight to see these birds living here. You’ll pass by a few of these spots on the way to Laguna Colorada, at 4,300m, where your lodge for the night is situated. Again, it is very basic, and it does get very cold here at night. However, you can console yourself with one of the clearest star-filled night skies you’re likely to see.

Flamingos by a lake in the Atacama

Lakes and geysers on the way back to Uyuni

It’s an early start today, so you’ll get to see the sunrise over this lunar landscape. You’ll be ascending to around 5000m this morning, taking in the geysers at Sol de Mañana and taking the chance to bathe in 30 ºC thermal pools nearby. Next, you’ll continue to Laguna Verde – an iron-rich and vibrantly green volcano lake near the Chilean border – and the crystal clear Laguna Blanca. You’ll descend back to Laguna Colorada for lunch before you begin your journey back towards civilisation. It’s a few hours drive through the same startling landscapes, and you’ll arrive back in Uyuni in the early evening after a quick visit to the eerie train cemetery.

Thermal baths on the Altiplano

Departure from Uyuni

After a sound and well-earned sleep in your Uyuni hotel, it’s time to move on to the next stop on your Bolivian adventure….

*The itinerary described above can occasionally be a little different due to weather conditions.

customer sitting on jeep
Rickshaw Travel Specialist Ross on a boat

Speak to our Bolivia specialist, Ross

Contact our travel specialist, Ross, to plan your holiday to Bolivia.

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