It’s 7:00 and I am sitting in a 4×4 vehicle squeezed between a Frenchman and Englishman (Chris). The Englishman has got the wide shoulders of an ex-Marine and the Frenchman has got the world’s longest legs which keep invading my leg space. As neither of them can help it I put up with it as going on an Uyuni Salt Flats tour has been my dream for years – and not even a long-legged Frenchman and a broad-shouldered Englishman could spoil this trip for me. 😉

The 3-day jeep tour across the Bolivian salt flats took us to landscapes that looked out of this world. With every further hour we drove the backdrop changed completely into yet another surreal landscape. The first stop on our tour was to a train cemetery. It is in the desert just outside of Uyuni and the entire area is lined with rusty old train wrecks. It was quite a weird sight but it was like a giant playground for adults wanting to climb onto and into all the train wrecks.

salt flat tour train wreckssalt flat tour train cemetaryOur next stop on the salt flat tour was Incahuasi island, a little island in the middle of nowhere that is covered with thousands of cacti. There is not much wildlife and vegetation at all in the salt flats as it is a viciously hostile environment, but somehow this weird little island survives and even flourishes. We hiked up to the top of the island past cacti that were 1,000 years old and the view from the top was just breath-taking. salt flat tour Incahuasi island

salt flat tour Incahuasi island cacti

salt flat tour Incahuasi island cacti 2

salt flat tour incahuasi islandIf there is one word to describe the Uyuni Salt Flats it is vast (ok, ‘salty’ would be another good one). They cover an area of 10,582 square kilometres and they were formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. These lakes are now covered by a few meters of salt crust, so if you dig long enough you will eventually hit water.

salt flat tour salt flats

salt flat tour dakar rally

The vast landscape is the perfect setting for the famous Dakar Rally

salt flat tour jeep

This 4×4 vehicle looks very small indeed in the vast salt flats

I have never seen such a bizarre landscape in my life. Literally everything is made out of salt, even the houses and the furniture within the houses. It is also the perfect place to take photos that play with perspective. Like every other traveller of course we took the obligatory perspective photograph too, which to this day has been the most popular photo on our Facebook page.

salt flat tour salt

salt flat tour salt hotel

A house completely build out of salt

salt flat tour perspective shot

Chris was naughty so I put him in the naughty hat

salt flat tour tammy yoga poseDuring the rainy season the salt flats turn into a huge natural mirror. We visited at the end of the rainy season so there wasn’t as much rain, but nevertheless we saw some beautiful mirrored images of the clouds in the salt flats. The rain turned the otherwise harsh looking salt flats into a dream-like landscape. It really was stunning.

salt flat tour mirror

salt flat tour tammy in salt flats

salt flat tour mirror

salt flat tour sunset

The first day of our Uyuni salt flat tour was amazing, but check out part 2 and part 3, which will bring you even more bizarre and beautiful landscapes.

Have you ever visited the Uyuni Salt Flats? If so what did you think? Please do tell me in the comment section below.

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About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

22 Thoughts on “Bolivian Salt Flat Tour Part 1: Exploring the largest salt flats in the world

  1. chris on June 11, 2014 at 10:47 am said:

    i visited the salt flats in december and was there on christmas day – my first white christmas! such an amazing place and so far it’s been the highlight of my time in south america.

    • Tammyonthemove on June 11, 2014 at 8:09 pm said:

      Wow, Christmas at the salt flats must have been very special, Chris. What a beautiful way to spend Christmas.

  2. Ah the memories! I’m loving reading your blog posts! Great photos too! Sadly, we missed the last day and a half of the tour because there were protests and a road block, but it was still incredible.
    Arianwen recently posted…Melbourne Kayak Tours on the YarraMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on June 11, 2014 at 8:10 pm said:

      Thanks Ari! 🙂 Oh no, what a shame about the roadblock. Luckily we haven’t had any so far. Fingers crossed!

  3. I’ve heard of these salt flats but I’ve never visited before. It is so beautiful and so unique – I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It is hard to picture how vast it actually is from photographs – yours are amazing, though I’m sure it is very different to actually see it with your own eyes!
    Lauren recently posted…Tourist In Our Town: Kariya Park in MississaugaMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on June 11, 2014 at 8:14 pm said:

      Thanks Lauren. It is definitely different seeing them with your own eyes. The photos really can’t portrait how massive the salt flats are. You should go to see for yourself. 🙁

  4. I haven’t been to the salt flats, but now I really want to go! Your pictures absolutely amazing. I’d love to see this place in person. I can’t wait to read more about your time there 🙂
    Justine recently posted…A Backpacker’s Debate: Southeast Asia vs. South AmericaMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on June 14, 2014 at 8:19 am said:

      Thanks so much Justine. It was incredible. I have never seen anything like it. You should definitely go if you get a chance.

  5. Love your story and pictures! I have heard so much about Uyuni – guess t would be so worth taking the trip. If only Bolivia wasn’t that far away…
    Anna recently posted…Dubai, the Desert, and a Huge PlaygroundMy Profile

  6. Love the train wreck, and I love your photos.. that is a wonderful view.. are the houses built from salt strong? can it be licked? 😀

    • Tammyonthemove on June 18, 2014 at 6:16 am said:

      Ha ha, yes the salt can be licked. I tried it. 🙂 Apart from the roof everything is made out of salt. The floor, the furniture and the walls are all made out of salt.

  7. I love your photos guys and what brilliant sunshine. I have never visited the Uyuni Salt Flats or Bolivia for that matter, but it sure looks good!
    Victoria recently posted…A light, a camera, and a broken arm: Action and drama at the Berlin Music Video Awards.My Profile

  8. Hey

    Im also looking for some information about the tour during christmas coz so many people said the most reliable tour companies will be closed during christmas and there’s the problem of drunk drivers during this period.

    I really want to give my boyfriend a white christmas as he never experienced that before. But considering the tour problem, Im thinking of changing the trip earlier during 20-22 Dec maybe. So we can leave uyuni before Chirstmas coz there’s nothing to see in the town except the tour I guess. But if we can book a good and safe tour covering christmas maybe 22-25, that would be the best!

    Could u give me some suggestions about tours in Uyuni? thank u very much! 🙂

    • Tammyonthemove on November 21, 2014 at 7:44 am said:

      Hey, unfortunately I don’t know if companies close down for xmas. It would really surprise me though. If you want to be on the save side you can always book your tour in advance rather than when you get there. All operators in Uyuni work together anyway, so even if you book with a good agency you may end up with the driver of another one if they cant fill their cars. I booked with Paula Tours and was very happy with everything. Good luck, you will find it amazing, I’m sure.

  9. We are really kicking ourselves for missing Bolivia when we were in South America in 2013. Everyone we talk raves about it, hoping to get there in 2016 .
    Hannah @Getting Stamped recently posted…Portraits of Holi FestivalMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on March 19, 2015 at 1:53 pm said:

      We know a lot of people who didn’t like Bolivia, as the people supposedly aren’t as friendly as in the rest of Latin America, however we only had good experiences and loved Bolivia and the people.

  10. I’d love to get to the salt flats, would make for some great photographs. Your pictures are great like usual.
    Carrie @Jetwayz recently posted…Best Time to see the Northern Lights in IcelandMy Profile

  11. Great pictures.. Place looks really amazing.

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