Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is a photographer's heaven for great reasons. There is no lack of opportunity for world class photo-taking in this part of the world. With a guide who is knowledgeable in landscape photography and this area, you will be guided through a whirldwind of unforgettable photography moments. Don't miss out on a once in a lifetime chance to indulge in the natural beauty and landscapes of Bolivia!
Day 1 Arrival in La Paz, Bolivia – City Tour
Arrive in La Paz early in the AM. The altitude at El Alto International Airport is 13,200 ft and is on the Altiplano, so it’s common to feel symptoms of light-headedness, shortness of breath and slight nausea upon arrival. After doing immigration and customs you’ll be met by us at the general passenger meeting point where you will board our private vehicle and head down into La Paz, losing altitude quickly, and likely feeling much better. We suggest you have a basic photo kit easily accessible so you can take photos along the way. The hotel is located in the Valley of the Moon sector at the lowest level of La Paz (approximately around 10,500’) where you will check in and rest, relax or sleep for the rest of the morning. Lunch at the hotel. At 2 PM we begin a 3-hour city tour of this fascinating city deep in the heart of the Andes; visiting the busy downtown, the open air markets, and the colonial neighborhoods with great views of the city. Dinner is on your own tonight and we recommend a light dinner at the hotel. Avoid alcohol and caffeine tonight and drink plenty of water and mate de coca during the day. (L)
Day 2 La Paz – Tiwanaku & Lake Titicaca – La Paz
Continuing the acclimatization process and still see amazing things we head to Tiwanaku and Lake Titicaca on a day trip today. We depart to Tiwanaku after breakfast for an in-depth tour of this pre-Inca port city with a professional bi-lingual guide who will explain the history of Tiwanaku, the Incas and the ties with modern Bolivian society. Lunch in Tiwanaku. A short drive puts us on the shores of Lake Titicaca to see it’s beautiful blue waters, the highest navigable lake in the world at 12,500 feet. We journey back to La Paz in the afternoon crossing the Andes once again and be back at the hotel in the late afternoon. Dinner on your own tonight. Overnight at Hotel Oberland (3*). (B,L)
Day 3 La Paz – Uyuni
Our destination today is Uyuni, the gateway city to the Salar de Uyuni (approximately a 9-hour drive, depending on road conditions) with a great variety of Altiplano terrain to enjoy en-route. After climbing out of the canyon of La Paz we head south on the paved road towards Oruro (a mining city and famous Carnaval venue) in order to gas up and have lunch. We continue south (in between Lake Poopo to the west and the Andes mountains to the east) along the Altiplano with ever-changing interesting vistas until the paved road ends. From here a few more hours on dirt roads will get us to Colchani, the entryway to the Salar de Uyuni, and 30 more minutes puts us in Uyuni. After a rest, we head out for dinner in Uyuni. Overnight at Hotel La Magia de Uyuni (3*) (B,L,D)
DAY 4 Astrophotography During Wet Season - Enjoy the Mirror
The tour starts at 15:00pm. First, you go to a small town called (COLCHANI) located close to the shore of salt flats People in this town are all salt miners so we go to visit them and see the salt production (table salt) that they make in rustic refineries… (Factories). After that you go in to salt flats to enjoy the biggest salt flats in the world and the first thing to visit in there is the salt hostel (MUSIUM HOTEL PLAYA BLANCA) for pictures.Later you go deep inside in the salt flats and enjoy the mirror effects because of the water on top of it. This effect makes the horizon disappear and you feel like flying.Then you will relax and enjoy a glass of wine while watching the spectacular sunset in the salts. Once it gets totally dark, you will see the countless stars that can be watched from this big open area.
The tour returns back to Uyuni at 22:00 pm.
DAY 5 Uyuni Sold Flat Incahiasi Island Village Santiago Agencha
From your hotel, leaving at 11:00 am. in a Toyota land cruiser 4×4 drive you will see the train’s graveyard to see the first locomotives in Bolivia. Afterwards, you go to the small village of Colchani (Salt miners workshop next to the salt flats) visit the factories and see the rustic way of table salt production. After this, you will be taken to the great salt flat of Uyuni (salar de Uyuni) where you first will see the salt mining and the piles of salt (pyramids of salt). You then go to see the eyes of the salt ( big holes in the salt flat where the water from underneath of this death lake still comes out by high pressure). Later you go straight to the hotel made out of salt (the only hotel allowed inside of the salt flats) where you take your time for pictures taking a look of the rooms, salt sculptures and the lobby of the hotel (Playa Blanca) and having lunch in the same place. After lunch, you will go to the central point of the salt which is the Incahuasy island (fish island) where you see the giant cactus and the coral Rock formations. There will be always time to stop in the middle of the salt to see the unusual formations in the salt flat. And something that you definitely have to do here is to take photos! After some fun, you go west direction to the small Village of Santiago de Agencha to spend the first night. Arriving in there you will enjoy some hot coffee or chocolate and later a delicious supper for dinner.
ACCOMMODATION: (salt hotel – private toilets)
DAY 6 Village Santiago Agencha Baños
This day starts at 7:00 am. Wake up for breakfast and then get ready to begin an amazing day (check out the rooms when packing up and don’t leave anything). After an hour of driving, you reach the small desert of Chiguana south side of Uyuni salt flat. This desert is surrounded by many volcanoes - dormant ones, extinct ones and one Semi active called Ollague (5840 high) which you see from the lookout. Afterwards, we head south to see the Andean lagoons where hundreds of flamingos are hanging around. You'll spot three species of flamingos. Afterwards, we go farther south to the big desert of Siloli at 4550 high (the highest and driest in the world). Once you cross this desert, n the other side of it, you will see the Rock tree (lava cooled- rock formation). Later that day the last stop will be in the amazing Red Lagoon to see some pink flamingos and the redness of the water from the view point. Afterwards the car will take you to the top of a big volcano called Sol de Mañana 5000 high where you get in to the crater and see the fumaroles and boiling mad pots (volcanic activity 100 Cº hot). Afterwards, you go down to our shelter point (basic accommodation, big dorms for 5 or 6 people) to spend the second night where dinner is waiting for you. We recommend after dinner to drink a glass of wine in darkness and watch the stars in the hot springs located 100 meters from the shelter.
DAY 7 Baños Salvador Dali Uyuni
The day starts around 7:00 am. Enjoy a good breakfast (some pancakes, yogurt, milk, corn flakes etc….) to get energy for the rest of the day. This day starts by visiting the Salvador Dali Desert (small colorful nice desert). And then, we visit the Green Lake (toxic copper water at the foot of the big volcano Licancahur 6000 high). From green lake, we make our way back to Uyuni on a 7 hour ride. We stop for lunch along the way as we reach Uyuni around 6pm.
Day 8 Uyuni – Potosi
Our direction today is northeast to Potosi – the sky-high imperial colonial city that made the Spanish rich. The drive is a little over 3 hours on a new paved road with impressive views to enjoy along the way. The terrain and scenery along the way encompasses river canyons, rugged mountains and mining centers that are still active after centuries of exploitation. The red earth and weeping willows are a beautiful contrast to the desert-like Altiplano we just left. In the late morning we will arrive in the world’s highest major city, Potosi that sits at 3,960 meters /12,989 feet. We will have lunch in Potosi upon arrival. After checking-in to our hotel, we visit the Casa de la Moneda, the Spanish Mint, where we will get a lesson in the cultural complexity that is part of the Bolivian historical tapestry. Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at Hostal Santa Teresa (3*). (B,L,D)
Day 9 Potosi – Cayara
Today, we get to experience what manual labor is all about as we visit a mine cooperative in the heart of the Cerro Rico. The visit will put in perspective the struggle these miners have in making a living underground using antiquated methods – not an easy life. After the sobering visit, we’ll have lunch, then head down and spend the night in a colonial-era hacienda called Cayara. This is a living museum and a working hacienda; hence, a great place to re-live Bolivia’s colorful history and life in the Spanish colonial. The hacienda sits well below Potosi and is about 30-minutes away next to an idyllic village made of stone walls and multi-colored cultural plots. We freshen up before having dinner at the hostal. Overnight at Hostal Cayara (3*) (B,L,D)
Day 10 Cayara – Oruro – La Paz
The drive to La Paz is long but pretty spectacular because it stays high in the mountains for the first half of the trip and it’s on a paved road all the way to La Paz so, it’s fast and comfortable. Along the way you will see multi-colored valleys, high peaks, green puna with llamas and alpacas grazing. The closer we get to La Paz you will see the glacier-covered peaks of the Cordillera Real rising above the Altiplano. The scenery is truly amazing and should provide plenty of visual appeal along the entire route. We should arrive in La Paz in the early evening. Group dinner at a local restaurant to celebrate a wonderful and adventurous journey of the Bolivian highland region. Overnight at Hotel El Rey Palace (4*). (B,L,D)
Day 11 La Paz – Home
Today marks the official end of this photo trek & tour but we provide complimentary shuttle service to the airport the next day. Please let us know your flight schedule ahead of time to coordinate the shuttle service.
NOTE: Consulting with your doctor prior to joining the trip is recommended. It is highly suggested that you familiarize yourself with the hazards and risks of high altitude trekking. Please be advised that by joining this trip, you are assuming the ALL risks associated with high altitude trekking, outdoor activities, and adventure travels outside the United States as noted in the Liability Waiver form. A completed & signed Liability Waiver form and travel insurance to cover 100% trip cost, emergency medical and evacuation are REQUIRED to join this trip. After completing your trip booking and deposit, you will be required to purchase the required travel insurance by the trip balance due date. Failure to obtain adequate travel insurance will result in cancellation of your booking and loss of trip deposit.
This trek is STRENUOUS given the high altitude and the possible low temperatures. You must be physically fit, in good health, and preferably with recent backpacking/hiking experience.
PRICE: CONTACT US
Balance is 45 days prior to the trip departure.
DEPOSIT: A non-refundable deposit is required to book. After you send your booking form, waiver liability & terms & conditions forms, you will be directed to the payment page which outlines your options for payment.
Please read the TERMS & CONDITIONS and LIABILITY WAIVER before booking.
All meals as per itinerary
10 nights accommodation
Photographer Guide in English
Transfer to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile (optional
Hotel before/after trek
Tip for your guide(s) and trek staff are optional but highly encouraged if you enjoy your trek
WHAT TO BRING:
Torch and batteries
Warm clothes for the night, bathing suit, light layers for the morning
Towel and flip flops
Money for the park entrances fee and toilets on the way
International flights are excluded. Clients must book their own flights and send a copy of their flight itinerary by e-mail to no later than the trip balance due date.
VISA: You will be responsible for obtaining your visa in advance. Bolivia requires a tourist visa and is best to obtain this before flying out. Check with the Bolivian Embassy for details.
TRAVEL INSURANCE REQUIRED:
After making a deposit, you are required to obtain appropriate travel insurance through Travel Guard or other insurance of your choice that should cover at a minimum 100% of the trip cost (land & air), emergency medical and evacuation for high altitude trekking of up to 5000 meters. Proof of travel insurance must be provided via electronic mail to no later than the trip balance due date. Failure to obtain travel insurance by the trip balance due date will result in cancellation and no refund of your trip deposit and/or applicable cancellation fees as noted in the Terms & Conditions.
Note: If you opt to buy your insurance from a company other than Travel Guard, please ensure that the insurance you purchase covers high altitude trekking as there are only a select number of companies that provide such type of coverage.
Upon booking, you will receive trip notes that include the recommended gear list and additional logistical information.
meet your guide
Trek Coordinator & Guide