Bolivia Travel Guide
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10 Ultimate Adventures to Have When Visiting Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

PHOTO: Byelikova Oksana / Shutterstock

Maximize your time in Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia with these 10 hip excursions. From biking on a salt flat to ascending a volcano, you can create your own adventure.

The most popular tourist attraction in Bolivia and one of the flattest places on earth, the Uyuni Salt Flat draws tourists eager to feel as though they left earth and stepped into an alternate universe. Travelers willing to visit such extraordinary, unconventional locations often contain an adventurous wanderlust. If this describes you, letting out your love of wild endeavors should come easily in the Bolivian desert—you will never run short of epic to-dos. If you prefer endurance sports, exploring historic sites or meditating surrounded by colorful landscapes, you will find it all near this tourism hot spot.

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PHOTO: Nomada Experience
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Bike on the Salt Flat Tour

WHERE: Uyuni, Bolivia

Whether you favor working out with friends or opt for solo fitness outings, tour companies such as the Nomada Experience provides the bikes and equipment necessary for a fast-paced adventure of viewing the Uyuni Salt Flat on two wheels. You can even create your own personalized tour if you want to travel off the typical globetrotter biking path. True stamina enthusiasts can ride 40+ miles mostly off road with or without a guide.

INSIDER TIPSummer in Bolivia lasts from December to February and often brings rain. The weather makes it challenging to bike the Salt Flat during this time. You should plan your trip accordingly.

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PHOTO: Byelikova Oksana / Shutterstock
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Meditate at the Laguna Colorada

WHERE: Sur Lípez Province, Bolivia

The main nesting center of three species of flamingos, the Laguna Colorado (translated means “Colored Lagoon”) provides Instagram-worthy photos needing no filter. This lagoon, located within the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve near the Chilean border, is famed for bold red water caused by algae, which provides nourishment for pink flamingos. You will also find a sprinkling of white borax for additional noteworthy hues. Bring a yoga mat and take some time to meditate in the reserve.

INSIDER TIPThe vast reserve makes it challenging to explore on your own. Consider hiring a guide to help you navigate the landscape; tour companies such as TourRadar offer jeep and hiking adventures for ages 18+.

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PHOTO: Inga Locmele / Shutterstock
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Climb Trains at a Train Cemetery

WHERE: Uyuni, Bolivia

The first train line running through Bolivia was located in Uyuni in 1899 and mainly used by the mining companies. The Bolivian president heralded this new form of public transportation because he believed it would elevate Bolivia’s economy, but at the same time, the indigenous people worked to destroy it. You can see and touch this part of Bolivian history at the machine cemetery known as the Train Graveyard. While there, climb and stand atop these turn-of-the-century machines for a novel view of the Bolivian desert countryside.

INSIDER TIPLocated at 11,995 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains, allow yourself a couple of days to adjust to the altitude before doing anything physical, like climbing the trains.

 

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PHOTO: Evgeny Subbotsky / Shutterstock
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Visit Archaeological Ruins of Portugalete

WHERE: Sud Chichas Province, Bolivia

Little known Portugalate makes for a reprieve from the tourist hoards you find at Uyuni, but this locale will still allow you to experience the rich, natural landscapes of Bolivia. Back in the day, Portugalete was a silver and lead mining town once invaded by the Spaniards. Now you can see its archaeological ruins in the form of cemeteries, old-fashioned mines, and stone shrines. Tour companies such as the WIZ Tours will pick you up from your hotel and take you to view the entire abandoned ruins.

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PHOTO: elleon / Shiutterstock
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Climb to Tunupa Volcano

WHERE: Uyuni, Bolivia

Standing above all of Salar de Uyuni lies the ominous Tunupa Volcano. You do not need to feel scared; the volcano remains dormant. However, it peaks at mountainous height of 17,457 feet. Not surprisingly, the volcano often contains snow-covered peaks and requires mountaineering experience to reach the top. But less-practiced hikers can still join a tour, such as the La Torre Tours, that allows you to scale the volcano with professionals. Bonus: You do not need to be in CrossFit-five-days-a-week-level shape. Reaching the 15,000-foot mark should take three to four hours for those in decent shape.

Book a Hotel

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PHOTO: Jess Kraft / Shutterstock
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Head to the Cave of Mummies

WHERE: Uyuni, Bolivia

After climbing the Tunupa Volcano, you can shake out your legs by walking to the Cave of Mummies, a nearby well-preserved ancestral burial ground. The tour inside teaches you about the culture and customs of the now called “Coquesa Mummies.” Many salt flat tours, such as the Candelaria Tours, include a visit to the cave.

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PHOTO: Aostojska /Shutterstock
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Attend a Football Game in Potosí

WHERE: Potosí, Bolivia

One of the highest cities in the world, be sure to acclimatize to the elevation before heading out to enjoy a football (or soccer in the U.S.). Potosí is home to the football team Club Real Potosí who play at the 32,000-seat capacity Estadio Victor Agustín Ugarte. The players no doubt are true athletes, as this stadium is one of the highest in the world.

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PHOTO: Laura Facchini / Shutterstock
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Head out to Salar de Chalviri

WHERE: Sur Lípez Province, Bolivia

As an alternative to Salar de Uyuni, this salar (translated means salt reserve) combines the desert with white borax and is surrounded by lagoons and a thermal spring. It remains a relatively unknown gem, as you will find only one road through it. Visitors must head to the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve to reach this salt flat, and while there, you can catch a glimpse of a mining company that exploits borax and glass.

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PHOTO: SL-Photography / Shutterstock
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Arise Early for the Sol de Mañana Geyser

WHERE: Sur Lípez Province, Bolivia

You can get a first-hand view of geysers that arrive at first sunlight at the Sol de la Mañana (translated means “Morning Sun”). Visitors will find a geothermal field approximately six miles by six miles in size and located about 16,000 feet above sea level. The entire field contains volcanic activity, mud springs, and steam pools. It is one of the few geysers in the world that allow you to get up close—so watch your step. Be sure to dress warmly due to the elevation. The smell might bother those with a queasy stomach. If you are experiencing jet lag or are sensitive to smells, you should exercise caution during this adventure.

INSIDER TIPAccording to TourRadar, a tour company offering 12 tours to Sol de Mañana, the most popular month to visit is September—early spring in Bolivia.

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Peruse the Salt-Related Retail Offerings in the Village of Colchani

WHERE: Colchani, Bolivia

As a memento to your Uyuni adventure, stop by the mining ghost town Colchani to purchase salt crafts made by hand. A town with less than 700 residents, Colchani houses the salt cooperative and is the perfect locale to visit if you are short on time and cannot go out onto the salt flat or you wish for more peaceful adventure trips.

INSIDER TIPWhile in Colchani, visit the salt museum that houses exhibits made of, you guessed it, salt.