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Best tour company san pedro to uyuni

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Perth, Aus
posts: 13
reviews: 4
Best tour company san pedro to uyuni

Hi all, any recent advice/expereiences (good & bad) in relation to tour operators for the trip from san pedro to uyuni wld be much apprexiated!

Thanks!!

Jr

Scotland
posts: 2
1. Re: Best tour company san pedro to uyuni

I am searching for the same. I guess you have found the same as me - Colque, Cordillera and Estrella del Sur are the three biggest and none are great. Cordillera seems to have least bad reviews, but I have contacted them and they have not responded to two emails.

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 4,269
reviews: 100
2. Re: Best tour company san pedro to uyuni

there are loads of tour operators at the touristy small town of San Pedro. U can shop around when u are there..or ask your hotel to recommend one.

Sydney, Australia
posts: 8
reviews: 24
3. Re: Best tour company san pedro to uyuni

Hi, we've recently just finished the San Pedro to Uyuni route with Calque tours. Despite mixed reviews we had an amazing experience with them. The cars are older but are very comfortable and the drivers of the two vehicles drove safely and didn't rush us anywhere. We had all the time to look at highlights and take photos. Carlos our driver was really great and between our Spanglish and his we had a great laugh. The food was amazing, far exceeded our expectations and the accommodation sufficient on the first night and really good on the second.

Hope this helps. There are plenty of operators so don't book until you get there as it'll save you money.

Cheers

Mark & Nicky - Australia.

Sydney
posts: 1
4. Re: Best tour company san pedro to uyuni

My wife and I just arrived back from a Salar tour (starting in San Pedro and finishing in Uyuni). Before booking the tour I spent a lot of time on these forums reading other people's accounts, to make sure we chose the right tour company, so that we'd have a good experience. So I want to pass on my comments to help others. So that you know the currency of this information, our tour was 6 - 8 December 2011.

After all our research we went with Cordillera Traveler. About $10 (or CLP5,000) more expensive than the other companies, but we avoided almost all the bad points outlined by others on these forums (with one glaring exception, which I'll come to shortly).

POSITIVES:

It was worth paying the extra for us, as we went with the same company both in Chile and Bolivia, 18 passengers divided into three jeeps all with the same company (not thrown into any old jeep at the border to make up numbers.

The accommodation both nights was basic (as they all are), but clean and comfortable. Also the only people staying at each place were the 18 Cordillera passengers.

The food at every meal was excellent. As vegetarians it's often a gamble as to whether we can eat anything on these kind of tours, but at every meal they specifically sought us out and prepared vege options without us ever having to remind them. The standard meat option looked good too.

The vehicles were clean, in good condition and we didn't feel "crammed in". We could play our own music through ipods connected to the stereo. No seatbelts however.

NEGATIVES:

Just one, but it was a big one. On the morning of the second day our driver turned up at 8am completely drunk, having been drinking all night. We thought he was just hungover and didn't realise the extent, until he did the five minute drive from the accommodation to drop us off at Laguna Colorado for a short walk. His driving was erratic, he could barely string a sentence together, reeked of booze and there was a bottle of hard liquor on the front seat. After our short walk we refused to get back in the car with him (particularly when we saw that in the ten minutes we'd been gone, the level in the bottle had dropped alarmingly).

Thankfully I and another passenger felt confident enough to drive the jeep, so that's what we did all day while the driver slept in the passenger seat. The terrain is difficult and technical if you're not used to it, and coupled with altitude headaches it made for a stressful day.

When the driver insisted on taking the wheel back in the late afternoon (after 5 hours of sleep, eating lunch and drinking water) we thought it would be ok. After one hour he fell completely asleep at the wheel, the jeep drifted and we nearly flipped off the edge of the road, thankfully the screaming of all the passengers awakened him just in time.

Now of course he was apologetic, and he was fine on day three. The drivers of the other two jeeps seemed fine for the entire tour. I also don't know how much you can blame the tour company for driver behavior on the road in the first instance, so long as they act swiftly when told about it. Of course we made a report. If they do act on it then I would fully recommend the company, for all the reasons outlined above. If they choose to ignore it, then I wouldn't go with them again under any circumstances. Sadly I can't tell you either way at this point, but I have asked for them to let me know the outcome so I will update here if that happens.

My only advice at this stage is to be incredibly vigilant, and don't be afraid to speak up immediately if you have any concerns. You wouldn't get into a car with a drunk stranger at home, but sometimes when you're in an unfamiliar place, with the language barrier and a bunch of other people you don't know in the car, there's a natural tendency to go with the flow because you don't want to seen as "difficult", or cause problems, or get into an argument, or displease the driver you've got to spend the next few days in close proximity with.

However I cannot overstate the danger. These are sandy, rocky, technical roads that require sober concentration to drive on safely. The jeeps have a high centre of gravity and can flip easily, there are no seatbelts in the vehicle (except for the driver) and there are two huge containers of fuel strapped to the roof.

The Salar tour is a truly unique and incredibly beautiful experience not to be missed. Just keep all of this in mind and stay safe.

Santiago, Chile
Destination Expert
for Chile
posts: 7,868
reviews: 20
5. Re: Best tour company san pedro to uyuni

Your post is very helpful for people planning a tour of Uyuni starting in San Pedro. Basically, all the tours come down to the driver you get and that is just a bit of a lottery. The rest: the cold, the food and the lodging, you can put up with, but not a drunk driver. It is not totally unheard of either.

6. Re: Best tour company san pedro to uyuni

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