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“Amazing tour” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Andes Salt Expeditions - Day Tours

Andes Salt Expeditions - Day Tours
56 Arce main square, Uyuni, Bolivia
(591-2)-6932116
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Ranked #5 of 16 Tours & Activities in Uyuni
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Owner description: Andes Salt Expeditions, is a Receptive Tour Operator in Uyuni, Potosi, Sucre, Bolivia's colonial cities, created, managed and operated by professional adventure guides since 1985. After twenty eight years of continuous working with high experience professionally, because we love nature and our work in 2000, we have participated in the development of documentary Potosí, to three TV channels in Japan (TBS - VISION Inc.), in the series of programs heritage cities of mankind, in April 2001, TEMJIM TV Inc. of Japan, with the series of "Chikyu Romance" for all of Japan. We have also participated in the filming of "travel to the ends of the earth" for Discovery Channel and A & D, K & Holland Productions series "Duel across the border." The last documentary winner with 20 awards, The Devil's Miner, was filmed over a period of four weeks in Potosí, in February 2004 and that would have been impossible to carry out without the dedication of an incredible support Braulio Mamani Director - Guide Andes Salt Expeditions.
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Amazing tour”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

Andes Salt expeditions were a fantastic company to choose for our salt flat tour. Price wise, they are very reasonable for what you get. Whilst the food on the tour left much to be desired, the rest of the tour ran smoothly. The driver we were given was fantastic and had a great knowlege of the areas we drove through. The landcruiser worked very well and acommodation was very minimal but what you would expect.

After the Salt flat tour i left my camera in the andes office in Uyuni. Whilst i expected that it would have been taken by one of the staff and sold, the camera was kept for me and a staff member even travelled with it, so i could recieve it in Pitosi. They are a very fair and honest company. If choosing a tour operator for the Salt flats, choose Andes.

Visited December 2012
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61 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Ottawa
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Walking City Tour of Potosi”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

We paid for the city walking tour of Potosi (120B per person) with the understanding that the duration of the tour would be 3-4 hrs including a visit to the Museo de la Moneta. Although the guide was interesting, our tour of the city lasted barely one hour and we were left at the Museum. Total time for our tour was less than 2.5 hrs as we were late in joining the group at the museum. We were disappointed with the tour, returned to the agency to complain to no avail. I would not recommend this agency for the city tour of Potosi!

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“You can count on them, but you need clear plans to request.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

I was a solo traveller and I am a semi-professional photographer. Uyuni had been a destination which I had longed for many years, and I had asked Blaulio in Andes Salt Expeditions for some arrangements for my tour for the end of 2012 on an email basis.

It was a high season but he was very kind to respond to all my emails and he tailored a good excursion plan for me during my stay in Uyuni. Lorenzo, the driver (and guide) for my trip was a really nice gentleman and he always took good cares of me. He understood which kind of sites I wished to go, which kind of photographs I wanted to take, and he took me to some suitable places. In the end we became very good friends and talked a lot about many things (culture, hobby, family, politics, ambitions etc). It was a pleasant journey and I really appreciate their arrangements.

I see some people writing negative about this agent. But my experience with them says you can count on them, but for your satisfaction, you may need to show/tell them more clearly what you want to do and what you want to see in Uyuni. Then they can be very flexible and helpful.

Visited December 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Amazing trip and driver (but take this review with a grain on salt).”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012 via mobile

I did the 3-day/2-night tour with Andes in early December of 2012 with two friends. I am hesitant doing package tours in general so did my research on this one to the extent possible. A friend of mine used this same company a couple years ago and he enjoyed the trip saying it was well organized and professional. We also arrived to Uyuni as a group of American 20-something girls were returning to town and they said they loved it. So that was two favorable reviews from a similar demographic. We popped inside Andes and asked for the price intending to leave the next day. The girl at the desk quoted us 700 Bs each. A little while later, the owner returned and quoted us the same price. We asked some questions and he assured us we would be leaving with his company (some tour groups put their clients with other tours if they can't get 6 customers in the SUV) and he said his drivers were all older, they never drank and they were very responsible. We weren't concerned about our driver being English speaking since we could all understand and speak Spanish (to varying degrees). We signed up and paid the 700 Bs. The owner asked us if we were returning to Uyuni or going to San Pedro (50 Bs more) and whether we were vegetarians or had food restrictions. The next day, the vehicle was a little late but we were underway with another couple from our hotel and a single traveller by 11 (they said 10:30). We first rode to the train graveyard with a young guy driving our land cruiser and the owner driving the other. We checked it out and then returned to town (which is on the way to the salt flats). Once in town, we changed vehicles and drivers. I assume they were still prepping our land cruisers that morning. Our new driver was Walberto and he was much older (probably 40s) and he knew what he was doing. We loaded up and we were off. The first day we did the salt flats and Incahuasi before staying in a hotel made of salt to the south just off the salt flats. Walberto took us away from the other groups for lunch and knew what types of photos to take for maximum illusory effect. He put on a jumpsuit and got down on the ground and took pictures of us for a solid 30 minutes after lunch. It was great. The next day we drove south and checked out lakes, volcanoes and crazy landscapes. We stayed in a very simple hotel where we had a shared room for the 6 of us. The next day we woke up at 4:50am for breakfast before seeing hot springs, geysers and another lake before dropping those continuing to Chile at the border. We then drove the 6-7 hours back to Uyuni in time for an overnight bus to La Paz. Amazing trip. However, Walberto really made the trip. He explained to us (in Spanish) all the sights, our schedule, and answered all of our questions. He always drove safely and responsibly, often getting passed by other tours which was fine with me. Only the driver's and passenger's seats had seatbelts though I never feared for my safety. He's been doing it for a while too, splitting time between Uyuni and La Paz where he works as a guide on Huayna Potosi. We really lucked out with our group and driver. Walberto was even better than another driver from the same company (Andes) evident when we stopped at certain places and Walerto would give our group a short talk about the history or ecology but the other driver didn't tell his group anything. That being said, the solo traveler in our group was told by Andes that he would have an English speaking driver (and likely paid for it) but didn't get one in Walberto. We happily translated for him so it was fine. In terms of additional fees, it was 50 Bs to get a shuttle to San Pedro from the border (paid to Andes), a 150 Bs national park entrance fee (paid to the park), a 30 Bs entrance fee to Incahuasi (paid on arrival) and hot showers each night were an optional 10 Bs. Walberto told us there were about 50 companies doing the salt flat tour in Uyuni. There are a handful that are real expensive, the ones that offer private tours and often stay in the salt hotels ON the actual salt flats. The next tier is probably a dozen companies like Andes, Red Planet and Andrea that all offer similar prices and experiences. They also will share clients with each other if a certain company can't fill a SUV. Below that there are a bunch of third-tier companies that Walberto recommended avoiding. He said they all had young drivers and they would often have problems. What am I missing? The food was great, lots of it, a good variety and delicious. Dinners are prepared at your accommodations, breakfasts are simple and you have lunch on the road (but it's great!).

Advice:
If you can, book your tour directly when you get to Uyuni. You will pay less than booking from elsewhere, ahead of time, or worst--with some travel agency.

Get Walberto as your driver from Andes. You probably can't guarantee it but the driver does make a difference, not just the company.

Know what you're signing up for. Most people doing this trip are in their 20s and used to traveling and are fine driving 1000km off road and sharing accommodations with strangers. It's a great way to meet people but not for everyone. I did not see many adults along the way (at least at our stops).

The trip was 700 Bs (750 with connection to San Pedro), not including 180 Bs you have to pay for entrance fees. 20 Bs more for optional showers. You should bring lots of sunscreen and 4-6 liters of water. Don't pay extra for an English speaking driver with one of these yours. You'd likely be better off paying for one of the top-tier private companies.

The owner of Andes gave us a packing list which was very helpful. I did not being a sleeping bag and did not need it but I suppose you might need one if going in the winter (their winter).

So overall a fantastic trip and well worth it. However we lucked out with a great group and amazing driver and paid less than some because we booked the day before. So take the 5 star rating with a grain of salt (no pun intended).

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Auckland, New Zealand
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Not bad”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2012

I emailed a lot of agencies about tours through the salt flats and settled on Andes Salt Expeditions as they were one of the cheapest (I was on a budget), they were quick to reply in a professional matter and included an English speaking guide at no extra cost. Once I arrived however, I realised that they charged people different amounts for the guide depending on their appearance and age (for example, people who didnt ask about a guide didnt pay anything, backpackers who asked got charged 50-100 bolivianos, and the one elderly woman and her son ended up paying US$30). We also all paid different amounts for the tour, anywhere from 750-1200 Bolivianos. Just seems like theyre trying to get as much money as possible..

Safety wise, our jeeps were not new but not really old either, but there were no seatbelts. I never saw the driver drink alcohol, he always seemed alert and awake, but he did speed a lot. He seemed to know a lot about the places we went but couldnt speak English.. our guide was new to the company and although his english was excellent, the only thing he did was translate some info at the places we stopped - and that was only about 5 sentences. We were never told where we were going or what we were doing until we actually arrived. If we didnt ask questions, sometimes we werent told anything at all! Plus because the guide was new, he was acting more like a tourist than a guide - leaving the group to take photos or getting us to take pics of him rather than him taking care of us. The places we stopped varied, we did everything on the intinerary and stayed at some places for only 5 mins, but then others for an hour (eg fish island, or wherever we stopped for lunch). I was quite happy with the food, we had plenty to eat and plenty of water/soft drinks available. I paid extra to be dropped off at the Chilean border, which was better than spending 7 hours driving striaght back to Uyuni! We also stayed one night in the salt hotel and the second night in a kind of desert hotel. It was VERY cold though (end of July) around -10 degrees celcius I think at night with no heating, hot water or electricity, so take lots and lots of layers!!

The salt flats were amazing though and I would recommend to anyone going to Bolivia to do a 3 day tour... I wasnt expecting much from my tour because I had read so many bad reviews about so many of the tours! But i had a great time and lucky for us we didnt have any accidents (!?) I guess if you can afford to pay a little ore then do it, but I was happy.

As a side note, I heard there is a law that only allows families from Uyuni to open and run tour companies from Uyuni through the salt flats. Its supposed to help build businesses within the community instead of the profits going to outsiders... however, what its done is taken away the competition. Most companies are substandard by first-world expectations and there is no reason for them to improve when its already a limited market. People ARE paying for the way things are... very sad considering the potential there is!

Visited July 2012
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