Senda Andina

Senda Andina, Uyuni: Address, Phone Number, Senda Andina Reviews: 4.5/5

Senda Andina

Tours and Tickets

32 reviews
Very good

ks544 contributions
excellent drivers, guide weird, not all vehicles in top shape.
Oct 2019
The drivers were excellent and this is the most important thing. The guide, Mauricio, was weird and sometimes gave incorrect information. Not all the vehicles were in top shape. One had an air filter problem and broke down. One's air conditioner did not work (because of the dusty roads, many hours are spent with the windows closed), not all windows opened or closed.
Written October 24, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

David F
2 contributions
I had a really great tour with Senda Andina and my driver Luiz
Jan 2018 • Family
The company performed above expected. As I was in San Pedro de Atacama I was already expecting rip-offs and false promises by the companies, but fortunately Senda Andina was great!!

Our guide was really well informed, drove safely, truly cared about our well being and did the most he could so we could have a great time in Bolivia (even with so many set backs: the border opened later than it should, it rained a lot flooding the Salar, rally Dakar was going on and closing most roads and making it difficult to get back to Chile, etc).

Deal directly with Senda Andina, unfortunately we dealt with Ayllu (a company from San Pedro de Atacama) which, of course, has its share in all of this, therefore making it more expensive than it should. I had the tour in Spanish, so I don’t really know how good their English is.
Written January 21, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Thomas H
Austria6 contributions
agency “senda andina“ is really the best
Jan 2016 • Couples
Booked a 3day, 2night trip from san pedro de atacama to uyuni with “senda andina" and it was just the best.
In san pedro we were not sure which company to select for the salar tour. Finally "pedro" from "senda andina" convinced us to book the tour. He was only spanish speaking but he offered us different locations for the night, not just the really basic ones the other agencies offered. The first night we stayed in the hotel flamenco, which is really great, hot showers, internet (to pay but .....) and great food. Still you have to stay in a dorm but in the middle of nowhere...what do you expect. At the laguna flamenco you are further north as all the other jeeps so you have all the attraction the second day as first. The second night you stay in coquesa lodge. Completely built out of salt at the north end of salar de uyuni. Also ways better accomondation as the other tours.
Ask for "elvis" as driver. I can really recommend this guy. Responsible, calm, funny and smart. He only speaks spanish, but with even little spanish he explaines everything so easyunderstanding...just a great guy. Thanks to him.
We were only 5 guys, usually 6 and payed 100000 $ chilenos each and got these great accomondation anyway.
You can book the same tour in uyuni as well down to san pedro de atacama.
Written January 17, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Erica L
Sydney, Australia42 contributions
Feeling lucky to be alive after awful experience with Senda Andina
Aug 2014 • Friends
I did a 3 day tour with Senda Andina that was meant to take us from Uyuni to the Chilean border near San Pedro de Atacama.

The first day went reasonably well, my only issue being that my driver was playing on his phone whilst driving, which meant that he often was not paying attention to the actual driving.

The following day, we broke down in the altiplano just before lunch time. (1 of 3 cars broke down). The engine was severely overheated and the only reason that we discovered this is because I had requested my car to stop for a toilet break and the other car was forced to stop behind us on the track, and the people from my car could see fluid leaking from the engine. We were stuck in this place, which luckily had (rare) cell phone reception (the drivers had no radio communication that they could use to contact either each other or the company), for around 2 hours until the drivers managed to mend the car enough to get us to a village where we waited until a replacement vehicle arrived. During that time we had our packed lunch and I was disappointed that, despite informing the tour company beforehand on multiple occasions that I suffer from celiac disease, I was provided with pasta for lunch. So, I was stuck in the middle of the desert for hours with nothing that I could eat.

That night we stayed at Los Flamencos hotel (owned by Senda Andina). The hotel was very basic: my first bed was broken, there was no toilet paper, and not even gas heaters. It was freezing cold, especially in the dining room.

The following morning we departed the hotel at 6.30am (after a breakfast that included NO gluten free options, so I was again stranded without food). About 20-30 mins after leaving the hotel one of our three vehicles broke down. We waited for about an hour whilst the vehicle was "fixed". We then agreed that we would drive in formation with my car at the back, seeing as it was clearly the most reliable vehicle. The purpose of this was so that we could make sure that all 3 cars were accounted for at all times. Within 30 seconds of resuming driving our driver had sped past both other cars and off into the distance. We drove for about 10 mins and no other vehicles were in sight so we stopped and waited. One of the cars then passed us (it couldn't stop because they were worried that they would not be able to restart the engine). We then waited for another half an hour before driving back to where we had last seen the car. It had not come far. One of our travellers was several hundred meters from the car - he had started walking in the direction that we'd driven off in because they had given up hope that we would come back so he was hoping that we'd be parked somewhere up the track.

By this stage, it was 8am. The car had a completely shredded fan belt and the drivers had no spare. Apparently Los Flamencos had a spare car, so our drivers asked a car going in the opposite direction to tell Los Flamencos to send the spare car. Quite some time later another car drove past and handed us a fan belt. Los Flamencos had decided not to send the spare car. By midday, we were still stranded in the middle of the altiplano as it turns out that the fan belt was just one of many fatal problems with this vehicle. Our tour guide had to hitch hike a lift back to los flamencos to talk to her bosses to try to arrange a solution.

At 12.30 the drivers suggested that the one fully functional car should do a series of trips to drop all passengers back at the hotel, so that we'd at least have somewhere sheltered to wait. I was in the first carload of people driven back to Los Flamencos. Our driver drove like a maniac: several times all 4 wheels of the car were off the ground, and I had to hold on to the seats and doors so that I wouldn't be thrown about the vehicle. I was so alarmed by this driving that I asked the driver to slow down. He refused. I then started shouting at him and screaming and saying that he needed to let me out. Again he refused. He essentially held me hostage in the car against my wishes whilst driving in a way that endangered my life.

Upon arrival back at Los Flamencos it took me a moment to get out of the car (there weren't enough seats in the vehicle so at least one passenger at all times was riding in the kids seats in the boot and this happened to be my turn). When I got out of the car I went into the restaurant to try to find my guide to see what her company had suggested to her. When I opened the restaurant door my driver was standing there and he tried to put his hands on my shoulders and push me back out of the door. Being a young female, I hate being man-handled by a strange man, especially one who just recklessly endangered my life, so instinctively I reacted by hitting him with my handbag, which made him back off and leave me be.

We could not find our guide - it turns out she'd been sent back to the broken car in the spare vehicle.

The four of us then waited at Los Flamencos for 2 hours before anybody else showed up. Upon arrival back at the broken down vehicle our driver refused to drive any other passengers back to the hotel, leaving our friends stranded on the altiplano for another 2 hours and us confused and concerned back at the lodge.

Things at the lodge were also extremely unpleasant. Despite the fact that we'd been the only guests the previous night, the lodge refused to let us even enter the building, forcing us to wait outside in the freezing cold. They also would not let us use the toilets, and insisted that we use their public toilets next to the carpark, at a cost of 5 bolivianos (almost 1 USD) per use (no toilet paper provided). I had no more Bolivian money, as we were supposed to be in Chile by that stage, so could not afford to pay to use their toilets, but unfortunately had diarrhoea from their food. It took me over 20 minutes to persuade them to let me use the toilet for free, and they were only finally persuaded when I threatened to poo next to their building (literally my only alternative, as there is no vegetation in the area).

Eventually, when all of the other people who'd been dining at the hotel for lunch (people whose tour companies had purchased meal packages there) had departed, we were finally allowed to sit inside the building and provided with food.

Finally the rest of our group turned up. They had needed to abandon the severely broken down land cruiser and its driver on the altiplano to return to the hotel. Senda Andina would not let us continue the tour with their rescue car, so our only option was to fit our group of 15 people into 2 landcruisers and drive to the nearest Chilean border. I refused to be in the vehicle with the driver I'd had previously, so I rode with the other remaining driver who was courteous and safe.

The Chilean border post that we arrived at had a 4km wide no-mans land that the bolivian vehicles were only allowed to drive to the mid point of, so we were dropped off there. The unfriendly and dangerous driver immediately drove off in a huff after all 4 passengers from my vehicle refused to tip him. The other driver remained with us until 5.30 (the bolivian border closes at 6pm and he needed to get his drivers licence back from them) in the hope that our (late) chilean transport would show up during that time. In the end we had to walk the 2km to Chilean immigration because the transfer was so late (no fault of senda andina).

Overall, my experience with Senda Andina involved:
- a reasonable visit to the Salt Flats
- completely skipped Altiplano
- 2 uncomfortable hotels
- 3 meals where they forgot to cater to my dietary needs
- reckless endangerment by my driver
- over 10 hours of waiting on the altiplano for non-existent vehicle repairs
- rude treatment by staff at Los Flamencos when were were stranded there because their company's vehicles had broken down.

This is a beautiful part of the world, but do not make the mistake of travelling with Senda Andina.

Several of the other companies that passed us as we were broken down remarked that it was ridiculous that we didn't have basic things like spare fan belts. One of the drivers was extremely unpleasant. Only 1 of 3 drivers knew the first thing about motor engine repair. None spoke a word of English.
Written August 16, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

London3 contributions
One of the most amazing places on earth but yes, pick your tour operator very very carefully!!!
The Southwestern corner of Bolivia is one of the most amazing places I have been to, the salar is incredible, the lakes are stunning and just about everywhere you will travel to on any of the 3D2N tours, you will be in awe of the beautiful surroundings around you.

BUT I cannot emphasis how important it is to go with a good tour operator. One word of advice though, DO NOT GO WITH SENDA ANDINA!

We happened to arrive in Uyuni in the midst of a big power cut caused by adverse weather. Many of the tours had to be postponed or cancelled but luckily ours would still be heading out. But I'm not entirely sure how lucky we actually turned out to be.

Due to the bad weather we had to do the tour backwards so for the first day, we would be driving all the way down to the Southestern corner near to where the lakes were. The second day we would visit the magnificient lakes before heading back to the Salar and Uyuni on the last day. This also meant we would be staying in the eco lodge for two nights rather than the first night in the salt hotel and just the second night at the eco lodge.

On the first night we arrived at the eco lodge late in the evening ready for dinner. We were the only ones there and when they mean eco lodge, they really do mean eco lodge, dry toilet (don't ask!) and no electricity or phones etc. It was freezing cold and there weren't enough gas heaters for our rooms on the second night. Despite being told there would be hot water, we had only a drizzle of cold water in the shower but hey, if that what it takes for us to be able to see all the amazing sights, we didn't mind, it would be worth it all in the end wouldn't it?

Well, yes, if we got to actually see the sights. The next morning, about 20 minutes after leaving the eco lodge for the lakes our jeep broke down. Jeeps from other companies passed by but perhaps they really are that competitive or perhaps this was just how Bolivia was but not a single one of them stop to see what the problem was or to help us. Our driver manage to get the jeep started long enough for us to get back to the eco lodge but unfortunately there was nothing we could do when we got there other than wait. There were no phones at the eco lodge and the only way our driver could try and communicate with the tour agency was by radio! Despite the driver telling us later that a another vehicle would be coming to pick up soon in the late afternoon, no one came even though he kept on telling us they would. In the end, our own driver fixed the problem and we were able to carry on the last day of the tour. But to be honest, we had missed out on most of it by then anyways. We never managed to visit the lakes and we didn't have enough time at the salar.

When we got back to the tour agency, we went to see the lady who ran the agency , Lydia about getting some of our money back. Effectively we had lost a day and the main day of our tour and we only saw half of the sights. She offered us a very small compensation and said that she couldn't give us more because it had been the driver's fault for not checking the vehicle beforehand. We couldn't believe she was trying to pin this on the driver! She was the lady who ran the agency and the agency was responsible for her staff, the vehicles and the safety of the tours. Whether it had been the driver's fault or not for the breaking down of the vehicle, the agency still needs to be responsible for the tour itself. Then when we asked about why no other vehicle had come to help us or collect us when the jeep had broken down, she said that she had only just got the radio message today and that she couldn't have done anything else becasuse the power was down! In that sense then, if she had no way of communicating with a tour that was out for 3 days and anything could have happened, I mean, what if we had a crash or one of us had got injured, if she knew she was not going to be able to communicate with us since the power had been down since before the tour started, does that not mean that she was risking the safety of the tourists?! Shouldn't she have not sent out the tour in the first place knowing so many things could go wrong??? In the end we managed to negotiate slightly more on the compensation side but it wasn't even the money that mattered even though we had paid alot more than we would have had for a more basic tour with one of the cheaper companies, it was the fact that our tour which we had been looking forward to for so long had been ruined and the agency or rather Lydia who ran it wasn't even apologetic about it! And she was such a cow about having to give us some money back for it! We also had a little bad luck on our tour for Machu Picchu but the tour agency there had been apologetic and really good about it because alot of them work on recommendations and word of mouth from travellers. If it's known they are bad, it can really ruin their reputation! But Lydia didn't care, she didn't care about the driver and she certainly didn't care about the tourists so don't risk it, book with someone else!

The best thing to do is to ask around especially at your hostel or hotel or other travellers, don't go with the first one and don't think that just because one costs more that it will be better, we found that out the hard way and I wish now I had just paid for a cheaper tour, we probably would have actually gotten to see all the sights with someone else!
Written November 6, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

New Zealand1 contribution
Do not go with Senda Andina!!
My boyfriend and I were travelling with his parents and we wanted to get a tour that was a little bit more than the basic ones going to Salar de Uyuni and we booked our tour from a travel agent in La Paz. We paid quite a bit extra, about 700US to go 3 days with Senda Andina on their private tours. It all sounded really nice with hotels and a private guide for the four of us. We had also booked and paid for a hotel in Uyuni through Senda Andina.
But the problems started already when we got to Uyuni and arrived at our hotel. The hotel we had been promised and had paid 300BS for we didnt go to. Instead the driver from Senda Andina took us to another hotel where we found out the rates were a third of the price we had paid. The next day we went to the Senda Andina office with the reciept that said we had paid 300BS for another hotel and that we wanted to know what had happened. They explained to us that the other hotel had a bad reputation so they decided to put us in a better hotel (don't know why they had even booked us in the other hotel in the first place and how a hotel a third of the price could be better???). We demanded to get back the 200BS we had paid extra for the new hotel and they told us they would sort it out for when we got back from the tour.
The tour was luckily really great, we had an awesome driver (although he didn't speak any english as we had been promised, since my boyfriend's parents don't speak any spanish) and he knew and explained a lot and my boyfriend and I could translate for his parents.
When we got back from the tour we were told by the owner of Senda Andina that he in the mean time had been to La Paz and spoke with the travel agent and that she would give us our money back.
When we came back to La Paz our travel agent knew nothing about our hotel problems, she was very surprised to hear that they had changed our hotel, that she herself had recommended us and had booked for us with Senda Andina only the day before we got to Uyuni. But she could not give us our money back since she'd already transferred the money to Senda Andina in Uyuni!!
On top of that she'd recieved and email from Senda Andina saying that we had to pay more for the trip because the park fees during the trip had gone up and that we also owed them money because we'd left the hotel without paying. So they were actually accusing us of not paying for the hotel that we'd paid three times the price for!!!
I spent a whole day at the travel agent's office while she supposedly was trying to get a hold of the Senda Andina office (appareantly she could only email them, and not ring directly????). At the end of the day we left Bolivia without getting our money back or recieving at least an apology from Senda Andina.
So eventhough the actual tour was really great, the entire treatment we got from Senda Andina was horrible and we felt cheated and taken advantage of. I cannot recommend this to anyone.
Written December 17, 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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