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“Mindblowing!”
Review of La Torre Tours

La Torre Tours
Ranked #2 of 12 things to do in Tupiza
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 8, 2014

We did a 4 day jeep tour to south lipez and the salar and that was a real highlight of out bolivia travels!! It is a muay see muat do not to miss experience and we recommend you go with la torre. Why? Great driver good comfy safe jeep, wonderful cook on board, accommodation was comfy and wark enough in the nights, possibility to end in uyuni or tupiza, transfer back included, great guys at the office, where they have an excellent hostel as well with great staff and service. So what are you waiting for??

Thank Margotybas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"salt flats"
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in 19 reviews
"tour from tupiza"
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"last night"
in 26 reviews
"juan carlos"
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in 11 reviews
"food was amazing"
in 12 reviews
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in 5 reviews
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334 - 338 of 697 reviews

Reviewed February 7, 2014

First I want to concur with all the other reviews, that the places you will visit will blow your mind… one visual feast after another. I would rate this area along with other top destinations such as Petra in Jordan, Iguazu Falls in Brazil and Machupichu in Peru.

It’s a no brainer that you should do the tour… the big question is which tour company to choose.
There are aound 60 tour agents in Uyuni and several more in Tupiza, all offering much the same tour, with pricing between B700 – 900 for the three day tour. There are about 850 Jeeps operating out of Uyuni and another 150 out of Tupiza. It is understandable that with so many drivers operating, many will be sub-standard. Apparently the more expensive companies pay their drivers a bit more, so can afford to be more scrupulous in who they chose to work for them.
I spent many hours researching which tour company to use. I read many mixed reviews about many of the drivers. There are some real horror stories out there, and I didn’t want to become another statistic. Some of the other problems reported are -

1. Drivers holding back on food
2. Drunken driving
3. Drivers driving dangerously when angered for whatever reason
4. One girl was threatened to be left behind in the desert
5. Drivers omitting to visit all sites listed on the schedule
6. Requests for more money once out on tour
7. Guides giving no or scant information about the destinations and tour schedule
8. Vehicle break downs, bald tires etc.
And the list goes on.

This is what you need to understand.
The drivers are also the owners of the vehicles, and are sub contracted to the various agents. They work freelance (as do the English speaking guides), so what is most important is not which company, but which driver. There may be some difference between the companies, eg quality of food, but apparently the drivers all work for more than one company.

After a diligent study of these pages we chose to go with La Torre Tours in Tupiza, even though it meant having to back track from Uyuni to Tupiza. I think it was a good decision.

We started with a private one day tour of Tupiza (US$120) (was amazing) which gave us an opportunity to meet our guide and driver. The 4 day private tour cost us US$840 plus extra $100 as we opted for the English speaking guide.

We used driver Edwin and guide Oscar who doubled as our cook. We really lucked out because they bent over backwards to attend our every wish, always putting our needs before their own. On one stop I left my camera in the vehicle and Oscar offered to go back and get it for me. He even cooked us eggs with tomato for breakfast because we don’t eat white bread and dulce deleche.

With both Tupiza Tours and La Torre, the driver/guide is accompanied by a female cook (unless you elect to use an English speaking guide), who generally rides the whole tour in the front passenger seat. After riding back from Uyuni to Tupiza (6 hours) in the back seat I became quite nauseous, so I asked Carlos (the manager at La Torre) if it would be possible for me to take the front seat occasionally when I was feeling nauseous. His response was that I was welcome to the front seat for the whole journey. This made a huge difference for me. I was no longer nauseous and had a superior view, allowing me to take photos through the front windscreen. On these tours the distances are large so you will spend many hours riding in the vehicle on rough, dusty, bumpy dirt roads (sometimes there is no road at all, sometimes riding along a river bed).

If you do choose to go with La Torre or Tupiza Tours, I suggest you also negotiate for the front seat. If you book a group tour you could agree to rotate the seating so all paying customers get to sit in the front. The other issue I have with the female cook sitting in the front is that they tend to sit there chatting to each other the whole time, which can tend to create a bit of an “us and them” situation.

If you don’t have time to read all the reviews, I have compiled a list of some of the driver/guides with excellent reviews

In Topiza they are -

1. Driver Raul and Cook Daisy
2. Driver Pedro and Cook Hilda
3. Franchisco and cook Ellie
4. Driver Edson and wife
5. Driver Jonny and Ellie
6. Driver Nicholas and Flora
7. Coo Elba
8. Guide Jeanth Menchaca
9. Cook Condori
10. Driver Santos and Cook Gladis
11. Guide Marco
12. Guide David
13. Driver Vasilio
14. English Guide Oscar
15. Driver Jorge
16. Cook Maura
17. Driver Alfredo
18. Cook Idel
19. Driver Reuben
20. Driver Hernan
In Uyuni some drivers working for Quechua Tours with excellent rating..
1. Driver Elias
2. Driver Miguel
3. Driver Dionny
Some others working out of Uyuni with excellent reviews are
1. Driver Freddy Francox
2. Driver Vico
3. Driver Lorenzo
4. Driver Walberto

One to avoid with negative reviews is Driver Elvis.

As suggested in an earlier review, it is also a good idea to check out the vehicle you will be riding in. Make sure all the windows go up and down (not always the case), the tyres are good, the heater works, shock absorbers are good etc. Try to get a vehicle that is not too old. Our vehicle performed well, but some other vehicles in our convoy and others we met along the way did not. Twice our driver helped out vehicles with electrical problems, and one who fell into a hole at the Guiser stop.

What to bring -

Warm clothes, plenty of spare camera batteries, a camera with a good zoom to capture the Llamas, the Pecunias and the flamingos
A flash light (I just down loaded a flashlight app on my tablet)
A multi pin adaptor and power board for charging camera batteries
Strong shoes or boots suitable for rock climbing
Rubber thongs (flip flops) for walking on the salt flats (I wrecked my only pair of shoes, fist climbing up a water fall, and finally getting soaked on the salt flat.)
Small change for toilets along the way
Toilet paper
Hot water bottle (we carry our own electric jug, but you can ask your cook for hot water)
Towels, as they are not provided at accommodation stops or the hot springs

In conclusion I should put in a good word for Carlos at La Torre. He organized to pick us up from Uyuni, put us up in their beautiful hotel, where we stayed for four nights (US$30 per night), and cheerfully accommodated all the continuous changes we made to our schedule without complaint. Thank you Carlos.
Thanks to our tireless driver Edwin and to our always enthusiastic Guide, Oscar.

Please see my photos to view the overnight accommodation stops, and to get an idea of the terrain you will be crossing.

16  Thank Kanan A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2014

Originally planned to start the tour from Uyuni but decided to go to Tupiza based on other reviews. We went with La Torre instead of Tupiza mainly because the girl at the office was more helpful than Tupiza Tours (and was 50Bob less). Easy to book as we were already a group of 4 for the next day. Car was great, our driver Filipe was super jolly And our cook was smiley as well. We speak broken Spanish but were able to understand everything. The place is fab, the scenery was stunning, the accommodation was basic as described but I must mention that we never felt freezing cold as many people scared us previously. Basic but warm and nice accommodation. Only complaint here is that the food quantity was not amazing, but this was rectified once we complained. We were also the last group to get food everyday which was annoying as we were starving after hours in the car. All in all, would recommend La Torre Tours and Filipe our driver.

Thank NSJ47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2014

Our four-day tour of the Uyuni Salar and surroundings was excellent! This is a fantastic place with unique nature and amazing landscapes. Go there almost like being on Mars!

When I booked their trips, many agencies have refused to make a tour to these dates because the Dakar Rally started at this time in Bolivia. Or offer tours at too high prices. La Torre Tours also warned us about the rally, but said that agency could adjust the route just to get us back to Uyuni town. And the trip turned out great! Thanks to our driver Juan Carlos we crossed Solar. No other Jeep decided not to do it because Salar in this time covered with water. And we saw the Salar de Uyuni in all his glory during the day and at sunset.

Our guide Oscar well spoken in English, and talked a lot about the nature of these places, the origin of the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia on the history and contemporary life. Oscar was even an exellent cook, for that special thanks to him :)

Dakar Rally, it has not prevented, but rather a surprise. We had return to Uyuni town on the first day of the Dakar Rally before the blocked road (thanks to our driver!) And were able to see the colorful carnival in Uyuni!

I'm glad I chose La Torre Tours. Thank you, guys, you're the best!

Thank Polina_Uchiteleva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 28, 2014

First off: what you see. It's beyond what you'll ever imagine is possible. The scenery is other worldy. I felt like I've left the planet and went to something I imagine the moon to look like. There's animals and plants you won't see (much) of anywhere else and landscapes you can only dream of.
Next, the ride: we got a guy named Ramil driving us around. Ramil was a gentle guy who was incredibly car proud, so he was cleaning windows and removing dirt at every stop. Keep in mind that the guys are drivers that also act as tour guides, so the info you get will be quite basic. Ramil knew enough to give us some info and answer of our questions.
Food: was plentiful at all mealtimes and really tasty. Flor was our chef, a super sweet indigenous lady that did a great job. The hostels you stay in have only one space for cooking, so sometimes you'll have to wait for other groups to finish cooking before your team get to have a go. For us, that meant we ate quite late. But that's just how it is.
The car: as some others have said, the cars are tight if you're stuck in the back row. La Torre don't ever have more than 5 in the car, I.e two per row and 1 in the front. The back is squashy, so our group just rotated. You do spent up to 12 hours in the car, so it can be a long day. We were so distracted by the amazing scenery though, plus you get to get out of the car lots for picture opps that it didn't bother us.
All in all, I think the guys run a safe and good tour and I would highly recommend them.

Thank sandyshakes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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