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“Red Planet Tours - easily the best quality tour”
Review of Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni
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Sunrise at Salar de Uyuni
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Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats Private Night Tour from Uyuni
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Uyuni Salt Flats Full Day Tour
Ranked #1 of 37 things to do in Uyuni
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The world's largest salt plain is a popular and scenic destination for tour groups.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed March 2, 2013

Straight off, Red Planet is a bit more expensive (1200bs for 3 day), but really, while it may seem a lot more, on exchanging it to you currency, its probably not a lot. What the extra bs buy you how ever is more than worth it.

Firstly, you get an English speaking guide. Sadly, and this is why I would have like have given 4.5 not 5, if there is a lot of interest they book two 4wd, but only one guide. So one vehicle will have a driver and a separate guide, the second will only have a driver, ours was very friendly, but really didn't speak English. When we got to the sights, the guide filled us all in so you don't feel left out, but it is worth noting. Our guide, Oscar, had excellent English, was very knowledgeable about the area and very easy going, professional and friendly.

Both out vehicles were in good condition, the ride was as smooth as it can be for the area and comfy (they were both Land Rovers). The drivers were always alert and a no point did I feel unsafe. They kept good time, while not compromising safety.

The accommodations were warm, comfy, clean and had hot showers (extra 10bs, a nominal amount), they were both located very near a shop, so a few of us brought some beers, we shared with the drives and the guide, they took us up on the offer, but would never have more than 1 or 2 beers, they were always well rested and alert on the road. The food was simple, tasty, fresh and filling (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner). I found little need for snacks as they kept us very well fed.

Also, booking is a breeze, the lady at the office spoke fluent English and was wonderfully polite and helpful (which can be a rarity in Uyuni).

All in all, vastly worth the extra bs. In Uyuni, if you get a cheap deal, you're paying for it somewhere. Save yourself the hassle, book with Red Planet

4  Thank Symon-von-Vagabond
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,546 - 1,550 of 5,256 reviews

Reviewed March 1, 2013

This Bolivian region is pretty beautiful. We visit Uyuni Salt Flat in January and this trip was wonderful. We see the salt desert partially flooded with water and the landscapes reflected in the water will be very difficult to forget. We also were able to visit desert dry parts: vast white plains. The hotels (Stone, Desert and Salt) were pretty nice. I do recommend to go there!

1  Thank AndreKSilva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2013

(Scroll a third of the way down to read only about Salt Flat trip!!)
We made some really good choices with tours and expeditions from SP de Atacama so here we are sharing our recommendations! We stayed in Sonchek Hostel- it's the best hostel we've stayed in so far for many little reasons: friendly staff, good facilities, beautiful place, fly screens, good kitchen(no breakfast as standard in SP hostels) and great location. They emailed about our reservation very quickly.
We visited the Geysers del Tatio and the Vale de Luna (plus Death Valley) with Cosmo Andino. They are the only company from the original three which started here 20years ago which are still going- a fact we didn't know when we booked with them. There are other newer ones which are good I'm sure but there are so many to choose from it was hard to know what to do. We didn't shop around too much with the price but it's definitely worth paying slightly more for tours because the drivers are better paid and the food is better(breakfast at the Geysers is included). Cosmo take less people (we had about 12) and they run excursions every 2 or 3 days to be eco friendly. Our guide took us on a slightly different routs to the other companies so we weren't in a complete crowd when we saw the sights. He was informative, interesting and funny (Spanish and English throughout). We paid about £65 p/p for the 2 excursions. I think it was 14,000 CPesos p/p for the Geyers and closer to 60,000 for the valley of Death and Vale de Luna evening tour. We did both in one day which was doable as you're going to be tired anyway, a great day!
We also visited the Salar de Uyuni (Bolivian salt flats) from SP. We went with Cordillera which was a brilliant choice. You can also go with them from Uyuni. They do 'one way' tours which drop you in Uyuni after (3days 2nights) but we needed to return to SP so it was 4d/3n and cost 110,000 p/p (about £150 at the time of writing). It was worth every penny. The company tell you plainly what to expect so you aren't surprised by anything. That seems to be the problem most people have with these tours- companies don't explain the conditions. This is Bolivia and in the desert so luxury isn't an option. Imagine it will be like camping and then it's more comfortable than that! Cordillera use lodgings that are exclusively used by them and the locals who are there looked after us and gave us good, wholesome food. I ate more food and ate more often than I'd expected to (it's simple food and do take snacks to tide you over as it can be unpredictable with knowing when we'll arrive somewhere for food as it depended how long we wanted to stay in some places. Plus veggies may want to take more- didn't effect me but they just had to miss out the meat so perhaps would need more) and there were plenty of blankets on the bed (can hire sleeping bags though). The second evenings lodgings had private (double) rooms (the first night is 6per room but this is good to create more heat!) and a shower for a warm refresh. We didn't actually have a shower as we were going to get dusty again pretty quickly but the others said the showers were fine. I think there was 2-one of them off a bedroom and the other in the courtyard.
Expect to break down due to the terrain but Cordillera are in a convoy of 3 jeeps so our drivers immediately had overalls on and addressed any problems as quickly as possible- plus they'd stop to help others in trouble but with the endless incredible scenery this isn't a problem and there's plenty of time each day to allow for these unforeseeable things.
Remember to take suncream- the altitude keeps you cool but the wind is deceptive and it's easy to get caught out! Layers of clothes is the key. Keep hydrated to avoid headaches from the altitude. Don't be fussy about needing the toilet- there were toilets at somet of the places but 'going in nature' is expected. Although this may seem like a nedative for some, the flip side is that there are no fences/signs/ boardwalks here so the wildlife is free and we really felt in the middle of nature. Health and Safety police are yet to reach here! Common sense is all you need though, and a good driver.
If you return to SP as we did then expect basic 'service' on the return. No stopping for photos and minimal food at the lodgings. Cordillera prepared us for this though (the drivers have to get back to the border for the next tour [a different driver though!] and we were happy with the return leg. We just wanted to get back too. Had a nice breakfast though before they took us back to the office.There was nothing that the company hadn't prepared us for with what to take (supplies and how much money- it's a bad exchange rate everywhere in SP so change it before if possible- it's about 90CP to 1B rather than the 70 it should be but you don't change much so it's negligible in the grander scheme of things) or what was going to happen and even though we couldn't seem to understand the driver's Spanish (or him ours!) it didn't matter as the places spoke for themselves and we used sign and music to communicate, he was friendly and helpful. A fantastic experience!!

34  Thank Lizzie E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2013

Contrary to what many people have posted on here, my group had a terrible experience with Quechua connections. We had done A LOT of investigation before heading out on the salt flats because we had heard many horror stories about sketchy tour operators. We were recommended to go with Quechua connections by a 4x4 company which we met in La Paz, we checked their reviews out on Trip Advisor and decided it looked like a good choice. While the accommodations, food, and jeeps were excellent, our driver on the first day (whose name i won't mention because it's really irrelevant) was FALLING ASLEEP while driving! When we had to wake him up for about the third time he told us he was sorry but that he had come back from a 3 day tour the day before and they sent him right back out to do a second. In my opinion, after having paid a lot more than the average for our trip (about 200 dollars total including 4 wheeling the first 3 hours plus a transfer to San Pedro via ollague since the national park and regular crossing were closed when we were there) ,this was unacceptable, quechua tours should not have been sending drivers out again with no rest. In addition, what really did them in was that when we arrived to the boarder with chile, the company which was supposed to do our connection to san pedro de Atacama (which was about a 3 hour trip due to political unrest going on at the normal boarder crossing and having to take an alternate route) didnt' have enough seats for our pre-paid tickets which we purchased from Quechua tours. We were furious because the driver basically told us that two of us had to "find another company" or our alternative was to be stranded between the two boarder crossings with no way to go onward. Luckily we did find another company who was willing to transport two of us and the problem was solved, but our driver from Quechua tours seemed to be totally not interested in helping us solve the problem and actually left with the passengers he was picking up before making sure that our situation was squared away. In conclusion, if you are looking for a company which is worth paying a little extra in order to have peace of mind while traveling through the salt flats, Quechua Connections is NOT RECOMMENDED.

17  Thank jcaff11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2013

The salar was the most amazing nature phenomenon I have ever seen. The rough travel to Uyuni (from La Paz) was well worth it! Me and my 2 friends were amazed by the sensation of being surrounded by nothing besides white, reflecting salt and water as far as the eye can see.
We booked a driver at some random agency in Uyuni, and we ended up with a guy named Juan Carlos, a great guy who drove us for about 4 hours, showing us a lot of interesting attractions. He organized a lunch for us, setting up a table right in the middle of "nowhere", the most amazing lunch ever! We saw a flock of flamingos flying, and he started to "hunt" them, with pedal to the metal, to allow us to take closer pictures of the birds, and to give us some extra thrills.
Obviously, the landscape is fantastic, and it feels like being able to walk barefoot in the snow!
It was an unforgettable experience.

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

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