HOW TO GET TO UYUNI

Ease now. Getting to Uyuni can be simpler than you might imagine! First of all, keep in mind that there are three main cities to get to Uyuni: La Paz, San Pedro de Atacama (Chile) and Santa Cruz. However, the most important thing is to opt for a safe and responsible transportation company.

Getting to Uyuni in 2019 is much easier than past years. Since they implemented new air routes, very comfort buses & improve the service by train (years before the only way to get there)

In the following paragraphs I will explain step by step how to get to Uyuni from the most frequent destinations.

Creativity is the key on Uyuni Salt Flats
Creativity is the key on Uyuni Salt Flats
Giant Cactus 14m height!
Giant Cactus 14m height!
Sunrise from another planet! Salar de Uyuni
Sunrise from another planet! Salar de Uyuni

HOW TO GET TO UYUNI FROM LA PAZ

 

Without a doubt, La Paz city is considered as the main gateway to enter to Bolivia, so around 60%+ of travelers who take a Salar de Uyuni tour come from this city.

1st step you should consider! You have 3 options:

 

1. Flight (around 50 min)

2. Tourist buses (overnight 9 hours)

3. Public train (Connection with Oruro 12 hours)

 

Note: In Bolivia there are only 2 airlines that offer direct flights to Uyuni from La Paz: Amaszonas and BOA both have daily flights

How to get to Uyuni from La Paz
Bus, Plane or Train? This is the best way to get to Uyuni.

Flights from La Paz to Uyuni

 

Traveling by plane is always the best option to visit Uyuni since the duration of the flight is only 50 min and the cost ranges from 85USD to 170USD one way. Morever, you need take a taxi to the airport which will cost you around 9USD to 15USD depending the zone. Please keep in mind that the Airport of the city of La Paz is located 40min from downtown, so you should leave 1hour before to account for traffic.

Links to buy flight tickets La Paz to Uyuni online

 

Boliviana de Aviación: the government is the owner and it operates this company, which makes it cheaper and one of the best ones.

 Amaszonas: small Company, excellent in prices and more diversification of destinations

Also mention that the airport in the town of Uyuni is only 10 min from the downtown and taxis can charge you as a maximum of 5USD for the whole car. If you buy a tour for the Salar de Uyuni and notify when your flight arrives the transfer could be included.

How to pick your bus from La Paz to Uyuni

 

If you are on an adventurous plan it may be that going by bus is the best option. It’s true that Bolivia does not have the best tourist infrastructure or customer service, however every day the companies are improving and you are able to find very good transportation services

There are only 4 companies that I can recommend:

 

1. Todo Turismo

2. Titicaca Bus

3. Trans Turístico Omar

4. Cruz del Norte

 

After spending several hours in buses in many countries in South America. I can say that the comfort of buses in Bolivia are recommendable. It’s not the best so don’t have high expectations but it’s comfortable! Always carry some extra warm clothes and a portable charger.

So… What is the best bus company to go to Uyuni from La Paz?

The best bus company could be “Todo Turismo” if you are looking for comfort. However, the buses between “Todo Turismo” and “Titicaca” are pretty much the same, but Todo Turismo offers a personable service.

Comparison La Paz to Uyuni buses

 

See for yourself:

2019 Guide updated to choose the perfect bus from La Paz to Uyuni

FCA Public Train Oruro to Uyuni

 

A cheap and worth it option to travel to Uyuni from La Paz is the public train! Yes, there is a train to get to Uyuni… First of all, you must take the following forecasts before risking the adventure.

The first and most important, is to take into account the itineraries of departures of trains (see the image below), they don’t have daily departures and you can lose the train if you do not take them into account before traveling.

Itineraries & Schedules of trains from Oruro to Uyuni.

Ready for the adventure? Hooray! Be sure to take a bus from the bus terminal in the La Paz to the city of Oruro (approximately 3 hours 30 minutes) and the ticket will cost you around 5USD (35 bolivianos) to 9USD (60 bolivianos). After arriving at the Oruro’s bus terminal, you should take a taxi to the Train Station (15min).

TAKE NOTE! You must buy the tickets or make your reservation in advance.

After 7 hours in the train and a broken back, the most important thing about traveling by train from La Paz to Uyuni is you need to be prepare before going… What do you need? Warm clothes becuase the train arrives in Uyuni in the middle of the night and also you have to book in advance an accommodation in Uyuni and start your expedition to Salt Flats at morning (using booking, airbnb or othe websites you can book it eassy).

HOW TO GET TO UYUNI FROM SANTA CRUZ

Believe it or not, Santa Cruz de la Sierra is one of the main entrance gates to Bolivia from other countries (especially for those flights from Europe and Asia). But unfortunately, the distance between Santa Cruz & Uyuni is quite long, that’s why traveling to this beautiful destination is a way more difficult.

For travel to Uyuni from Santa Cruz, you have the following 3 options:

 

1. Flight from Santa Cruz to Uyuni (3 hours via La Paz)

2. Public bus to Sucre + Bus to Uyuni (18 hours)

3. Combined Flight + Bus (7 hours)

 

The following informations are only recommendations and advices based on all the expereincies I have made the past years.

How to get to Uyuni from Santa Cruz
Bus, plane or mix? Best way to get to Uyuni from Santa Cruz

Flight from Santa Cruz to Uyuni (1 layover in La Paz)

 

I regret to inform you that direct flights from Santa Cruz to Uyuni are no longer being operated since June 2019. Therefore, the only aereal option you can have nowadays is the layover at La Paz airport. There are different options where you will find better prices if you look for a flight at night for example.

Let’s talk about prices … You can find flights from $ 120 to $ 250 or more one way per person, depending on the season (December to February usually increase two-fold).

Public bus only

 

Good luck hommie! The distance between Santa Cruz and Uyuni by bus takes about 18 to 20 hours, although it is necessary to do a ‘bus transfer’ in the city of Sucre. You should consider the following recommendations if this is your travel option.

 

Bus from Santa Cruz to Sucre: 

 

First of all, take into account that this route doesn’t have a good pave road, so you will spend a couple of uncomfortable hours with unpaved roads, the total adventure lasts about 12 hours and has an approximate cost of 25USD to 40USD per person.

Do you still feel adventurous? Well, the only company that I can recommend you for this route is “TEQUILAZO”, the buses are the most comfortable to travel and are accessible in prices. You will have to take yourself to the Santa Cruz bus terminal and personally buy your ticket at least 1 hour before your departure (buses depart at approximately from 17:00 – 19:00hrs).

 

Bus from Sucre to Uyuni:

 

there are many ways to get to Uyuni from Sucre, the best option is to take a direct bus that lasts around 7 hours with some short stops along the way. Unfortunately, this route doesn’t have the best service or buses travelwise, however the road and the duration are much smaller than the previous route.

Take note: to select the bus that will take you to Uyuni! The only company I can recommend you is “6 DE OCTOBRE” which has daily departures at 09:30hrs and another at 20:30hrs. Many times they fill up and other days are delayed in their departure until filling their seats. In spite of so much informality, this is the best option to travel from Sucre to Uyuni.

In total you’ll need around 18 to 20 hours to get from Santa Cruz to Uyuni, but don’t be scared because there’s also another option and the most recommended one to save a little if you cannot take the direct flight from Santa Cruz to Uyuni.

A couple of Vicuñas with a wonderful scenario.
A couple of Vicuñas with a wonderful scenario.
Our customers enjoying the stunning view of Green Lake
Our customers enjoying the stunning view of Green Lake
Thousands of flamingos in a breathtaking Lagoon.
Thousands of flamingos in a breathtaking Lagoon.

Combined Flight + Bus

 

Note that for this option you’ll need a budget of at least 70USD per person just for the tickets.

Are you ready? Well, let’s begin, the first thing you’ll have to do is to buy a BoA or Amaszonas flight ticket with the following route: Santa Cruz to Sucre that lasts only 35min. And are very economical ranging from 35 to 50USD, the idea of ​​taking this flight is to save 12 hours of travel and arrive in Sucre before 18:00 pm so you have time to go to the city of Sucre and buy a ticket In the buses terminal 6 OCTOBER to Uyuni (15USD to 18USD per person) and depart around 20:00 pm. Note that you will arrive in the middle of the night to Uyuni so keep in mind you should book some lodging before arriving in Uyuni.

Complicated? Maybe yes, but believe me, it’s the best option if you are under a budget, in theory it will only take you 8 to 9 hours to get to Uyuni.

HOW TO GET TO UYUNI FROM SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA

If you are planning to visit the Salar de Uyuni from Chile, consider that San Pedro de Atacama and Sud Lipez Park are the border between Bolivia and Chile, therefore many tourists take the opportunity to visit both destinations taking a tour of 3 days or 4 Days only in the Bolivian side and other 4 days in Chile. So if you are in Chile maybe the best option you can have is to take a Salar de Uyuni tour from San Pedro de Atacama to visit the colored lagoons located in Bolivia and finish the day in the Uyuni Salt Flats concluding the tour in the town of Uyuni to continue your trip up or return to Atacama taking a Round trip Uyuni Salt Flats from San Pedro de Atacama tour there are many options to make this circuit. Consider that the cost of these tours range from 180USD to 250USD per person or more.

How to get to Uyuni from San Pedro de Atacama

Okay okay I understand, you are looking for something more economical … Pay close attention to the following: One of the most economical ways to visit the Salar de Uyuni from San Pedro is to take a bus or public transport from San Pedro de Atacama. There are currently several bus companies that offer this service. Among the best known may be Cruz del Norte. The estimated duration is from 9 to 10 hours and there are different schedules during the morning, afternoon and night. Something you should consider is that buses are not comfortable and customer service isn’t the greatest.

I do not recommend you to take just a bus from Calama to Uyuni

The Salar is great and unique in the world, but I assure you that spending time in the lagoons of Colors (Laguna Colorada, Laguna Verde and deserts) is a must.

I had the opportunity to visit 2 companies that go to Uyuni from San Pedro de Atacama, these are: Cruz del Norte and Atacama 2000, both are average but economic companies, from Calama to Uyuni usually costs around 15USD to 20USD per person and the travel time is More than 9 hours depending on how long you do in your migration process.

Note: buses depart very early from the bus terminal (departures from 05:00 to 07:00 hrs)

Once you get to Uyuni, you can take a Uyuni Salt Flats day tour only half a day or a full day expedition, visit this beautiful destination and then go your way. I must be honest with you, I do not recommend doing this circuit, but many do it to save money and continue their journey to the city of La Paz and then to Peru. The Salar is great and unique in the world, but I assure you that spending time in the lagoons of Colors (Laguna Colorada, Laguna Verde and deserts) are a must.

I really hope this article can help you to plan your trip, feel free to write us to info@visitsoam.com or my personal email jeffsch86@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Best Regards Jeff

Hapiness is only real when shared 😉

Leave a Reply

© Copyright 2017 by Travel Excellence Logo Powered by Travel Excellence Logo

CHECK AVAILABILITY