I was wondering if anyone has travelled this route and how they went about it?
We fly into La Paz and want to head to Uyuni to check out the salt flats before making our way to Santiago to pick up an overland there at the end of December.
I am currently sans South American guidebook and have limited access to the internet so any advice would be hugely appreciated.
I'm doing the reverse route in around 3 weeks time. My itinerary is Santiago - La Serena - San Pedro de Atacama - Uyuni and salt flats - Potosi - Sucre - La Paz, which seems to be a fairly typical route. I'm doing a small group tour with Kumuka, called the Altiplano Explorer.
Are you flying into La Paz from another high altitude destination, ie will you already be acclimatised?
I did a very similar route about this time last year. I went from La Paz to Potosi, then Sucre, back through Potosi on the way to Uyuni, San Pedro de Atamcama, La Serena, and finally Santiago. I caught buses between most places.
In Uyuni you can get Salt plane tours and can choose to either return to Uyuni or go to San Pedro. A typical tour is 3 days long and they take you in a Land Cruser. The salt planes and desert was a real highlight of my trip in South America so is something to really look forward to I think. At the end they dropped us off at the border where we caught another bus to San Pedro which is not to far from the border. This bus was included in the price of the tour.
On some of the longer trips you can catch overnight buses. I did this between La Paz and Potosi and San Pedro to La Serena for example. You can get 'full cama' class which is really quite good with big reclining seats and food and drink.
Also from San Pedro a lot of people were travelling to/from Salta in Argintina, so it may be worth considering this route too.