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Uyuni

Travel Guide South America Bolivia Uyuni

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Introduction

Train Churchyard of Uyuni

Train Churchyard of Uyuni

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Uyuni is a town on the Bolivian Altiplano at roughly 3,600 metres above sea level. The town itself doesn't have much to offer, but the surrouding landscapes are one of the most beautiful in the world.

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Sights and Activities

Uyuni is the starting point for tours towards the Uyuni Salt Flats (Salar de Uyuni). The Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt desert in the world and the result of a prehistoric lake that dried out around 40,000 years ago. It represents one of the most superb sites to visit in the world. It is located at approximately 3,650 metres above sea level in the State of Potosí, in the Bolivian Altiplano (highlands). As the salt land is so flat, it is used as a transport route through the Bolivian Altiplano.

Salar Uyuni

Salar Uyuni

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Another attraction in Salar de Uyuni is the Isla del Pescadao (Fish Island), where giant cacti of approximately 10 metres high are found. Also, in this region are the Laguna Colorada (Red Lagoon, more of a small lake) and the Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon). They both are located at the south of the Salar de Uyuni.
The different tones that characterize each of the lagoons is due to the presence of algae, the chemical composition of the water, the movement of the wind and even to the specific time of the day. These lagoons are a breeding place for some species of South American flamingos, such as the James and Andean flamingos.

In Uyuni itself (or just outside as a matter of fact) is the train cemetery.

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Weather

Uyuni has a harsh arid climate. Rain only falls from December to early March, the rest of the year is as dry as a bone. The best time to visit is the dry season from April untill November, though the second half of the period is better because temperatures are higher from late August onwards. Nights from May till early August can drop to -20 °C and average about -12 °C.

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Getting There

By Plane

Joya Andina Airport (UYU) has flights to La Paz, Sucre and Rurrenabaque.

By Train

Trains connect Uyuni to Oruro north and to Tupiza and the border with Argentina at Villazon/La Quiaca.

By Bus

Buses connect Uyuni to Oruro, La Paz, Tupiza, Sucre, Potosi, Santa Cruz and many other places throughout the country.

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Sleep

The touristic infrastructure is solid with hotels for all travellers. For example, people may stay in one of the marvelous hotels built entirely of salt located in or near the salt flat, or in other picturesque 3 or 4-star hotels in Uyuni, with all facilities, including private toilets with hot water, heating and laundry. Hostels are also available for budget travellers.

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Hotel de SalSalar de Uyuni ColchaniHotel-
Luna Salada HotelA7 km de Colchani/to 7km. from Colchani Town SalarHotel63
Piedra Blanca Backpackers HostelAv. Arce N� 27HOSTEL75
Ecologe Tambo CoquesaCamacho No. 19 (Central) Salar de UyiniHOTEL-
Los Flamencos Hotel EcologicoLaguna Hediona Camacho No. 19HOTEL-
Hotel GirasolesAv. Santa Cruz 155HOTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

There are internet cafés practically everywhere, they typically cost about 3Bs/hour, or about $0.50 per hour. Wifi is not as common as in many other Latin American countries, but more and more places offer it now, either free (sometimes for a limited amount of time) or at a cost. Avoid using your cellphone (with your home SIM card) when there is no wifi, as that's extremely expensive.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Bolivia is: 591. To make an international call from Bolivia, the code is: 0010. Emergency numbers include 110 (police), 118 (ambulance) and 119 (fire). Note that 911 forwards to the police (110).

Bolivia has three cellphone companies, Entel, Tigo, and Viva. If you are staying for a while, consider buying SIM cards for your cellphone. They are quite cheap and you get good network coverage in all main cities and towns. Entel sells good-priced international call possibilities for their SIMs. For example, you can buy 10 minutes for Bs20 (to be used in one day, disconnects automatically after expiration). You will need to register the SIM card at a local office of the telecom. You will need a photocopy of your passport and the mobile phone that you will use.

Practically every single town in Bolivia has an Entel office (almost always located in the main plaza). From here, you can make local, long-distance, and international calls. It's actually much more economical to make your international calls from an Entel office than to use an international calling card. To make local calls from a public phone, you need a phone card. You can buy them at any Entel office or any kiosk on the street. The average local call costs about Bs2 for 3 minutes.

Post

Correos Bolivia is the national postal service of the country. It offers a wide range of services at very reasonable prices. Services, speed and reliability are not up to the level it should be though and it can take several weeks for a simple card to arrive in Europe or North America. Most post offices in Bolivia are open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 8:00pm, Saturday from 8:30am to 6:00pm, and Sunday from 9:00am to noon. It costs Bs5 to mail a letter to the United States, Bs7 to Australia, and Bs6 to Europe. From time to time, you can buy stamps at kiosks and newspaper stands. There are no public mailboxes, so you'll have to mail your letter from the post office. If you want to send packages overseas it's best to use an international courier company like DHL, TNT, FedEx or UPS, as they offer fast and reliable services at competitive prices.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: -20.466667
  • Longitude: -66.833333

On Travellerspoint

Contributors

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Uyuni Travel Helpers

  • goodmike

    I have been to Uyuni four times with my friends and due to various reasons! the firts time we struggled a lot to have a good experience but, the results were just awful, I know which companies are just a "slimeball" , and people should just stay away from...Finally we found one of the most convinient ways to enjoy this fantastic (not always safe attraction) and I would like to share it, so that anybody can benefit from this experience!

    Ask goodmike a question about Uyuni

This is version 11. Last edited at 9:41 on Jun 23, 14 by Utrecht. 6 articles link to this page.

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