How to get to Salar de Uyuni? [All options and origins]

horizonte del salar de uyuni

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The Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt desert in the world. Its extensive white surface is the attraction of more than 60 000 tourists a year. One of the curiosities about Salar de Uyuni is its optical effects. When the sun rises or sets, an impressive play of colors and lights is produced, and when it rains, the line of the horizon is erased to give the impression of walking among clouds.

It is accessible from different places in South America, and we tell you all the possibilities to reach Salar de Uyuni and be successful in the attempt. The only thing you’ll have to worry about after reading this post is deciding the best time to travel to Salar de Uyuni, and that’s it!

Tourists in Salar de Uyuni

How to get to Salar de Uyuni from Bolivia?

If you are in Bolivia, get to Salar the Uyuni is a piece of cake. The most common origins to undertake the visit from Bolivia are the cities of La Paz and Oruro.

How to get to Salar de Uyuni from La Paz?

From La Paz airport to Uyuni airport is 50 minutes. If you decide to start the trip by car it is about 7 hours, depending on how much you step on the accelerator on route 1. Arriving to Salar de Uyuni by bus always takes a little longer, it depends on the bus and the way you choose, that is why it is important to ask the driver about the details of the trip.

Wait! Remember that you still have to get to Salar de Uyuni, at the moment you are in Uyuni. Well, from Uyuni you can make the way by car or by bus too. Although the distance is not much, due to the terrain conditions, the duration of the trip is about 2 hours if you decide to take the bus to Llica and a bit less by car. If you choose the bus option you will have to ask the driver to stop in the middle of the journey because Salar de Uyuni is not a planned stop.

White desert Salar de Uyuni

If you are in a hurry and speed is your thing, you can spend a day at Salar de Uyuni, but you can also extend your stay, enjoy the effort and discover the surroundings and the charms of this space during three days at Salar de Uyuni. We know you would stay longer, but you have to discover more spots in South America!

How to get to Salar de Uyuni from Oruro?

From Oruro Uyuni can be reached by car, train, and bus. The longest trip is by train, which takes almost 7 hours to Uyuni, 5 hours by bus and less than 4 hours by car. Once in Uyuni, the options are always the same: look for the bus to Llica or drive the same car you used to get to Uyuni. Or rent a jeep with a guide to know all the corners of Salar de Uyuni and forget about buses, drivers, and bad experiences on unknown roads.

How to get to Salar de Uyuni from Perú?

If you have traveled to South America it is worth the trip to Salar de Uyuni, no matter from where. Visiting Salar de Uyuni is an attraction even for those who visit other Latin American countries. From Peru the most repeated route starts from Cusco, we tell you!

How to get to Salar de Uyuni from Cusco?

If you have decided to travel to Peru and plan to go to Salar de Uyuni, it is possible! You can fly, drive or rest your ass on the bus. If you prefer to fly from Cusco to Uyuni it is approximately 5 hours; if you decide to drive you will do it for 17 hours by the route 3S and if you are going to sleep in the seat of the bus it will be during 20 hours, good nap. You have to take into account that if you travel by bus or by plane you will have to take the bus to Llica to get to the Salar de Uyuni.

How to get to Salar de Uyuni from San Pedro de Atacama?

San Pedro de Atacama is one of the main entrances to Salar de Uyuni. The total distance if you go from San Pedro de Atacama to Salar de Uyuni is almost 500 kilometers by route 21, which means almost 8 hours of trip. You can also go by bus to Uyuni and from there look for the bus direction Llica to Salar de Uyuni.

If your head almost explodes from so many kilometers, hours, buses and you have already discarded the idea of arriving at Salar de Uyuni without a tour, we understand you. The most common, accessible, and realistic option is to make a three days trip and on the way enjoy the Polques hot springs, the Morning Sun Geysers, or the Train Cemetery.

Train Cemetery Salar de Uyuni

How to get to Salar de Uyuni without a tour?

If you like challenges and your family name is Brave, you can find your way to Salar de Uyuni without any kind of guide. As we have been repeating, the first step is to get to Uyuni, and once there, take the bus that crosses the whole salt flat towards Llica. As you are not interested in reaching the other part of the salt flat but in exploring it, you have to ask the bus driver to stop at Incahuasi Island, in the heart of the Salar de Uyuni. It is important that you agree with the driver on the time it will be the next day because if not, it probably won’t happen there.

Incahuasi Island Uyuni

It seems that all roads lead to Salar de Uyuni, some more complex, others more direct. It all depends on how you want to organize your trip and the amount of days you will spend on the continent that you will be more convinced of one option or another. Anyway, you have to go. Our recommendation will always be to go for the safe side (we are not your parents, but… almost). The adventure begins, are you in?


Journalist, nomad and adventurer. Paula would never say no to a camping trip and is an expert in setting up a tent in less than 10 seconds.

Besides that, she loves to dance and maybe that's why she loves Latin America so much. One of her best trips was to Argentina, but she has many more destinations behind her, which she talks about in this blog.

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