The Bolivian Salt Flats has so much beauty to offer promising the world’s largest salt flats, not to mention it is a major breeding ground for several flamingoes!
Be prepared to see the snow and the sun all in one day depending on the tour and route you choose. I decided to go from Bolivia and get dropped off in Chile. But to enjoy the majestic views with ease you have to come prepared. So, now that I have gone through it, I wanted to put up a few tips for travelling the Bolivian Salt Flats that I wish I knew.
1. Go with a reputable touring company
I cannot stress this enough. I went through a travel agency, and well the driver ended up getting high and drunk on drugs and we kind of fell into a ditch in the Salt Flats! I met other travellers on the way and they asked who the company was. Their’s had an actual name, and their driver did not even touch a drink even though they offered him some! So that was my problem, I didn’t choose a company with a name, it was just through a dodgy travel agency who promised me that the tour guide would speak english (he didn’t) and that the hot springs were free (it wasn’t). Don’t travel with Sandra’s Travel Agency. Going for the cheapest isn’t always the best, your safety is worth more. It’s what I did and if I was to do it over again I would definitely pick another tour company.
2. Make sure your driver doesn’t drink
I know this might seem like no big deal, but trust me when the drivers get super drunk and starts driving you in the desert it can become a problem. If you see him/her drinking, nip it in the bud. Your safety is more important than his fun.
3. English and Spanish speaking driver
My Spanish was still a little bit rusty, so if you are anything like me make sure you pick a driver who can speak English and Spanish. I was promised that my driver would speak English but he didn’t at all.
4. Bring toiletries such as wipes and antibacterial spray
You are totally going to think I am gross, but our group did not shower for the 3 days. It just wasn’t worth it at the time, the showers were too cold. Not to mention I had to pay extra to use the showers. Go figure. So my best advice would be to bring wipes and anti-bacterial spray so you can have it around with you when you need it. It will be a lifesaver.
5. Bring snacks and beers
Food is included in the tour, but snacks isn’t. Nor is alcohol. So be sure to stock up on little snacks and of course some alcohol. There won’t be any stores to sell you alcohol but there will be pit stops into connivence stores.
6. Make sure you know the name of your hostel
After that horrific ride where our driver got drunk and another passenger had to take over (seriously), our driver had to go through each hostel and ask if there was room for us. Basically they have accommodation, they just don’t know which hostel is willing to have us. Luckily we all got beds, but some had to share with complete strangers because there simply was not enough.