Salar de Uyuni, San Pedro de Atacam and Salta
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Jan 29, 2013 8:35 AM Last Post By: devino
Jan 28, 2013 11:42 AM
after exploring Asia I am a total greenhorn when it comes to Southamerica.
So I have some questions. I hope somebody can help me with:
We plan to visit Salar de Uyuni from La Paz and then onwards to Salta to take a flight to Buenos Aires. A lot of
travellers choose to go from Salar de Uyuni to San Pedro to Atacama instead of going directly to Salta from Salar de Uyuni.
1) What do you suggest?
2) How much time do we need for the trip? (3 days Uyuni -Hotel de Sal - Laguna Colorada - San Pedro) and how many days for salta?
3) I read that there are also salt plains in Salta? Is there any difference or any reason to stay in Salta?
Jan 28, 2013 12:41 PM
I'll stick to question 3. Yes, there are a few salares in Salta but nothing compared to Uyuni/Coipasa in Bolivia. But even if there weren't, there are plenty of reasons to stay in Salta. It happens to be one of the most popular places in Argentina!
In an of itself it's a very attractive town. It is also a good staging point for trips to the surrounding provinces of Salta and Jujuy. Places to see include (but are not limited to): Cafayate, Cachi, Humahuaca, Purmamarca, Tilcara. Excellent wine in Cafayate, beautiful ochre landscapes throughout. I would consider this region not to be missed!
See below for inspiration:
Enjoy your travels!
Jan 28, 2013 12:50 PM
2Agree with polyglot; scenery around Salta is amazing, it's probably my favourite region in Argentina. I'd say that in 3-4 days you can visit the most interesting things there. Renting a car is the easiest (not necessarily cheapest) way to get around and visit places like Cafayate and Cachi. Purmamarca and Tilcara and in between San Pedro and Salta, so you could stop there on your way to Salta. All depends on how much time you have!
San Pedro de Atacama is a nice and laidback place in itself, which is also a reason a lot of people go there: sandboarding, stargazing, mountainbiking and lots more to do.
Jan 28, 2013 1:19 PM
3What do think about the following plan:
1) Flight: Lima – Cuzco 06:50 – 08:00
2) Cuzco - Sacred Valley
3) Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu
4) Machu Pichu – Cuzco
5) Cuzco –Arequipa (Nightbus 10h)
6) Arequipa (colca canyon)
7) Arequipa city
8) Arequipa - Puno
10) Puno - Lake Titicaca
11) Lake Titticaca - La Paz
12) La Paz
13) La Paz – Uyuni (10h by Bus, is there a night bus?)
*15) Uyuni – Salthotel *
*16) Salthotel - Laguna *
17) Laguna - San Pedro
*18) San Pedro *
19) San Pedro – Salta (12 h by bus)
20) Salta (Humahuaca Gorge)
21) Salta (City)
Flight: Salta – Buenos Aires 20:30 – 22.30
Is that possible? Should I skip something?
Jan 28, 2013 1:35 PM
Jan 28, 2013 1:46 PM
5Is each number one day??? If so, this is very tight indeed. One day to see the Sacred Valley is very rushed, and one day to see Cañón del Colca won't really work out. Chivay, the most common entry point to the canyon, is already about 5 hours one-way from Arequipa...
I'm a little worried that you wouldn't be able to actually relax and enjoy yourself if you're constantly looking to the next step. If you are short of time and can't spare any days, then maybe reconsider Arequipa and Colca and stick to Cusco and Titicaca. That my tuppence worth at least, but I hate being in a hurry when travelling.
Jan 28, 2013 2:20 PM
6femby is right, the buses between San Pedro and Salta do not go every day, so check the days and book ahead if possible.
Also agree with polyglot you are planning a lot in just 3 weeks. If you want to stick to your schedule, there's a few days you might be able to shave off your schedule here and there:
9) no need for a full day in Puno
12) no need for a full day in la Paz
13) I'm pretty sure there are night buses between la Paz and Uyuni
14) do not spend any time in Uyuni itself, it's cold and not very pretty at all
But whichever way you do it, if you are going to do everything you are planning to do, it will be a bit rushed.
Jan 28, 2013 3:03 PM
7agree with all the above.....the colca canyon certainly deserves at least a 2 day trip and yes there is plenty to see and do in Salta and the surronding areas. travel in bolivia can be slow so best not to micro plan to the day there.
Jan 29, 2013 6:18 AM
thank you so much for your help! especially devino!
i know that it is a tight schedule, but i am used to travel fast.
i searched for the bus prices from san pedro to salta. they charge around 125 USD for the trip! is that a normal or a gringo price? :o) the biggest problem is that the buses only leave about every 3 days, which makes it a bit more difficult.
i am thinking to skip san pedro and leave straight to salta? is it really worth visiting san pedro?
1) so devino suggests to shorten puno and la paz.
are there any tours that will take us from puno to la paz via lake titicaca? that way we can save some time.
2) if we take the night bus from la paz to uyuni which takes like 10hours (is that correct?) we will pretty early in uyuni. what time do they usually start with their tours? if we arive to late we will bes stuck for that day in uyuni?
-->if we save all that time in puno and la paz and/or uyuni i can stay one more day in arequpia or spend the time in san pedro?
Jan 29, 2013 6:50 AM
9Puno is right on Lake Titicaca, so there is no travel time involved in getting to the lake from Puno. It takes time to get to the islands though, which is the interesting bit. Find out which islands in Lake Titicaca you want to visit and you'll be able to find out how much time you need around the lake.
Yes, you can take a night bus from La Paz to Uyuni, arrive in the morning and leave on a tour straight away if you book in advance. We had someone on our tour who did it like that. Tours leave between 9 and 10 in the morning I think, so the night bus would normally be on time for that. However, the one thing to keep in mind when travelling through Bolivia is that things do not always go to plan; road blocks especially are a risk. We were stuck in a road block for 6 hours when we were travelling from Sucre to La Paz. If this happens, you'll miss your tour so you'd need to establish really clearly with your Uyuni agency what they do with your booking in a case like that (pay again, rebook for next day, refund?).
Jan 29, 2013 7:12 AM
10ah yes, and regarding San Pedro...
Would you like to do one of the following:
- floating in a salt lake
- stargazing tour
Those are some of the unique activities you can do in San Pedro that you cannot do as easily in the other places you are visiting, so if you're into one or more of them it might be worth stopping in San Pedro for a night or so.
I guess a lot of it depends on when you arrive in San Pedro and when the buses for Salta leave whether you can spend time in San Pedro.
Jan 29, 2013 7:40 AM
so puno is just a startingpoint to explore the lake? what island do u recommand. isla del sol seems popular.
the activities sound interesting, but i already did similar stuff. It seems to me that the real attraction is the way from uyuni to san pedro? How long is a typical Uyunitour? How do i get from Uyuni or the place where the tour ends to Salta?
thanks a lot
Jan 29, 2013 8:35 AM
12Puno is on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca. From there you can visit some of the famous floating islands. I have not visited those islands, so i cannot tell you anything about them, but i'm sure others can comment.
If you want to visit Isla del Sol, you have to go from Copacabana, which is on the Bolivian side of the lake. Travel time between Puno and Copacabana (incuding border crossing) is probably about 1.5 - 2 hours. From Copacabana you can do day tours to Isla del Sol.
All Uyuni tours are either circular (i.e. start and end in Uyuni) or end with a dropoff in San Pedro de Atacama on the third day. You would then take a bus from San Pedro to Salta.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$17.00 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$8.81 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$13.61 per night