Who has not seen those beautiful photos in perspective taken by travelers from around the world? Those sunsets reflected on a huge natural mirror? Well, if you are reading this post, it is because you really want to visit the beautiful Salar de Uyuni. So here I leave you information that can be used to build your next trip from Lima, Peru.
All right! There are two ways to get to Bolivia from Peru:
- Direct flight Lima- La Paz: it is the easiest option but also the most expensive one especially if you go in the high season (January-February). A ticket could cost you up to 200 dollars if you don’t buy it with time.
2. Cross the border from Puno: the most economical and adventurous option. If you have time to make some stops along the way, this option suits you. In the next lines I will tell you my complete experience.
Cruzar la frontera desde Puno: la opción más económica y aventurera. Si cuentas con tiempo para hacer algunas paradas en el camino, pues está opción te conviene. En las próximas lineas te contaré mi experiencia completa.
First, I took a Lima-Juliaca flight of 60 dollars round trip. There is no direct flight to Puno, so you will have to land first in Juliaca. Don’t worry that this city is only 30-45 minutes by bus. From the airport of Juliaca you can find combis that leave you in the city of Puno (in your same accommodation) only 10 soles. Personally, I arrived at averaging 10 p.m. and was a little worried about not finding combis at that time, but they do work! Do not worry if the flight you found arrives at night in Juliaca, there are several people who take these buses, and watch out! there is no need even to leave the airport.
Already in Puno, you have two options to cross the border into Bolivia.
You can buy bus tickets to La Paz that can cost you approximately 70 to 80 soles with a private company. You can take a few small groups much cheaper that will leave you in Desaguadero for 10 soles; from there take another bus to La Paz.
You can buy bus tickets to La Paz that can cost you approximately 70 to 80 soles with a private company.
You can take a few small groups much cheaper that will leave you in Desaguadero for 10 soles; from there take another bus to La Paz.
The total of the trip is the same, and only the hours will vary for the procedures of Migrations that you have to carry out (and how many people you find).
Me, I have last name, adventurer. I took the second option. So I went to the bus stop that is a few blocks from the Bus Terminal of Puno. The trip to Desaguadero takes about an hour and a half, and the combis leave you a few meters away from the migration controls. To my luck, I met Jeremy, a Frenchman who was traveling on his own in South America, and who was also going to make the same route to La Paz. We decided to share that section together to get a little company.
An extra fact: On the same border (and for the side of Peru), there are exchange houses. I advise you to do it here because the change is much cheaper than in La Paz. A sun equals 2 Bolivians.
Then, of all the Migration paperwork, we advanced a few blocks to the whereabouts of combis that went to La Paz. The trip to that city already costs you in Bolivians, and they charged us around 15. The road takes about 1 hour, and the final whereabouts is near the City Cemetery. In short: the travel hours from Puno to La Paz are 03 hours. Total spent: 17 soles.
From La Paz to Uyuni?
Totally aggrieved, I barely arrived in La Paz. I went to the Central Bus Station of La Paz and bought a ticket to Uyuni for the same night. A semi-bed bus can cost you approximately 90 Bolivians (about 45 soles in Peruvian currency). The trip to Uyuni is 8 hours, and the departures are generally from 09:00 p.m. I took the few hours in the city to go to the El Alto viewpoint. You can walk from the Central Bus Station and visit it, just be careful! That area is of factories and there are not many people out there.
Tours in Uyuni?
Arriving in Uyuni, you are going to rain offers! They can vary from 93 to 100 dollars for the 3-day tour. Incredibly, I found a 04-day tour for $ 120.
About the agencies, try to review the information they give you, especially the places you are going to visit. They usually vary a lot, and some bad agencies offer you the starry night on the Salar or more times on it for a little more money. In the end, many times they don’t meet travelers.
I hope this info helps you build your backpacking plan! I will share my experience on the Salar in another post! Greetings travelers!