Journeying from Argentina’s northwest into Bolivia (or the other way round) is a popular route for travellers in South America. Bolivia is home to the incredible Salar de Uyuni salt flats and a whole host of other great natural attractions that come with budget-friendly prices. To help plan your adventure in this beautiful corner of the world, here are some tips on how to get from Salta to Uyuni.
Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is a spectacular place to visit / Image Source
Going from Salta by bus
There are unfortunately no direct buses between Salta and Uyuni. All transport goes just to the border town of La Quiaca, on the Argentine side, and Villazón, on the Bolivian side. There are regular daily buses from Salta to the border town of La Quiaca. These tickets can be bought online from Andesmar or Plataforma 10 in advance, or from the bus station in Salta. Once you arrive in La Quiaca, you will need to either take a taxi to the border or walk. It is a short walk down the hill and across the international bridge.
What you need to know about the border crossing:
Immigration is open from 6am until 7pm daily, on both sides.
Crossing the border, you will need to fill out a form when entering Bolivia. Some countries have to pay a fee upon entry. Check your visa requirements in advance. Be aware that US citizens must be in possession of a hotel booking or letter of invitation as well as US$135 in cash. You can withdraw US dollars from the ATM in Villazón. You may also be required to show proof of a yellow fever vaccination if you are travelling from a country with a risk of yellow fever.
Make sure you go to both windows at the border, to get your stamp out of one country and into the other.
If you book a bus or train ticket in advance, give yourself plenty of time to cross the border. It is famous for being rather slow and frustrating. The earlier you get there, the better.
The otherworldly Salar de Uyuni before sunrise / Image Source
Getting from the border to Uyuni
Once you’re in Bolivia, you have the option of taking a taxi, bus, or train from Villazón to Uyuni, or Tupiza, depending on where you want to be based. Many tours to Salar de Uyuni run from Tupiza. You can buy bus tickets in Villazón. This is safer than buying in advance because of delays at the border crossing. There are two train companies that operate this route: Expreso del Sur and Wara Wara del Sur. Expreso del Sur is more comfortable and quicker. Be aware that the trains only run on certain days.
Expreso del Sur – From Villazón to Uyuni: Wednesday and Saturday; From Uyuni to Villazón: Tuesday and Friday.
Wara Wara del Sur – From Villazón to Uyuni: Monday and Thursday; From Uyuni to Villazón: Wednesday and Sunday.
Tickets can be bought online, up to a week in advance. If you want to book closer to that time, you cannot make the booking online.
Salar de Uyuni has breathtaking reflective qualities
Taking a Tour to Uyuni
If you would like to combine a visit to Salta with Uyuni, without having to worry about making the arrangements yourself, you have the option of taking a tour from Salta to Uyuni.
One option is the Discovering Uyuni Tour. This 5-night tour will take you from Salta City through the province of Salta, visiting such places as the Mountain of Seven Colours and Humahuaca. Cross the border into Bolivia to Uyuni, where you will visit Salar de Uyuni, and Bolivia’s Highland Lakes. The tour ends in San Pedro de Atacama in Chile (with the option to stay in Uyuni, if you choose).
Another, more complete, option is the Discovering Uyuni and Atacama Tour. Lasting 9 nights, this tour will take you from Salta to Uyuni and San Pedro de Atacama and back to Salta. Some of the tour highlights include Purmamarca, the Mountain of Seven Colours, Humahuaca, Salar de Uyuni, the Bolivia Highland Lakes, Volcanic Geysers, Laguna Verde, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile’s Highland Lakes and Valle del Luna.
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However you decide to get to Uyuni from Salta, it is certainly worth combining your trip to Argentina with a visit to Bolivia. To see more tours across Argentina, visit argentina4u.com.
By: Daytours4u Content Team