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  • Konrad Tillman

The Census In Bolivia: Why I Have To Go Back To Bolivia To See The Salt Flats/How To Get To The Salt Flats

Intro


While I made a post about what happened to my trip to the Salt Flats, I wanted to take a minute to showcase why going back to Bolivia and visiting the Salt Flats is one of the highest priorities on my list. Well, why couldn't I end up visiting the Salt Flats? A national census in Bolivia didn't allow me to make it back in time for my flight😒.


Salt Flats


For those unaware, Bolivia has one of the world's most incredible Salt Flats/places. The small village of Uyuni is situated an 8-hour bus ride south of La Paz or an hour's flight. Just outside of Uyuni lies the world's second-largest (supposedly) salt flat.


Simply a surreal place..

To make matters worse, I met a fellow Canadian at the airport in La Paz who had just returned from Uyuni. This man did tours and photography around the salt flats...


He mentioned that at that particular time, the salt flats were as beautiful as he had ever seen😳 due to the floods. On the same note, the floods really affected towns all over Bolivia in a not-so-great way😒. I read it on the news and was a shame to hear😒.


How Do You Get To The Salt Flats


So, an interesting question is how do you get to the salt flats in Uyuni?


Option 1: Take A Bus


The most common option for budget travelers is taking an overnight bus from La Paz to Uyuni. Tickets can be booked through ticketsbolivia.com and buses seem to run almost daily (minus the census). The first departure is around 9 pm in each direction and gets to the destination around 6 pm. Sadly, I was supposed to be on one of these buses but had to cancel.


Tickets seem to range around 20$ for a one-way fare including an angled flat (160-degree) seat.


Option 2: Fly With BoA


Next time I am in Bolivia, I will be flying with BoA. There is no chance I go back to Bolivia and not review BoA. Anyway back to the salt flats.


The issue lies in the fact that there is only one flight per day (maximum) between La Paz and Uyuni. Flight operates on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday on a 737 in all economy configurations. The schedule is as follows.


La Paz 7:40 am- Uyuni 8:40 am

Uyuni 9:15 am- La Paz 10:15 am


Quite early

Prices can fluctuate vastly. When I tried to head down there I looked at the flight prices and the cost came out to almost 400$ one way. I advise booking early as tickets can sell out on these flights!


However, the lowest round trip cost I came across looking at dates was 171$. With the other airlines in the region out of business, BoA operates a monopoly on this route😒.


Option 3: Train


Honestly, I couldn't find any dates or recent (post covid) information on how to book the train. From what I understand the train only takes you halfway and the bus takes you the remaining half.


The Census: What Happened


Another word of advice when it comes to Bolivia: be flexible. While I am in love with the country of Bolivia, everything happens on its own time. Flights are constantly delayed, traffic is crazy, and, at times life is very relaxed. Check if anything is going on like a census, as it can severely impact your travel in Bolivia.


For the first time in the last decade, Bolivia had a census. It just happened to fall on one of the two days I had planned to be in Bolivia🙂. To be fair, this is on me as I should have checked. If only a travel blog had told me to do my research before visiting😅.


This meant, to er on the side of caution, I only spent a single night in La Paz and didn't make it to the Salt Flats. Instead, I hopped on a flight to Chile the next morning! That review will be coming soon!


Final Thoughts


The Salt Flats are a gem that I wish I had been able to experience. From pictures and interactions with others, there is no doubt in my mind that I will end up visiting within the next 12 months. Sadly, due to a census, I had to change my travel plans but next time I'll make sure to do my research!






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