Code: MBUYUNI Duration: 4 days
Driving our 4WD vehicle, we will overland the Bolivian northern highlands towards Uyuni salt flat; the largest salt concentration on the world and a nature wonder; there we will have the chance to ride across this amazing landscape and also to descend from Tunupa view-point. This Mountain Bike journey has been designed for those who would like to visit the main Salt Lakes in the Bolivian highlands with a closer contact to nature.
It is true, surrealistic places really exist!. Not only in Salvador Daly paintings or Stanley Kubrick movies, they are in Bolivian deserts too. Imagine multicolored lakes: deep purple with yellow beaches, emerald green with black rocky cliffs, intense red and white Caribbean sandy flats; hundreds of metallic colored volcanoes surrounding the valleys, cobalt blue sky, and then an infinite white salt flats. And you enjoy all of these while riding your mountain bike.
During our rainy season (normally from December through March) some years Coipasa and Uyuni salt flats can get flooded, making driving conditions over the salt flats dangerous or even impassable. If this happens the route from day 3 to 5 may need to be changed in sake of the security of the group.
Please note that to take this trip alone, you must already be acclimatized to the highlands. This means that you must have spent at least 3-5 days at the highlands doing light physical activity. For more information about this subject, please refer to the page acclimatization at our website.
Day 1. Transport to Sabaya. Ride in the highlands. Basic hostel.
Day 2. Transport to Tawa. Ride over Coipasa salt flats. Hotel.
Day 3. Downhill ride from Tunupa. Ride over Uyuni salt flats. Hotel
Day 4. Transport to La Paz.
- Physically moderated but mind-demanding mountain bike traverse of Uyuni & Coipasa salt flats; an unforgettable experience riding on unique salt concentrations surrounding by bizarre surrealistic landscape.
- Great sightseeing of the highlands on the way in and out to the Uyuni salt flats.
- Meals mentioned in the itinerary.
- Full land transportation during the trip.
- Hotel accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary.
- Bilingual guide during the trip.
- National Park entrance fees.
Services Not Included
- All transfers IN/OUT to airports.
- International & local flight tickets & fees.
- Meals & accommodation while in La Paz.
- Mountain bike and personal gear like: helmet, glovesand clothing.
- Insurance of any kind.
- Any expense due to a rescue operation (rescuers fee, transportation, or medical cost).
Day to day details
Early in the morning leave La Paz heading south traversing the Bolivian highlands; the Altiplano; towards the city of Oruro where we will have lunch in a very traditional restaurant. We will continue south traversing endless flat lands. Somewhere before our destination, we will get on our bikes to ride the last part of the paved road towards the village of Sabaya. We need to exercise and slowly acclimatize to altitude.
Overnight: Basic hostel
La Paz: 3,650m (11,972ft)
Sabaya: 3,657m (11,994ft)
Driving: 6-7Hrs (439km)
Riding: 1-2Hrs (30km)
Another day we start early in the morning to drive to the shores of Coipasa salt flats, there we will ride into and across part of this interesting salt lake. The terrain is quite flat but still demanding due to the altitude and the sandy surface. We will enjoy the wild and deserted landscape that surrounds the salt lake with its colored volcanoes. Later, we will load our bikes on the car and cross the land dividing Coipasa and Uyuni Salt Falts, to then start riding our bikes again but this time over the biggest salt concentration in the planet. Navigating in the midst of this rock hard blinding salt sea (take sunglasses!) towards our hotel located in the village of Tawa at the northern shores, we will have the feeling that we are pedaling on the same place, without movement. Only the salt crystals formations tell us that we really moving.
Overnight: Hotel del Sal Tayka
Tawa: 3,685m (12,086ft)
Driving: 3-4 Hrs (120km)
Riding: 4-5 Hrs (65km)
Driving along of the salt lake shores we will reach Coquesa village and drive up to the trailhead where we will pay a short visit to a ceremonial cave where we will meet ancient mummies probably sacrificed to the sacred volcano Tunupa. After visiting the cave, we will start riding our bikes downhill towards the salt flats and then attempt traversing the lake towards the village of Colchani (literally the place of the salt) where we will stay in a charming and unique hotel mostly made of blocks of salt. Riding our bikes so far away from the shores gives us the feeling that we are pedaling on the same place, without movement. Only the salt crystals formations tell us that we really moving.
Overnight: Hotel Luna Salada
Trailhead: 3,978m (13,048ft)
View point: 4,268m (13,999ft)
Colchani: 3,672m (12,044ft)
Driving: 3-4Hrs (108km)
Riding: 7-8Hrs (87km)
Today we drive back to La Paz. Those who want to continue the trip to Potosi or Sucre can stay in Uyuni to find a connection. From Uyuni we will follow a paved road all the way to La Paz.
El Alto: 4,100m (13,450ft)
La Paz: 3,650m (11,972ft)
Driving: 9-10 Hrs (570km)