Bolivia Travel Tips

Getting to Salar de Uyuni from Peru

Discover how to get to Salar de Uyuni from Peru, whether you are starting from Machu Picchu, Cusco, or even Lima. Find tour recommendations here as well!

2021 Updated Information about the best way to get to Salar de Uyuni from Peru. Check out the different options and prices you have available to you.

The Bolivian Salt Flats of Salar de Uyuni is a must on every self-respecting list of what to do in South America. This isn’t surprising as there are more than enough things to see and do here, including a train graveyard, hotels made entirely out of salt, and even natural hot springs which are said to help all kinds of physical ailments. Because of this, many travelers find themselves asking the best way to get from Peru to Salar de Uyuni. There are several different methods to do this, ranging in levels of price, safety, and convenience. Read on to decide which method is easiest for you.

Getting from Machu Picchu to Salar de Uyuni

Getting from two of the major landmarks in South America may seem like a challenge, and it does deserve a little thinking, but there is so much to see between the two, you would be doing yourself a disservice to miss some of the wonderful hidden gems along the way.

The only way to get from Machu Picchu to Salar de Uyuni is by first going to Cusco. This can be done by train or bus. If you have taken a tour to Machu Picchu then you will be returned to Cusco with the tour. Check out this blog with everything you need to know about Machu Picchu.

Getting to Salar de Uyuni from Cusco

Getting from Cusco to Salar de Uyuni may seem challenging, after all, it crosses mountains, cities, and even the incredible Lake Titicaca in Puno. There are three main ways of getting to Salar de Uyuni from Cusco.

Cusco to Salar de Uyuni by Plane

Flying to Salar de Uyuni from Cusco is arguably the biggest waste of time and money. Since flights from Cusco almost exclusively go to Lima, the route necessary for you to make this journey would have you flying from Cusco to Lima, and then taking another flight from Lima to La Paz. From La Paz you would then pick up a tour to the Salt Flats.

Cusco to Salar de Uyuni by Peru Hop

Peru Hop is the best way to get from Cusco to the salt flats, especially for travelers. Break up your journey if you wish by making stops along the way to see both sides of the incredible Lake Titicaca (Puno and Copacabana). There is the added benefit of being accompanied at all times by a trained guide, who will assist you with border crossing woes, from ensuring that your Visa is correct, to ensuring that all of your documents are in order before arriving. The guides can even help you with booking your tour to Salar de Uyuni from La Paz.

Cusco to Salar de Uyuni by Public Bus

The public bus is probably the cheaper of the options available to you, but it doesn’t come without its perils. You will need to change your bus a few times, sometimes in less than desirable locations (at the very least at the border between Peru and Bolivia, which can be at best, intimidating). If you do choose to travel by a public bus, ensure that you opt for the known companies. Many bus companies in both Peru and Bolivia can be dangerous, ignoring safety regulations, speed limits and passenger capacity. Make sure that you don’t get caught up in this sort of company. A few extra soles aren’t worth your safety. That’s why we recommend Peru Hop, with its 100% safety record, there is little to sniff at.

Getting to Salar de Uyuni from Lima

Getting from the capital city of Peru to Salar de Uyuni is no mean feat. While it is a long way through distance, there is so much to see and do on your journey, make sure that even if you are short on time, you should give these two countries the best chance you can to wow you. That said, read on to discover the different options you have available to you in order to get to Salar de Uyuni from Peru’s capital city.

Lima to Salar de Uyuni by Plane

To fly from Lima to Salar de Uyuni is not possible, you would first need to fly from Lima to La Paz, and from there pick up a tour in La Paz which will take you all the way that you need to go. This route is not recommended, as you will miss out on all of the incredible sights of both Peru and Bolivia on your way, and you will likely experience some level of altitude sickness from changing altitude so quickly.

Lima to Salar de Uyuni by Peru Hop

It is possible to get a Peru Hop bus from Lima to La Paz. This is our recommended route for several reasons. First, it will allow you to acclimatize slowly and minimize (the very real) risks associated with changing altitudes quickly. Secondly, it allows you to experience some of the incredible hidden gems and must-sees of Peru and Bolivia on your ways, such as Huacachina, the only desert oasis in South America, the Nazca Lines and Lake Titicaca in Puno. The third reason is Peru Hops spotless safety record, and assistance from our trained bilingual guides in crossing the Peru Bolivia border, all included in the price of your ticket. As with every other way, you will need to take a tour from La Paz to Uyuni.

Lima to Salar de Uyuni by Public Bus

The public bus is probably the cheaper of the options available to you, but it doesn’t come without its perils. You will need to change your bus a few times, sometimes in less than desirable locations (at the very least at the border between Peru and Bolivia, which can be at best, intimidating). If you do choose to travel by a public bus, ensure that you opt for the known companies. Many bus companies in both Peru and Bolivia can be dangerous, ignoring safety regulations, speed limits and passenger capacity. Make sure that you don’t get caught up in this sort of company. A few extra soles aren’t worth your safety. That’s why we recommend Peru Hop, with its 100% safety record, there is little to sniff at.

Tours of Salar de Uyuni

Many times while traveling, people ask themselves whether it is better to take a tour of a place or to go it alone. To give the Salar de Uyuni the attention that it deserves while going alone, you simply must rent a car. Once you have gone to the expense of renting a car it is often just as cheap to purchase a tour, and this also takes out many of the other challenges, such as finding your way to each attraction.

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There are a few different tours available, for those who wish to explore and for those who are in a rush. For those in more of a hurry, the 1-day tours of the Salt Flats cover just about enough, you will see the train graveyard, Colchani, the salt processing village just next to it, and Isla Incahuasi, the rocky former island set in the center of this huge expanse.

With the three or four-day tours it is possible to begin in Chile. This does of course mean that your travel time is longer, but it also brings a level of flexibility that you can’t always get from these sorts of tours. For those traveling from Peru, you have a great option to get to La Paz with Peru Hop.

Three and four-day tours allow for a night in the hotels made entirely out of salt, plus another night almost, but not quite, out under some of the most beautiful stars that you will ever see. As if this wasn’t enough already, a dip in the salt pools of Uyuni will soothe your aching muscles, leaving you ready for the rest of your travels.

What to Pack on Your Trip to Salar de Uyuni

The top of any packing list for the Bolivian salt flats has to be a good camera with a lot of storage and battery. This is key for both people who will be experiencing the one day tour or the three and four-day tours.

Other necessities include:

  • Lip Balm (for the salt)
  • Warm clothes
  • Sun Cream
  • Sun Glasses
  • Cash – this is important as the few cash machines that are there run out of money quite quickly and nowhere takes a credit card.
  • Torch – for those late-night toilet runs
  • Towel

These are the basics, check out this list to see a complete itinerary of what to pack!

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The Lakes of Salar de Uyuni

There are many awe-inspiring lakes to see in Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. Laguna Verde and Laguna Colorada are both incredible lakes with unique colors to boast. Enjoy the rolling red of Laguna Colorada, the incredible blue-green of Laguna Verde and even the crisp, fresh white of Laguna Blanca.


Bolivia is a wonderful country full of beautiful and endless landscapes, and Salar de Uyuni is the perfect example of that with its crisp and endless landscapes, rare species of animals, and completely unique things to see. When else will you get the opportunity to sleep in a salt igloo?