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Guide to leave the airport of Santiago de Chile, without having a hard time

Guide to leave the airport of Santiago de Chile, without having a hard time

Today I write this guide, given the growing number of stories I’ve heard from travelers who have had a hard time trying to get from the airport to the city of Santiago. The airport “Arturo Merino Benítez”, international and domestic flights, is located in the outskirts of the city of Santiago and above all if this is your first time in Chile, this information will be useful.

In addition to traveling a lot, I connect with travelers who come to the country in different ways and it gave me much courage to know of a Mexican exchange student, to which a taxi driver charged him $ 100,000 Chilean pesos (equivalent to about 147 US dollars ) For taking it from the airport to the metro station and buses “Pajaritos” of Santiago, which is only 15 to 20 minutes from the airport (which should not cost more than $ 10,000 pesos, $ 12,000 at most).

This coupled with the fact that in the last two opportunities that I have arrived at the airport they have tried to cheat me, they have motivated me to guide you about it so you don’t have bad times when you arrive to this amazing country. Here some considerations …

  • To this day there is no metro line that reaches the airport, although its construction is planned, this will not happen until a few years later (between 2025 and 2045, a lot is missing). Therefore to get to the city you have 4 options to choose depending on the time of arrival of your flight to the country and the money you want to spend on your transport.
  • Santiago Airport from 2016 has free Wi-Fi. This will help you stay connected and evaluate other options.

First things first…

Pass the immigration control of Santiago airport, retrieve your luggage and submit your statement to the “Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero” (SAG). You should know that the fines are very severe about  the entry of plant or animal products into the country, since they are very cautious that vectors can enter that can cause infections, especially in the products that the country exports (Wines, salmon farming,Meat, etc.). If you have doubts about something you bring, you’d better declare it and ask, so you will not have any problems.

Upon leaving the luggage check by the SAG you will be in the arrival area of international flights at the airport and you will be quickly stalked by taxi drivers, legal and illegal. It will depend on you what you want to do. According to schedules and budget your options are as follows:

1) Bus Centropuerto / Turbus: these buses offer a shuttle service to the subway station and buses “Pajaritos”, neuralgic point that will connect you with the rest of the city of Santiago or take a bus to other cities of interest such as Viña Del Mar and Valparaíso, which are an hour and a half from Santiago and are very touristy.

  • Advantages of this service: it is the most economical of the options, the one-way trip has a value of $ 1700 Chilean pesos (less than 3 US dollars) and $ 3000 if they buy round trip. They have good frequency, they leave every 10 to 15 minutes.

 

  • Disadvantages: These buses operate only between 6 AM and 11:30 PM so if you arrive after that time, you should use another option or wait at the airport. The space for the luggage is a little uncomfortable and small, in the buses Centropuerto you must carry the suitcases with you on your own, in the Turbus sometimes there is someone who help you carry up the luggage, but anyway you must get it off.

The ticket is bought on the same bus and it is necessary to pay with Chilean pesos, so I advise you to change money before, but only what is necessary to move, because the change at the airport is not the best. You will find these buses leaving through door 6 of the airport on the first floor. For more information on times and frequencies, you can consult the pages of Centropuerto and Turbus respectively.

2) Taxi: just leaving the control zone will be besieged by official and unofficial taxi drivers. Before boarding any taxi ask the rate immediately, if the taxi driver tells you that it is according to metered, ask the approximate value.  Tell him with conviction the place where you go and if it asks if it is your first time in Chile, tell him that you have been here before.

  • Advantages of using taxi: faster and more comfortable, can be economical if shared with friends and operate 24 hours a day.
  • Disadvantages: it is more expensive than taking bus. Even if it works all night, if your goal is to get to the metro in Santiago, keep in mind that this does not work all night. If you are not cautious you can be ripped off with prices. Always remember the license plate for any subsequent problem.

 

3)Transfer: it is a service shared with other passengers, which decreases the value a little, but this will always depend on the specific direction to which you go. Some companies that operate in the airport of Santiago are Delfos and Transvip, in whose pages you can consult in a specific way according to the direction to which you are going, the value of the trip. Of both I have used the second and are extremely serious and responsible.

  • Advantages of using transfer: decreases the cost for being a shared service, but always depending on the distance that you travel.
  • Disadvantages: More delays in getting where you go depending on where the other passengers go.

 

4) Car rental: It is certainly the most expensive option, but it can be useful if you want to travel at your own pace, without depending on the schedules of other types of transfer or other passengers. It will be essential to meet certain requirements, such as having a local or international driver’s license, being of legal age and having a credit card for the guarantee.

  • Advantages: greater autonomy of movement without relying on schedules of the local means of transport.
  • Disadvantages: Must accomplish the above minimum requirements for car rental. The traffic and the road signs in Santiago are a little chaotic, it can suddenly be stressful. Gasoline is expensive, this can further increase the cost.

Some companies present at Santiago airport are Hertz and Avis.

Bonus track – Uber: Uber’s service has been running for some time now in Santiago and other regions of the country. To make use of this option, you will certainly be very useful the free wifi of the airport, just bother to caution on which floor will leave the airport. The app will tell you where to meet the driver, this is usually in the parking lot

If your destination is the “Pajaritos” bus and metro station, once you get there, do not neglect your luggage. It is a place with much movement of people and in an oversight can lose your things. In this station you are immediately connected with line 1 of the Santiago subway, backbone of the metro service.

In the ticket offices you have the option to buy an individual ticket, whose value varies according to the time you take it or a BIP card! Which will be useful if you will be traveling for several days.

The BIP card! Is charged with money and used as many times as you want. For more information on schedules, frequencies and planes of the Santiago metro, here you can consult the traveler’s guide.

You will also find the windows that sell microbus passages to move to cities like Viña del Mar and Valparaiso. Ticket prices are similar in all companies, buses leave from the same place.

Whichever option you choose, with these tips you will save bad times when you arrive to the country and you will be ready to enjoy all the good things that Chile has to offer. You will see that once you get to the subway, getting around is very easy. If you have any questions that I can help you with, count on me.

 

Cartagena de Indias, magical city

Cartagena de Indias, magical city

Following the route through Colombia, Cartagena de Indias is another of the most visited cities, both for its historical importance and for its beautiful beaches, if you are planning your next trip, here is some information about my experience that can help you:

Airport: The airport in Cartagena de Indias is very close to the historic center, about 15 or 20 minutes by taxi or bus (called Metrocar), taxis have a flat rate of 8500 Colombian pesos, however ask before getting in to confirm information. Taxis are formed online and are coming out in order and are just outside the airport. The bus has a lower cost of 1,500 Colombian pesos per person, but if you travel very heavily it can be more uncomfortable. However, it saves a lot. The Colombians are very kind and affectionate people.

Accommodation: Whether you searched for Airbnb, Booking, Hostelworld, Couchsunfing or the search engine of your choice, there are 2 large accommodation areas. The first one within the walled city, which seems very good option if your idea is to spend only a few days, so take full advantage of the life that is in every corner. The second option is Bocagrande, which is a hotel zone about 10 minutes from the walled city, in this area there are only new (and more expensive) buildings. There is another neighborhood that has become popular that is Getsemani, but I do not know about lodging there, but it is a good area to look for places to eat.

Weather: In Cartagena de Indias, I felt hot as I have not felt in other places in the Caribbean, a heavy heat that itch and makes you feel, as you walk, that you melt against the ground. Indispensable cap (although I hate them haha), the sun block and stay hydrated. I have gone in 2 different times of the year quite different and the feeling has been the same. In the afternoons there is a bit of wind which is a relief. Mosquitoes are there, with the wind not noticed but there were quite a few in the lodges, so the repellent is another must.

Caminando por Cartagena de Indias

Walking down a melting sun

What to do in Cartagena de Indias?

Knowing by yourself is always a good option and the walled city is not so big, you can walk  alone if you do not want to take a tour, however there are details worthy of being appreciated through tour and these are not expensive.

Free walking tour in the walled city: This system of so-called “free walking tour” I knew it in Europe and I thought it was very good, so I wanted to try it here. The tour is not entirely free, obviously, as the guides who do it work against tips. Finishing the tour you give a collaboration according to how you like the tour. What is the advantage? That the guides try very hard to make it an excellent experience, so that you are happy and reward them well.

Well in this case the tour departs from the “Plaza Santa Teresa” and runs the 11 squares of the walled historic city. The guide with me in 2 opportunities, was Jairo, a Colombian who knows the reverse and right details of the city and will bring many interesting and entertaining data about it.

You will understand what the “palenqueras” are, you will visit outside the house of Gabriel García Márquez, you will pass by the museum of the inquisition and they will be able to take photo with the statue of “la gorda Gertrudis”, one of the sculptures icon of the Colombian artist Fernando Botero, between Many other places of interest (Clock Tower, Church of San Pedro Claver, Simon Bolivar Square with its statue and its pigeons …). The tour takes time twice a day, at 10 AM and at 4 PM and there is a version in Spanish and English with different guide, my recommendation, bring water and a hat, the heat at times seems to melt you into the floor . More information in http://freetourcartagena.com.co/

Cartagena de indias free walking tour

Cartagena de indias free walking tour

Gorda Gertrudis - Cartagena de Indias

Gorda Gertrudis – Cartagena de Indias

City Tour: The city tour is offered on a well-conditioned bus (with air) and takes you to see places of interest that are outside the walled city, including the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, the convent Of the Stern, the monument to the old shoes and some information about the walled city but outside. With a guide that tells you about all these places, that enters castle, etc. From these places I found the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas interesting, if you want to go on your own the entrance for adults costs $ 25,000 Colombian pesos and includes a map of the place, but no guide. The last Sunday of each month entry is free, except for some exceptions. More information can be found at http://www.patrimoniodecartagena.com/es/horarios-y-tarifas/castillo-san-felipe-de-barajas

Cartagena de Indias - Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

Cartagena de Indias – San Felipe de Barajas castle

Shopping: If you want to go shopping, inside the walled city of Cartagena de Indias you will find countless luxury brands, under colonial building facades. It is very entertaining to enter and see, however the prices are somewhat high. If you want to buy handicrafts at a good price, what I recommend is to go to the sector of the Bóvedas, there you will find more than 10 handicraft shops with very competitive prices, take the time to look calmly as prices for the same product Can vary considerably from one place to another. Walking through the streets you will see colorful street vendors with beautiful colors, woven colored handbags and the typical Colombian sombrero “vueltiao”.

de compras en Cartagena de Indias

Cartagena de Indias – Shopping

Beaches: along the hotel zone and the walled city of Cartagena de Indias, you will find many small beaches. I must warn you one thing: it is very difficult to be calm in them. The vendors are extremely annoying and you feel really overwhelmed. If you want to sunbathe calmly they do not even ask you and they begin to make braids or massages without even asking you, I found it very annoying. If you are going to bathe even in the water are the tour vendors with their plastic offerings to show you the options even inside the water. The option is to move to Isla Barú or Islas del Rosario, there you will find beautiful beaches, some almost virgin and you can enjoy With tranquility. Isla Baru is linked to Cartagena de Indias by land, an hour and a half or two and there are some hotels and cabanas to stay (I stayed a couple of nights and it was perfect), to get to Islas del Rosario is done by sea and Are an hour and a half away, you can also take a day tour or stay there on any of the islands.

Cartagena de Indias

Cartagena de Indias – Bocagrande

playas Isla Barú

Isla Barú beaches

The sunset: the sunset from the top of the wall is one of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen (without exaggerating). People usually get together at the “Café del Mar” where there is a good atmosphere of lounge or electronic music, you can have a drink or a beer and enjoy the sunset framed in the cannons of the walls, it is a fascinating spectacle. The prices are not cheap, so you can see it from the outside if you do not want to spend more money.

And for eat?

Almost in every corner you will find carts that sell arepas with cheese, do not miss to try this that for me is exquisite and a must-see certainly. The palenqueras are also distributed in the streets selling fresh fruit that comes perfect for the days of intense heat. Walking back from the free walking tour I found a tiny restaurant of Caribbean food at a very good price that I loved, this is Nativo Bistró Caribe, I recommend it for the good attention and the tasty of their dishes, also they have menu every day with several Options and wifi available. For dinner in the evening, it is worth walking to the neighborhood of Getsemaní, here you will find several restaurants with very peculiar ambiences, I ate in one that on the outside looked like an abandoned house and inside was perfectly set with a very nice patio. Just walk out the door of the clock tower, keep straight a couple of blocks and you will reach this neighborhood.

Comida Cartagena de Indias

Cartagena de Indias food

And the rumba?

Well, Cartagena de Indias is a city with plenty of offer to have a good time. The Tour of “Rumba en Chiva” is very popular, where you are picked up in a colorful Chiva, with a group playing live Colombian music, you are served a few glasses of rum as you stroll through the city. There is a stop at the foot of the castle of San Felipe de Barajas to take photos and then it is directed towards the sector of the Bóvedas of the walled city. There the people of all the chivas go down and the party is armed with live music. Then you go to eat typical fried Colombian food and take you to a nightclub with a ticket valid for a consumption until 2 in the morning. If you want to stay longer, you only have to pay for your transportation back on your own. Another very good option is to go up to one of the multiple terraces within the walled city. In front of the clock tower, there are several buildings whose terraces have bars, DJs and party and at least where I walked in they did not charge entrance and the prices were reasonable, on the drinks menu and the atmosphere very nice.

Rumba en Cartagena de Indias

Cartagena de Indias Rumba!

Cartagena de Indias is a magical city, which certainly has everything, has history, beaches, rhythm and all the flavor of the Colombian caribbean, I invite to live this adventure and tell me what you thought, I’m sure you wont regret!

Santorini: 7 ways to enjoy this postcard island

Santorini: 7 ways to enjoy this postcard island

Santorini, the postcard island, always appeared on my list of travelers dreams, as one of those impossible destinations. I always thought it was too far, it was too expensive, it was very difficult to get there, but setting up my eurotrip I decided that it would be the icing on the cake of this tour and well, at the time I arrived my prejudices were demolished. The low cost flights make it possible to get to Greece at ridiculous prices, the accommodation and food are really affordable compared to other European countries and there are definitely choices for all budgets.

I fulfilled my traveler dream and here I tell you 7 ways to enjoy this island to take advantage of it in the best way.

1) Watching the sunset in Oia: I´m sure you have read many times about the mythical sunsets in Santorini, they say it is one of the best places in the world to see it and I can not agree more. While you can see it from the center of the island in Thira, the ideal location and the infinitely portrayed in magazines is in Oia, due to its location to the west of the island.

Thira and Oia are separated from each other by 10 kilometers which in my opinion, should not be more than half an hour by microbus. Well I tell you that I was wrong, the road goes bordering the island and the cliff in multiple complex curves, which make the road slower. The result: I saw the sunset above the bus, when getting off at Oia the sun had already set. I highly recommend arriving early to find a good location and not miss this moment. Oia is also very beautiful, worth getting there early.

The amount of tourists and locals that approach this place to enjoy the sunset is very high, this I verified days later when taking the ship to Nea Kameni, the crater of the volcano, from where you see the sunset in the sea. It was possible to see from there the thousands of flashes from Oia. Without a doubt the sunset is a must see (and free, what better).

2) Take a swim in the Aegean Sea: Santorini has magnificent beaches all of volcanic origin like the island. Among the options you can visit Red Beach (Akrotiri), Black Beach (Perivolos) and others that are worth visiting (Perissa, Kamari, to name a few). I took an early bus from Thira bus station in the direction of Akrotiri, the bus will leave you near the parking lot, from where you must walk along a path that borders the island and is not equipped for strollers or people with reduced mobility.

From there you reach the red beach and there are taxi boats that also take you to the white beach that you can only access by boat. For the same value, you can stay in the last one and then take it again and you go back to the other. The color of the sea and the sand are incredible. These are just a few options, but you have a lot of choices from several and very different beaches.

Red beach – Akrotiri

Playa blanca

White beach – Santorini

3) Enjoy Greek gastronomy: Greek gastronomy is one of my favorites, absolutely Mediterranean, light, fresh and tasty. Be sure to try the Moussaka, a traditional dish that reminds us of the lasagna, but where the pasta is replaced with eggplant. It is worth eating a rich souvlaki and if it is in pita better still. Besides having great food is very cheap, compared to the rest of Europe. For drinking you can try the traditional Ouzo, a fairly strong liqueur typical of the country or cool off with an Alpha or Mythos beer and do not forget to try the authentic Greek yogurt!

Greek yogurt and Souvlakis plus Alpha beer, with that amazing view in the background

Exquisite pita souvlakis with Tzatziki and a tempting Moussaka

4) Do not miss the nightlife: Thira is the center of the island and in addition to concentrating a very varied gastronomic offer, you will find in it many bars that work until dawn and where you really have a good time. I did not have any doubt that the Greeks know how to enjoy life, if you do not believe me you can see it in the following pictures. One of my recommended “Murphy’s Bar”

Murphy¨s Bar on fire

5) Take a tour to know the volcano crater: There are several options to take a tour to Nea Kameni, a small island off Santorini where you can see the volcano crater in a tour that will allow you to admire a different perspective of Santorini. The boats are large and very stable. To board you must reach the port of Thira on your own and for that you have three options, to go down the cliff by foot, by cable car or by donkey (an option that I advise against because I find it quite cruel), besides to knowing the crater and admiring the views, you will have the option of taking a swim in the sea, in warm waters produced by volcanic activity, a unique experience !!

Nea Kameni Tour – Volcano Crater

6) Be a part of a Greek marriage: I have always been very studious before starting a trip and reading about the island I found in several places that spoke of the play of “White door Santorini”. It is a play where you happen to be the guest in a Greek wedding. I went and it is an experience that I recommend, in addition to dining traditional food with a good Greek wine, in the context of being a guest of this marriage, you enjoy being immersed in their traditions and end up dancing Greek dances and breaking dishes as they usually do for these holidays. I laughed a lot, I definitely recommend it. For more information on schedules and values, this is the official website.

White Door Santorini

7) Enjoy the architecture, it’s unique!: if you have the same addiction to travel as I do and spend hours watching photos and stories of places, surely have seen a million postcards of this island, with their houses and churches with white walls and Blue roofs, hanging from the cliffs. My advice, wherever you decide to stay is, go for a walk, lose yourself in its streets and you will find places that seem to be taken from a book. The island is very safe for solo travelers.

The architecture and colors of the island are unique!

The architecture of this island is unique, the people are very friendly, the food delicious and the accommodation offer is wide and for all budgets … you really can not regret going !! If you were already tell me your impression and if it is in your plans ask me your doubts !! I hope to return soon to this postcard island!

 

Murano, Burano and Torcello: the Hidden Jewels of Venetto

Murano, Burano and Torcello: the Hidden Jewels of Venetto

I visited Venice for a few days and my idea was to make the most of it. I had heard enough about Murano and its crystals, it is certainly the most popular of the surrounding islands, but also investigating began to appear photos of Burano and its colorful houses on the water. And I did not want to lose it.

This visit can be done in just half a day, simply take the vaporetto LN in Fondamente Nuove and in about 45 minutes you will be in Murano. Here I went down and walked one by one the crystal shops, it is amazing the work they do with it, the forms they achieve, the blends of colors, to stay stunned looking at the windows. With a little luck you can see the artists blowing The glass in his workshops.

Murano crystal shops

The shops on average are expensive, but if you are looking calmly you may find some good prices. I brought a small Murano glass tree, which I took care of with my life the rest of the way haha.

If you also take the time to walk around you will find large-scale sculptural works arranged in some corners, the best known of them, is a large blue glass kite, located in the Campo Santo Stefano and is related to the celebration of lights Of Christmas that is made in this island, belongs to the artist Simone Cenedese.

Another of the works of art is the “Giardino Italia” a bouquet of crystal flowers that is located in the vicinity of Briati street, on the way to boarding the vaporetto. But my favorite by far and without a doubt is the two streetlights in love in an alley.

Crystal sculptures in different points of Murano

I took the Vaporetto where the Murano lighthouse is again and in less than 10 minutes it was already in Burano and it is a real jewel, a small island, easy to navigate, houses of bright colors that reflect in its waters. Here I advise you to travel at your leisure. Burano stands out for its thread lace work, a work with a lot of detail that the women of the island do and that they told me has been lost because of the lack of interest of the new generations.

Burano and its colors

You can visit the lace museum, whose entrance costs approximately 4 euros. Other points of interest are its church, whose campanile is crooked and if you want to eat the recommended is a small restaurant called “gato nero”, indispensable to reserve as it is continuously full.

Lace of Burano, what a beautiful work

5 minutes from Burano is the island of Torcello, this island I did not visit, but it is an abandoned island, whose main attraction is the Byzantine cathedral that is there and dating from 639 AD. I know that there is a tour that takes you to these 3 points and that has a value of 20 euros, which is not much more than you can spend on the vaporetto. However I was much more comfortable to go through my time, without pressure, until I tired of taking photos and even get bored looking at the beauty of these places

Have you visited these places? I’d love to hear your opinion

Uyuni salt flat: 9 useful tips for your visit

Uyuni salt flat: 9 useful tips for your visit

A short time ago, I fulfilled the dream of traveling the Uyuni Salt Flat, the largest in the world. It was one of that travel experiences that changes the way you see life, for a lot of reasons. My trip starts in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile and from there I took a 3-night tour that returned to this same starting point.

In this article I want to share, some tips that will make your trip to this place, geographically inhospitable, a little easier and comfortable.

1) Travel in Bolivian winter: surely the beautiful photos that you have seen are from the salt flat turned into a real mirror of the sky and to be able to see it that way it is indispensable that it has rained.

The intense rainy season is between December and March of each year, which is when the so-called Bolivian winter comes. It is important to say that although the rain allows to see the effect of mirror, sometimes they can make difficult the arrival to the place.

If they can not travel at this time, the salar looks impressive when it is dry too. At  February 1, 2017 the salar is as seen in the following photo:

Salar de Uyuni en su mejor momento

Uyuni salt flat

2) Take a tour: this I do not usually advise because of the large amount of free travel benefits, but in this case I found a very good alternative for two reasons: the first is that the value of the tour is very low (between 110 thousand and 140 thousand Chilean pesos for 2 or 3 nights departing from San Pedro de Atacama, depending on whether you wish to return to the starting point or stay in the city of Uyuni), considering that it includes transportation, accommodation and all meals, besides Guide that will accompany you every day, the price is quite low.

The second reason is that in addition to the visit to the Salar de Uyuni, there are multiple points of interest that can be visited within the “Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa” and doing the tour on your own account, these other places are lost and they are worth a lot on the way to the salt flat. Among them are: visits to the lagoons, white, green and red, where they can enjoy the flora and fauna of the place in their habitat, getting to see foxes, flamingos, chinchillas, among others. The visit to the Dalí desert, which recalls its distinctive painting of melted clocks, the stone tree and multiple rock formations that are truly impressive, the geysers “morning sun” and the thermal baths of polques, where you will also have the possibility of taking a bath.

The tour starts from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile or from the city of Uyuni in Bolivia, in both cases you will visit the same places. The agencies for this are multiple and are everywhere in both places, prices are the same. One of the shelters in which you will sleep corresponds to a hostel made entirely of salt, which becomes an experience, without a doubt. (*) Side note: this advice I give without recommending any particular agency)

lagunas altiplánicas: blanca, verde y roja - Salar de Uyuni

Altiplanic lagoons: white, green and red

fauna de camino al salar

wildlife

Árbol de Piedra

Stone tree

3) Carry loose coins: When you change money to “bolivianos”, ask that they give you also coins. When you take the tour you are asked to take an approximate 300 Bolivians, to cover the cost of the entrance to the Andean wildlife reserve Eduardo Avaroa, which costs a little more than 200 Bolivianos and the rest will be for other expenses that you want to do, Like buying handicrafts.

The coin has a logical explanation, during the trip are made stops in some basic places to eat and use the bathrooms. These places charge for the use of the bathroom and if you pay with bills it will happen like me, that they have no change and are very rude if you pay with bills. Better to have loose money and avoid bad times.

4) Take extra sanitary measures: before traveling, I was scared by the sanitary conditions in which shelters are where you spend the night on the way to Salar de Uyuni and in Bolivia in general terms. In the first of the shelters there will be no access to showers and cleaning of the bathrooms, also on the way is to say the least deficient (although to be honest, I thought it would be worse).

On the Chile-Bolivia border, a man approached us to give us the coca leaves that had been left for the altitude sickness and he told us “I never go back to this place, the baths are the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen in my life “And of course it was to expect the worst, but it was not that bad either. What precautions do I recommend taking for comfort and not getting sick:

  • Bring gel alcohol and use it before eating or handling food and entering and leaving the baths anywhere, since in some baths there will be no water.
  • Bring disinfectant wipes, there are ones that comes in a portable size package and were of tremendous utility, either to disinfect bathrooms, to clean tables to eat  and anything that seems to carry some health risk.
  • Use mineral water to brush your teeth. Due to the height and somewhat isolated conditions of the shelters it is better to consume bottled water and use the same to wash the teeth. Believe me you will not want to get sick from the stomach in a place where you do not have access to the bathroom

5) be cautious with altitude: there are times when you will reach heights near 5000 meters above sea level and the first night, if you depart from San Pedro de Atacama, you will stay in a basic shelter that borders That altitude. My recommendation is that if possible bring something that alleviates the discomfort of the height, for example coca leaves, coca candies, or coca tea.

Another option, if you come from Bolivia or Peru, is to buy “Soroche Pills”, a medicine that relieves discomfort. The most frequent discomforts include: tachycardia, pressure rise, feeling tired when walking, ears covered and headache.

The first night in the first shelter, with the tiredness of the day we ate quite a lot before going to bed and during the night the height played against me and the group of travelers who were with me and for having a very heavy stomach we had nightmares And enough difficulty sleeping. I recommend eating, but not over exaggerated to avoid these inconveniences.

Refugio básico y hostal de sal

Basic shelter and salt hostel

 

6) Pack some extras that will be useful: when hiring the tour you will be told that it is necessary to wear sunscreen, a drum of 5 liters of water per person (important because the height makes the body more easily dehydrated), Comfortable shoes, sunglasses and warm clothing.

I would add some extras, it was helpful to have a padlock to close the shared room when we were not in it, as they had no insurance. A small flashlight made things easy at night, since shelters have few hours of electricity and if you want to get up at night to the bathroom you will not be bumping into everything.

Toilet paper and toiletries such as refreshing towels, since you will not have access to shower and are sure to want to refresh, after walking, climbing rocks, getting into the hot springs, etc. A bottle of water of half liter to fill, because certainly while you walk, you will not walk with the 5 liter drum on the shoulder, so you fill it and it is more comfortable. Sack or sleeping bag becomes useful in the cold seasons, I was in January and did not need it.

7) Stamp your passport in the park: If you have gone to Machuppichu you will know that at the exit of the archaeological site, there is a window where you can stamp your passport with the seal of the citadel. Here you can ask to be stamped with the seal of the national reserve, which has some very beautiful flamingos or in Isla Incahuasi, already in the Salar de Uyuni, there is a stamp with the shape of the island.

To get the first stamp you must request it when you pass your receipt of income (which you should not lose for any reason, because it implies a fine you dont want to pay, believe me). If, like me, you are a stamp collector, this is a nice and free memory – which you can take from the trip, to have in your passport.

Sellos para el pasaporte :)

Passport stamps

 

8) be cautious in loading your cameras and mobiles: to the Salar de Uyuni you will arrive at the dawn of the third day to see the sunrise and in the shelters that will find in the way the electrical energy is limited to a certain schedule. In addition to this, the rooms do not have sockets, therefore if you need to charge, it will be essential that as soon as you reach the shelters, run to plug their electronic to the community tables for these purposes.

In the first two shelters there was a table in the common space, with some extensors with multiple entrances, however they were few for the number of travelers who were staying in the place. Another smart alternative is to carry an adapter that allows you to charge the mobiles in the 4x4, which is where you will spend even more time. There are adapters that connect where the lighter of the jeep goes and are inexpensive. When you load on the common tables, do not lose sight of your devices, there are many people in the shelters.

Grupo de viaje en la 4x4

My travel group

9) respect fair trade: you will read on many blogs and travel websites, that there are cultures and countries where it is rude not to haggle, but do not do it here. It hurt me a lot to see some tourist in a kind of handicraft fair, before going to the train cemetery in Uyuni, trying to buy fabrics at a third of the value they were asked for.

When you are there take a moment and look around. You will see that most artisans are women in whose faces you can see the hard life they are carrying, you will see that they are probably the sustenance of their families and that around there are a lot of children running that are part of their families. They will also see these women working the looms.

You will realize that the handicrafts are not like in other destinations “made in china” but are fruit of the effort and talent of these women. Not to mention that the prices are really cheap, you can buy alpaca wool vests for prices close to 10 dollars, dont you think is cheap enough for handicraft work?

I recommend you bring a little more money in “bolivians” if you want to buy a couple of souvenirs, you will see many things woven with looms, salt ornaments and much work in alpaca wool. Do not forget to take some souvenir and step to collaborate with these hardworking artisans.

Bonus! Do not run illogical risks for a photo: this is a bit of common sense (by the way the least common of the senses) and is valid for infinity of tourist destinations, I know, but there are still reckless and irresponsible people capable of everything for a Photo. The Geysers “Sol de mañana”, they have quite large fumaroles and there is nothing that limits the step not to fall in them, besides being judicious. Be careful because I assure you that being there, in the middle of nowhere, if something happens to you, there will be no way to help you.

Geysers Sol de Mañana, no se les ocurra caer allí!

Geysers “sol de mañana”, dont you dare fall there!

Finally in the Uyuni salt flat, use your imagination, are infinite the ideas of photos that can be carried out using the perspectives thanks to the infinity of the salt flat, enjoy thoroughly and if you are lucky enough to find the salar turned into a mirror Take photos with your camera and with your eyes, sure will be a moment that you will never forget. 

Uyuni salt flat

Were you there already? talk me about your experience!
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