The region to the south of the Salar de Uyuni as far as the borders with Chile and Argentina is known as the Mancomunidad de Sud Lípez and it includes the National Park Eduardo Avaroa (Reserva de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa – REA).
It is a beautiful area of two ranges of high mountains and lakes to the west and east, separated by shrub-covered Altiplano in the center. All tours that go beyond the Salar go through this area and it is well worth the trip. Like in the Salar, weather conditions are extreme and travellers should be prepared for cold and high altitude.
Reserva de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa, is a 714,745-ha wildlife reserve founded in 1973, to protect endemic species including the vicuna (the smallest type of Camelid of this area) and the nesting grounds of flamingos and other birds. This semi-desert region boasts some of the most beautiful and unusual landscapes in Bolivia. Ninety-six species of fauna have been recorded in the reserve, including 69 species of birds.
Most notable are three species of flamingos, a couple of species of coots and the suri (ostrich). The birdlife is best seen during the southern summer, November to January. An illustrated guide (in Spanish) is “Aves de la Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa” by Omar Rocha and Carmen Quiroga, available in La Paz, at the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Among the mammals are the vicuña and the titi (Andean cat). The flora includes a few stands of queñua (polylepis) trees, yareta cushion plants and thola, an aromatic shrub which covers the puna.
The Salt Flats of Uyuni and region are year round good to visit, with some restrictions during the rainy season (December to February) especially when the Salt Flats are flooded because of the rain. This phenomenon also offers a great chance for the photo enthusiasts to enjoy the reflection of the sky over the salty waters.
The most popular season to visit this region is during the dry season from March to November. That means that we can cross the Salt Flats and visit all sightseeing.
To get to Uyuni you have the following options:
- By plane from every city in Bolivia with connections through La Paz. Also available flights from Cusco – Peru
- By land using bus or private car from La Paz, Potosi and Sucre.
- By Train from Oruro and Villazon
From La Paz: 523km (9h trip)
From Potosí: 202km (3h trip)
From Sucre: 352km (6h trip)
From Oruro: 323km (4h trip)
|December – April (Rainy season)||5°C||between 13°C and 20°C|
|May – August (winter time)||-10°C||between 5° and 10°C|
|September – November (Dry season)||-3°C||between 10° y 15°C|
- Warm clothing: This is a desert but its 3.650 to 5.035 meters above sea level. Nights are cold and it’s very windy. Dress in layers so you don’t sweat or freeze.
- Sunglasses: the vast Uyuni salt flats act as a mirror reflecting the sun.
- Sun block and Moisturizer: this is an extremely arid region and your skin will dry out. Bottled water, you can purchase beverages when you arrive, but it’s a long drive.
- Proper cellphone: if you plan to bring your international cellphone, you should know Bolivia uses a different system than other countries.
- Cameras, batteries, battery chargers, cellphone charger: electric current converter and if you use a digital camera, extra memory cards. The electricity in Uyuni is 220v.