Terra Bolivia » Sport & Adventure » Salar Uyuni and South Lipez mountain bike

Cycling the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

This circuit is an adventure! Not only we will cross the world largest salt desert by bike, but we will also cross the South Lipez unique bolivian landscapes.
We will spend two days in the amazing white immensity of the Salar de Uyuni (3650 m). Then we will go to the South Lipez, region of high altitude (3600-4750 m) famous for colorful lakes, salt flats, rock formations and many volcanoes. Biking, we will discover many attractions in the area: the lagoons from the Route of the Jewels such as Laguna Colorada, Laguna Blanca and Laguna Verde, the famous Stone Tree and increible Siloli Desert landscapes. We will dive into the hot springs of Polques and will discover the geysers Sol de Mañana. We will also climb the Uturuncu volcanoe, over 6,000 meters above sea level.
NOTE: This circuit is intended for trained cyclists, including long stages, high altitudes and positive slope - Security will be assured by the permanent presence of an addtional 4x4

10 Days




Uyuni - Incahuasi Island

Departure from the hotel by bike to the Salar de Uyuni (3650 m.), the largest world salt desert. En route, visit of a salt exploitation in Colchani and the Salt Hotel (closed since 2001).

Then we stop in the heart of the Salar, on Incahuasi island of volcanic origin and covered with stromatolites and giant cacti (stromatolites are fossilized bacterial colonies, first traces of life on Earth).

We assemble our camp behind Inca Huasi Island.

Cycling time: 5-7h
Cold lunch. All-in.
Night in Bivouac.


Incahuasi Island - Aguaquiza

Departure from the island in the morning, heading south for the second step on the Salar until Aguaquiza.

We will go through Atulcha the village, home to a small archaeological museum, the museum of quinoa and a craft workshop queñua.

Night in Aguaquiza, 20 minutes away.

Cycling time: 5-6 hours
Lunch included. All-in.
Night at the Posada de la Ñusta.


Aguaquiza - San Juan

Morning departure to San Juan via the "caves of the galaxy," underwater geological formation, which we will give the impression of miles we leagues under the sea (petrified coral). Adjacent to the caves of the Galaxy, we visit the "cave of the devil", pre-Inca cemetery.

Then we go down to San Juan and discover the spectacular mummies found the "Lipez Lords" (1200, D.C.) and a small archaeological museum.

Cycling time: 5-6 hours
Night at La Cabaña de Sal hostel* (basic comfort).


San Juan - Ollague

Early departure towards the Ollague volcano (still active). We cross the Salar de Chiguana then stop at the viewpoint of the volcano Ollagüe. This active volcano (5865 masl.) has also the highest sulfur mines in the world.

Cycling time: 8h
Cold lunch. All-in.
Overnight camping.


Ollague - Siloli Desert

We skirt the Chilean border to the south, following the "road of jewels": Cañapa lagoons, Hedionda, Honda and Ch'arkota, sanctuaries of 3 varieties of flamingos.
The trail continues through the beautiful landscapes of the desert Siloli, where our hotel is located.

Note: particularly difficult day with the altitude change. Possibility to make it by car.

Cold lunch. All-in.
Night at the Hotel del Desierto***.

(availability of double room with matrimonial bed not guaranteed)


Siloli Desert - Laguna Colorada

Heading south through the stunning scenery of Siloli desert and its famous "stone tree" where spot some viscachas. Then we discover the spectacular Laguna Colorada (4278 m.a.s.l.). This immense lake of pinkish water owes its name to the presence in its waters of light sensitive phytoplankton, which also attracts thousands of flamingo part of the year.

Cycling time: 5 hours
Cold lunch (included). Dinner included.
Night in a refuge.
Night in Latitudes hostel (basic confort).


Laguna Colorada - Laguna Verde

Starting early in the morning for the Laguna Verde. On the way, we make a stop to the geysers Sol de Mañana (el. 4850 masl) a volcanic crater from effusions of sulfur fumes and heavy water.
Then we stop at the Polques Hot Springs. We reach the Laguna Blanca and Laguna Verde at the end of the afternoon close by the volcanoes Juriques and Licancabur (el. 5960 masl), to witness a curious phenomenon: the wind picks up and the Laguna Verde takes a spectacular emerald color.
Opportunity to travel by 4x4 to the refuge to Laguna Blanca (15km).

Note: very long day, with a climb up to almost 5000m above sea level.

Cycling time: 10-12h
Cold lunch. All-in.
Night in shelter (basic comfort).
Night at the Alta Montaña accomodation (basic comfort).


Laguna Verde - Quetena

Early departure. First of all we reach Laguna Colorada by 4WD. Then head to the East towards Quetena by mountain bike between Soniquera volcanoes (5216 m. alt.) and Uturuncu (6008 m alt.).

Note: No recommended to ride by bike all day because it's a very long day.

Cold lunch. All-in.
Night in hostel (basic comfort).


Quetena - Villamar

Ascent with guide – no technical difficulty – good physical condition required
Departure in the morning from the village of Quetena towards the hillsides of the active volcano Uturuncu (“jaguar” in Quechua). We follow one of the highest tracks in the world, an old mining road, culminating at 5700 meters above sea level. Depending on the snow level, the vehicle can drop us off at about 5000 m.a.s.l. From there, we start our ascent by following the dirt track to its end. A last effort will take us to the summit.
It takes about 4 hours to reach the summit of the most accessible 6000-meter peak in Bolivia. Plan 1 to 2 hours for the descent.
Return to Villamar at the end of the day.
Cold lunch. All included. Lodging with local host (basic comfort).


Villamar - Uyuni

Morning departure to the return to Uyuni (5 to 6 hours of track). En route we visit the rock valley of the Rio Grande, vicunas area and ñandus (cousins of the ostrich), the village of Culpina K and the village of San Cristobal.

Arrival at Uyuni in the late afternoon, then we visit the locomotive cemetery at the entrance of the city.

Cold lunch (included). Free dinner (bar-restaurant La Loco recommended).