Questions to Ask a Tour Operator Before Booking a Bolivia Salt Flats Tour

The Uyuni Salt Flats are among the most iconic sites in South America, and if you catch one of the calm days after rainfall then the reflection of the sky on the salt flats can appear to go on forever.
However, there are a large number of different companies that arrange tours from the nearby town across the flats, and not all of these companies offer the same standard of service. Here are a few questions that you should be asking your tour operator before you part with your hard earned cash to purchase your tour across the flats.

Ask About the Driver Selection Policy

Some companies will have experienced drivers from the area driving their vehicles who have an experience of taking English language tours, while other companies bring in drivers from across Bolivia to carry out the work.

The company you are looking for should be providing drivers with clean driving records and a good knowledge of the area, and while they will promise a lot, try to speak with the driver beforehand if possible, although this may mean visiting really early or late in the evening.

Check the Route That the Tour Will Take

The itinerary of the day is another important part of the tour, so make sure that you check the schedule to ensure you have plenty of time at the key sites, and aren't being hustled off to the next part of the tour too quickly.
Most people will only ever carry out this trip once, so it is vital that you do it right, and take a company that will give you time to savor the amazing sights of the area.

Is the Vehicle a 4x4?

This question is not a big one during the dry season when the flats are smooth and dry, but during the rainy season, when some of the best and most spectacular sights on the salt flats can be seen, having a 4x4 can make a big difference.

Having to take long detours because of thick mud or even breaking down and struggling with some of the terrain can be an issue for vehicles without 4x4, or those that haven't been kept in good repair.

Are there Extra Fees for Food and Water?

The prices of the different tour operators can vary quite significantly when you are among the hawkers in Uyuni or Tupiza, but some of the ways that the tour operators can cut costs is to add hidden fees that you only find out about once you are on the road.

Extra fees for meals and drinks, particularly water which is so important at high altitude, can make the cost of the trip look much less attractive.

How Regularly are the Vehicles Maintained?

Most companies will swear that their vehicles are the best maintained and most regularly serviced in the area, but taking a good look at the Landcruiser in which you will be traveling will often reveal some of the problems you might encounter.

Loose or damaged bodywork and tires that do not look too healthy should be a good sign that you might want to look elsewhere.

Is Your Trip Taking You in the Right Direction?

Many people will naturally make their way towards Uyuni which is the most common starting point for these tours, but if you are traveling from the south of the country and heading north, it will make more sense to start your tour in Tupiza and finish in Uyuni.
The other tours will simply travel in the opposite direction, so you aren't losing out on any of the great sights by traveling in this way, plus it saves a lot of extra mileage.

Remember to Read Online Reviews of your Tour Operator Before Booking

While you can ask every question under the sun of the tour operators, some of the answers you will receive from the more unscrupulous operators can range from slight deceptions to pure lies.

Make sure that you ask the internet and check out the reviews of different companies online before you book. While a few negative reviews are usually found for every company, there are some that have a much dirtier reputation than others.

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Travel Magazine: Questions to Ask a Tour Operator Before Booking a Bolivia Salt Flats Tour
Questions to Ask a Tour Operator Before Booking a Bolivia Salt Flats Tour
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