We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Estrella del Sur Salar Tour Uyuni

Which Uyuni hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Zurich
Level Contributor
1 post
5 reviews
Save Topic
Estrella del Sur Salar Tour Uyuni

We went on a three days tour to the Salar and the lagoons and then back to Uyuni with Estrella del Sur tours. Generally we had a good time, the car did not break down, we were at all the spots at the good time. The food was good, the accommodation ok.

The problem that unnerved us a lot was the difference between what they promised us and what we really received. The guy at the office, Alberto, talked us into going with them by promising these little extras that they in the end did not offer. He said:

- there will be a radio with CD and a cable to connect the MP3 player. There was no radio at all.

- there will be heating and air-conditioning. There was no aircon, the heating was not working.

- there will be a modern car. Dust was coming in, so we had to close the windows (to avoid an under pressure in the car) and were sweating quite a lot, as the promised aircon was missing

- there will be eggs every morning. We only had them in the second morning

- there will be Coca Cola every evening. There was no Coke at all.

- there will be two bottles of wine and we could chose whether to have them both on the first evening or one each. When we asked for the second one on the first evening the driver had to buy one extra (after a long discussion).

The driver, Orlando, is generally a nice guy, but very shy, hardly ever talked to us (even though we speak Spanish ok). He was unnerved because of our complains but was not able to listen to our argument that we were generally satisfied but just pointed out all the things that were promised to us and were not there. We think he stole the second wine bottle as we saw two in the car before we shortly stopped at his house and we saw him entering the kitchen in the first morning with eggs even though we did not get any…

When we saw some of our bike traveler friends fighting their way through the sand, it took us ten minutes to convince Orlando to make the detour to bring them water. For what in the end were four minutes of driving he wanted 40 Bs for fuel expenses! On the last day, he was drinking (one) beer while driving…

We paid 500 Bs, which is a good price. For 550 we could have gone with Andrea Tours which made a very good impression, with a modest, nice lady in the office who probably is not lying like Alberto.

Washington, DC
Level Contributor
29 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Estrella del Sur Salar Tour Uyuni

Back from the 4 day trip to the Salar of Uyuni, we have mixed feelings, and we would mostly recommend it only if you do the 3 day trip (coming from San Pedro de Atacama continuing into Bolivia, or coming from Uyuni continuing into Chile), because the 1 and ½ day return trip to San Pedro is dangerous, boring, poorly organized and frustrating.

We booked the tour from San Pedro with “Estrella del Sur”, the company that has the least bad reviews out of the 4 Bolivians operators based in San Pedro that offer this trip.

- Our driver, Marcos, was very nice, experienced and he drove carefully. He did not speak any English, but since I speak Spanish, we were able to understand the many explanations he gave us along the way. Marcos’ car was pretty new, it was in a good shape and it had seatbelts (we learned later that it is not always the case...). We were only 5 in the car: Marcos, a Canadian couple who were good people, and the two of us.

- The accomodations were very basic. On the first night we slept on a single concrete bed base with a matress on top. At the office in San Pedro, they will tell that you can rent a sleeping bag at this first hostel: that isn’t true, so please bring one on your own, since it can be extremely cold at that altitude. At least, we were well prepared so we did not freeze. Less prepared, however, were we for the bathroom that consisted of 2 toilets (one sort of flushed) and a sink that would always link (pretty ironic for a country that has a water shortage). We spent the second night in a village we did not even know the name of. Again, the accomodation was very basic. “Estrella del Sur” had told us in advance that we would not spend the night at the Salt hotel because of hygenical problems. We learned after that other groups were staying there, so we never really knew the truth about it.

- The food was ok and plenty. Marcos would even cooked us pancakes in the morning.

- Along the trip the scenery was amazing, and that is the reason after all why you do this trip. On the first two days we drove through stunning landscapes (coloured lakes, boling mud pots and sulfurous fumaroles, volcanos, rock formations...) and we saw tons of flamingos. On the third day we enjoyed the beauty and the immensity of the salar of Uyuni , and of course we took a lot of silly pictures.

- But from that point the trip went down hill. Arrived in Uyuni at 1p.m. (a town where there is absolutely nothing to do), we basically spent the whole afternoon waiting for our transfer back to San Pedro. We learned at the Uyuni office of “Estrella del Sur” that we would go back to San Pedro in another car with another driver. That car finally picked us up at 5 p.m. : it had no seatbelt and wasn’t in a very good shape. The driver was not even from Estrella del Sur but from “Colque Tours”, a company that we deliberately refused to choose for this trip because of the bad reviews. Instead of our Canadian friends (who continued their way to La Paz in Bolivia), we were joined by two Bolivians who needed a transfer to San Pedro, and the driver also stopped along the way to take a hitch-hiker. The two first hours on the way to a mysterious stop for the night was a nightmare. The dirt road was straight and very narrow, really allowing only one car to go. As the result we saw a fatal collision that let us feel very scared for our own life. After 4 hours of driving (and lying about when we would arrive), we finally stopped in the middle of nowhere to spend the night, again in a very basic accomodation, and we were told that we would leave at 5 a.m. the day after. We arrived at the border the morning after around 10 a.m. and were transferred to San Pedro in a shuttle belonging to “Colque Tours”. As we left the border, another group of 6 persons were boarding the same car that took us back from Uyuni. We could only wished them good luck.

To sum up: the scenery along the way is magnificent but the potential hazards involved are also great, especially on the return trip. That is why I’ll say “go for it” if you only do the 3 day trip, and only go for the landscape (do not bring any kind of expectations for the accomodation or the interacting with the Bolivians). Estrella del Sur was ok for us, but again I would not recommend it fully, mostly because of the difference between what they promised at their office in San Pedro and what we really received. But again, the other companies do not offer better, and at least with “Estrella del Sur”, our car did not break down and our driver stayed sober the whole time...

UK
Level Contributor
67 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Estrella del Sur Salar Tour Uyuni

Considering all the negative posts on tour options for Salar de Uyuni is it best to get there from Chile or Bolivia? I'll be travelling through Bolivia into Peru and then down into Chile during February and would like to include Salar during the trip but some of the feedback makes it seem an ordeal.

Is there an 'easy' option??

Thanks

Washington, DC
Level Contributor
29 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Estrella del Sur Salar Tour Uyuni

Yes the option is to take the 3 day trip only. Coming from Bolivia, you will continue into San Pedro and not come back to Uyuni (Bolivia). In that case it is worth it. Again, for us, the return trip was the main problem.

Have a nice trip!

UK
Level Contributor
67 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Estrella del Sur Salar Tour Uyuni

Thanks for the quick reply. I'm sure it will be much clearer when we're there but I'm still confused about the San Pedro link - the only location of this name I'm aware of is SP de Atacama in Chile and I don't think this is the one you refer to. My preferred plan is to travel through Bolivia South to North into Peru and then head South into Chile so would either visit SdeU whilst travelling through Bolivia or alternatively leave it until we're into Chile and take a side trip at a convenient point.

Can you clarify please

Thnx

Washington, DC
Level Contributor
29 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Estrella del Sur Salar Tour Uyuni

Yes, I am talking about San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. Most tours to the salar de uyuni start there and finish in Uyuni, Bolivia. The other option is to start in Uyuni, Bolivia and finish in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.

UK
Level Contributor
67 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Estrella del Sur Salar Tour Uyuni

OK thanks for the info

7. Re: Estrella del Sur Salar Tour Uyuni

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 12 October 2009, 23:17