Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Regional Forums > South America

South America Topics specific to South America only.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 29 Dec 2004
Ride Far's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 197
Best post-Salar crossing from Bolivia to Chile?


In Cusco Peru with four others and heading to La Paz, Coroico, Potosi, and Salar de Uyuni (weather permitting but looks good).

Plan on heading west from Uyuni across Salar to Isla de Pescadores and south to San Juan ... from there, which is the best route to Chile?

It´s either due west to Ollague at the Bolivia-Chile border, about 70 kms, or south to Laguna Colorada and San Pedro Atacama, Chile, several hundred KMs.

Researching the site I see many more travelers choose the latter option ... but looks like Ollague would be faster and we´ll be in the mood for Chilean pavement by then. Both routes will be gnarly, I´m sure...

From Ollague, in Chile, the route would be southwesterly (route 21) to Calama Chile ... any info on conditions on that road?

Thanks for any insights on which route to choose!

[This message has been edited by Ride Far (edited 28 December 2004).]
Reply With Quote
Old 20 Jan 2005
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Guildford, UK
Posts: 269
Hi Joseph. Not sure where you guys are at the moment but maybe this is of some help.

Following arecent visit I have some news on the condition of both routes from 12th January. I was told that the salt flats were wet and impassable and took a jeep tour. It soon became clear that it would have been possible to ride on the salt flats from Uyuni out to Fish Island and back. The southern part of the flats were under a few cms of water and I would not have wished to ride across. The jeep tour then continued south through San Juan and down to Laguna Colorada, Laguna verde and back to Uyuni. There was heavy rain after we left the salt flats and the roads became quagmires. I decided that I would not ride along route 5 to the border at Ollague. Simply too much mud. However, the alternatives (routes south to Laguna Verde and the border near San Pedro De Atacama) were looking very bad too.

Ultimately I chose a route from Uyuni to San Cristobal to Alota to Ollague. This route (from Alota to Ollague) was not marked on my map. The surface was generally hard (with very little sand) all the way to the border. It is gradually being improved though and shopyuld in future be a good road. However, just outside Uyuni you need to cross 2 rivers. They are currently building the bridges. The first one (Rio Colorado) had to be crossed by truck. The second was just over boot height. Lovely. If anyone is facing a choice between routes during the wet season I would recommend this one. But it is not nearly as scenic.

At Ollague (150 miles from Uyuni), I could not even find the place to exit Bolivia. Rolled into Chilean customs and they promptly confiscated my sheepskin seat cover. If you have one stash it in your bag!

The road to Calama was terrible. Corrugations and loose sand but probably still better than the route through southern Bolivia. The road was unpaved for the first 120kms then badly paved for the last 80 kms to Calama.

PS Last fuel is at Alota - available at the general store. Then it is 280kms to Calama. There is no fuel or money changing at the border.

Hope this gives you some clues.

Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 05:36.